Oliver Mtukudzi Picture: Dumisani Sibeko
Legendary Zimbabwean musician Oliver Mtukudzi will be headlining the latest instalment of the Kaya FM and Bassline Live Present series at Gold Reef City’s Lyric Theatre tomorrow.

Dubbed An Intimate Evening With Oliver Mtukudzi and friends, Mtukudzi will be accompanied by Fiona Gwena on vocals and hosho, Craig Chandamare on drums, Ashton Nyahora on guitar and vocals, Charles Njekesa on bass and Donald Kanyuchi on guitar and vocals.

“What I’m gonna do is I’m gonna bring the songs and people should bring their dancing shoes,” says Mtukudzi.

The musician has performed for Kaya FM and Bassline and has a strong reputation with both brands.

With Mtukudzi performing almost as regularly in South Africa as he does back home in Zimbabwe, I asked him about his affinity to the country and how excited he is to be back here tomorrow.

“I’m African and South Africa is part of Africa. So I feel at home when I’m here because we’re the same people,” he says. Mtukudzi doesn’t say much throughout our interview, instead giving short, direct answers.

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Apart from his music, Mtukudzi is heavily involved in matters of human rights across the continent and holds a slew of prestigious human rights awards, including The International Council For Africana Womanism Award, which is in recognition of his role in the upliftment of African women through his artistic work.

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I asked him what inspired his human rights work.

“The umbrella that covers whatever I talk about in my music ever since I started in the 70s is self-discipline, which is the building of humanity. I’ve had that passion ever since I was born,” he says.

Oliver Mtukudzi. Picture: Supplied

Forty years on from the release of his first album, Mtukudzi is now putting the final touches to his 67th album. “The album is called Hanya'ga, and it means concern. If you can’t have concern in life then how are you going to learn?”

I asked him where he draws inspiration to keep making music from.

“As long as there are people, there’s something to talk about and if there is anything to talk about, then there’s something to sing about," he says. "So I just carry on talking to the people about the way I live, different experiences and so on. There’s always a next day. You don’t stop and you don’t get discouraged by what you have done today. You always look for something more.”

Mtukudzi is arguably Zimbabwe’s most celebrated artist ever. He’s inspired the journeys of countless artists and, even at the age of 64, continues to be one of the most productive artists out there. He talks me through the evolution of music back home.

“Zimbabwean music is improving. But I’m worried about youngsters not staying true to who they are - they’re imitating other artists, whether from the US or UK.

“And they look down upon their own music - that’s a concern to me. We’re promoting other music and other cultures instead of promoting our own culture.”

@ShingaiDarangwa

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