By Nancy Samuriwo
LATE Afrojazz legend and national hero Oliver Mtukudzi’s legacy is at risk of evaporating into thin air just three years after his death, amid reports that his widow Daisy is broke and hawking Tuku’s property to get by.
‘Tuku’ Mtukudzi died in January 2019, leaving behind an arts centre in Norton among his wide legacy, but that facility looks set to soon follow him to the grave.
Reports say Daisy is asset-stripping the multimillion-dollar Pakare Paye Arts Centre in Norton which Mtukudzi built with a state-of-the art studio, lodge, conference facility, a shop, restaurant and concert venue. It has been labelled the biggest investments into Zimbabwe’s arts by an individual without any funding from Government.
The developments come after Daisy told a State-owned newspaper last month that Mtukudzi left her no money and she had taken part in building most of what was claimed as Tuku’s legacy. Daisy claimed she build the Pakare Paye Arts Centre as Tuku was mostly travelling with his music and had no time to sit down for the project to take shape.
The arts centre that served as a bedrock of raw talent has churned out talented artistes the likes of AY Band and Munya Mataruse, to mention just a few.
“Residents of Norton might readily testify, in the few years Oliver Mtukudzi has been gone, Pakare Paye Arts Centre is no longer the same. Each passing day it is losing its lustre – locked gates, unkempt grounds and an eerie silence,” said Garikai Mazara, an award-winning arts journalist.
“Daisy is reportedly selling some of the cars Tuku left behind, including the Discovery 4 personalised in his name, ostensibly because she has hit hard times. Then today, I inadvertently asked one of the Tuku backstage members how Mtukudzi’s memorial had gone, to which he answered, what memorial?
“Apparently yesterday was Tuku’s memorial in Madziva. My point is, the legacy, history, family and everything else that the icon had built over a lifetime, at times with so much sacrifice, is being decimated, left, right and centre. May any of his close buddies or friends, won’t bother with names, maybe chip and rescue Mtukudzi’s legacy before it is erased by time?”
A source close to Daisy Mtukudzi, who works for one of her companies, told this reporter that some Zimbabweans had approached Daisy with offers to help spruce up Tuku’s faltering legacy, but were turned away as she made unreasonable demands.
“Daisy cannot be helped. A Harare prominent car dealer who was friends with Tuku asked to organize a virtual memorial for the departed hero, but Daisy made some unreasonable financial demands as if she was a band leader and performer,” said a source.
“She also demanded that some musicians be blocked from performing at the gig, which in all honesty wasn’t Tuku’s way of doing things.
“Mdhara (Mtukudzi) was a unifier and an international brand who made collaborations with artistes of all ranks from Ringo to our own ZimDancehall musicians. He never looked down on others and never used music to build wedges,” said the source, requesting anonymity.
Tuku purchased the pimped up black Land Rover from Premier Auto Motors in Harare and emblazoned it with a personalised number plate in late 2013. The Land Rover Discovery 4 cost US$120 000.
Before that, Tuku used to roll in a white Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Along the line, Tuku failed to keep up with the US$7 500 monthly installment for the car after having paid the US$30,000 cash deposit. The vehicle dealer then issued summons against Tuku under case number HC4642/16 in 2016 requesting the court for an order for payment of the amount due and or alternatively for an order cancelling the agreement of sale.
With the help from friends, Tuku wriggled his way out of the tight spot and kept possession of his vehicle.
But it is not every who views Tuku’s legacy as teetering on the brink of collapse. One of Tuku’s closest friends, Daves Guzha who is the director Rooftop Promotions/Theatre in the Park, said all stories of Tuku’s legacy collapsing was wishful thinking.
“Collapsing how, when we held his memorial only yesterday. Stop the wishful thinking,” said Guzha.
However, only a handful of peole attended the memorial in Madziva yesterday, with not even the State-owned media invited.
Meanwhile, Daisy runs a construction company and is also reportedly failing to pay workers citing the national lockdown.
“We make precast concrete for walls, bridges and other purposes and are getting contracts even under the lockdown, but we’re being paid our wages in painstakingly small bits,” said the source.
When Daisy was reached for a comment on the matter, a person who answered her phone refused to confirm if she was Daisy.
“It doesn’t matter who I am. What matters is for you to let Tuku rest in peace,” said the call respondent. □