It is perhaps what Morgan Freeman felt when he played god in the epic movie “Bruce Almighty” and follow up “Evan Almighty”.
Or when Denzel Washington played Steve Biko in the movie “Cry Freedom”. Or perhaps Laurence Fishburne as Nelson Mandela in the “Mandela” biopic.
Long story short, everybody wants to play the role of a towering person in mankind’s unfolding history.
Energy-packed Ashton “Mbeu” Nyahora (pictured right) is a rising adrenaline pumped young man who is one of the names to look out for in Zimbabwe’s music industry, yet his invitation to play alongside musical greats in South Africa last Tuesday at Oliver Mtukudzi’s memorial seals him as not only a protégé of the late great icon, playing “Tuku” gave him a rush of blood to the head.
“The experience was overwhelming. It was a great opportunity to showcase at such a great platform, sad that it came when we are still in mourning,” said Mbeu in the heart of personal loss.
It certainly was an honour for the young man to step into the shoes of Oliver as he belted some Oliver tracks as well as filled in the mammoth shoes alongside musician Ringo Madlingozi in the epic duet “Into Yam”, in a warmly received performance at the Jo’burg Theatre in Braamfontein Johannesburg.
Wielding his guitar light a magic wand and complementing Oliver’s lyrics which shadow Ringo’s own and dressed in a Tuku style African print shirt, Mbeu gave a great account of himself at the event.
“He (Oliver) was a father figure sand playing Tuku in a way was a great tribute for me to the star. It was a heart-warming honour,” says Mbeu.
The memorial, also graced by the span of the king Oliver himself, Selmor and Sandra Mtukudzi, was an emotional roller-coaster doubling as a celebration of his life and an opportunity to shed tears as the wound in the wake of Tuku’s passing has anything but healed.
The Pakare-Paye protégé is also expected to grace a memorial to be held by the Zimbabwe government in honour of the legend, later this month in Harare.
“If I could have my way, I would prefer not to play at Tuku’s memorial as I would prefer him alive. Yet in the reality of his death, this is the best way I could honour him and be honoured for having been his ‘child’ in music,” said Mbeu.