Leroy Dzenga Herald Reporter
Academics from Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) have started working on a book project chronicling the life of the late national hero and music superstar Oliver Mtukudzi.
The institution, which conferred an honorary doctorate on Mtukudzi in 2014, has since begun compiling scholarly writings on his life.
GZU Director Information and Public Relations Mr Anderson Chipatiso said the project titled The Life and Times of Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi (1952-2019) will academically package the contributions Mtukudzi made to the Pan-African discourse through his lengthy musical career.
“The Great Zimbabwe University-initiated book project seeks to discuss and record the contribution of Oliver Mtukudzi’s life and music to the socio-cultural landscape of Zimbabwe, Africa and the world,” said Chipatiso. The book will carry a summary of his life and an incisive interpretation of his music through academic lenses.
“The book is in two parts; the biographical and performance related section and the socio-cultural significance of his music. The biographical section traces the trajectory of his life and musical career and explores the connections that shaped and influenced his world view.
“The other part critically reflects how the man’s creative works re-figure pertinent socio-cultural issues in Zimbabwe and beyond. It explores a whole range of themes from culture, politics, morality, spirituality to romance,” Chipatiso said.
The university`s Vice Chancellor Professor Rungano Zvobgo said the book project is the institution`s way of honouring the late muso. “Great Zimbabwe University is particularly honoured to have the late National Hero, Dr Oliver Dairai Mtukudzi as our distinctive alumnus. On October 31, 2014, we had the unparalleled and singular honour of conferring the celebrated doyen of Afro-Jazz music with a Doctor of Ethnomusicology and Choreography (HONORIS CAUSA) degree. Dr Mtukudzi stood out as a shining Zimbabwean, African and cosmopolitan. His beat will forever remain a weaving thread, the spirit that speaks to us as Zimbabweans and Africans. Publishing a book in his honour is the natural thing to do for one of our own,” said Prof Zvobgo.
Mtukudzi’s daughter Selmor said the institution was yet to notify her family of its intentions, hence she could not comment on the significance of the gesture.
The book project will be edited by senior literary academic Professor Kizito Muchemwa, aided by Professor Munyaradzi Mawere, Dr Benjamin Mudzanire, Professor Dawson Munjeri, Dr Rabson Wuriga, Professor Fortune Sibanda and Mrs Sinikiwe Gwatidzo.