The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Tuku Show Washed Out

The heavens finally opened up on Saturday, October 13, after nearly four weeks of searing temperatures, literally washing away Oliver Mtukudzi's show in Africa Unity Square, where he was the star attraction at the Cimas Health Expo. But the show was "hot" while it lasted. According to the original programme, Tuku was supposed to be on stage between 12 noon and 2pm.

But it was not until 1.30pm that the "Birthday Boy" made his appearance, much to the relief of the anxious crowd.

Clad in a checked skyblue shirt, black trousers and trademark hat, Tuku immediately acknowledged his fans with the track "Matitsika" from his latest album "Sarawoga". "Tinokutambirai mose mauya, tinokutambirai nemaoko maviri . . . Kunyaya vakokwa, hatikangwane vangouyawo. Tinokutambirai matitsika. Musha, musha navaenzi", he sang much to the delight of the crowd.

And when he let out the proverbial cough, the men whistled while the ladies ululated.

With "all protocol observed", it was time for vintage Mtukudzi stuff as he belted out a string of yesteryear's "golden oldies".

These included "Dzandimomotera", "Right Direction", the timeless classic "Todii" in which he bemoans the havoc to the social fabric brought by HIV and Aids, "Mwendipasa Manyemwe" and perennial crowd favourite "Tozeza Baba", a veiled attack on domestic violence.

In keeping with the theme of the Health Expo, the hits were interspersed with nuggets of advice put to music such as one in which he asks the audience what they would choose between wealth and health.

Mtukudzi's answer was unequivocal - health.

About 85 minutes into the two-hour show, the intermittent showers which had seen the audience seeking cover under trees turned into a downpour, putting a premature end to the show.

In the run-up to his 60th birthday last month, Samanyanga was quoted as saying he would not be retiring anytime soon from the stage.

After watching him go through his paces in Africa Unity Square, executing the katekwe dance in both fast and slow motion, there is no doubt he will be around for a long, long time.

From Africa Unity Square, Tuku headed to Londoner's where he rekindled his partnership with multi-talented bass guitarist and afro-jazz sensation Josh Meck, who like the late Sam Mtukudzi, cut his music teeth at Prince Edward High School.

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