10 Lessons from Oliver Mtukudzi

Rabison Shumba

By Rabison Shumba |Trainer/Facilitator | TEDx Speaker | Thought Leader | Author | Business Consultant | #RabQuotes©️

TRIBUTE TO TUKU: The 23rd of January 2019 did not end well for Zimbabweans and indeed music lovers all over the world. We were robbed of the most celebrated artist in this generation. As a writer, all I can do is pay my respects by drawing from this man’s life some lessons we can all live by. I am honored to have been relatively close to Dr Oliver Mtukudzi. I hardly missed his shows. He gave me a cap and t-shirt. I gave him my books. He sang for me on one of my birthdays at Pakare Paye. I have lots of fond memories. What did I learn from him? I am glad you asked.1. Legacy – This man has left us with his work which will speak for generations to come. Year in year out he churned out albums to inspire and teach. He says in his own words that his music “aims to teach society about how to solve issues”.2. Contribution – We live in a society that aims to always take and not give back. Tuku contributed to his community. He spoke through his music about human rights and became goodwill ambassador for many causes. He built Pakare Paye to contribute further to mankind and to the industry.

3. Humility – Tuku was a well decorated artist who rose to the pinnacle of his career and purpose. In all this he maintained a level head. He remained approachable never wanting bodyguards to keep him away from people. We would have coffee like we were real brothers.

4. Excellence – This man never liked lukewarm performances. Even at 66 he danced away with energy and zeal. He was out to ensure that his work spoke for itself. One would feel bad to buy pirated copies of his music because he was so dedicated to his craft and produced masterpieces.

5. Consistency – He produced almost the same amount of albums that match his age or close. Over 60 albums is not a small achievement. It takes working at it continually, discipline with time and money as well as working with teams to build such a track record.

6. Hard work – His music spoke about us reaching to the top the right way. He encouraged us to work hard and showed it by working hard himself. He would go on international tours that took him from one city to another. He literally lived on the plane, pursuing his passion and purpose.


7. Raising others – He has mentored many artistes and inspired thousands indirectly. When people look at his template they just feel inspired regardless of the area of endeavor. He was and remains legendary in that he has people who say “had it not been for Tuku, I would not be where I am now”.

8. Collaboration – He was always eager to work with others to advance his calling and to build the industry. He collaborated with jazz artists, choral groups, church choirs, dance hall artists to name a few. This he did locally and internationally.

9. Power of relationships – Very few people are as connected as the now late Dr. Tuku. He has built relationships with the “Who is Who” of the industry and indeed citizens of the world. He would travel distances to ensure he maintained relationships.

10. Being organized – He has always desired that he runs his business professionally. He chose to have great managers over the years, something that many upcoming artistes need to take a leaf from. He had shows arranged in advance. He showed up and delivered with excellence. Professionalism set him apart.

I will miss Tuku physically. I cried my heart out on hearing the news that the show I attended in Johannesburg late last year would be the last one. I picked all his music and that is all I have on my play list right now. My desire is that we honor this man even in his death. We did not do enough when he lived but we can still do better to propel his legacy further. A Tuku Day, National Hero status, Awards in his Honor, supporting his causes, setting up of a Tuku Foundation to combine his work and that of Sam Mtukudzi. This is just me dreaming. I am sure you have other ideas to share.

If I am hurting like this, what of Daisy “Svovi”. What of the family and all of you. “Achachema umwe ndianiko, iwe wafirwa ini ndafirwa. Achabata maoko umwe ndianiko” Words by Oliver Mtukudzi.

May Dr Oliver Mtukudzi Rest In Power. Till we meet again.

Rabison Shumba

Tuku Fan and Friend

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