10 lessons entrepreneurs can learn from Tuku

Zimbabwe and the world lost a legend last week. Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi began his music career at 16 and at the time of his death he had recorded 66 albums. He was a musician, businessman, philanthropist and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Southern Africa Region. Tuku was considered to have been Zimbabwe’s most renowned and internationally recognised cultural icon of all time.

Looking at his life and how he lived it is not difficult to see why Tuku and his music had so much impact on people’s lives worldwide. As a technology hub focused on helping entrepreneurs start and grow their ventures, Tech Hub took time to look at Tuku’s life and draw 10 important lessons that he left us.

Lesson No. 1

Start with what you have. As entrepreneurs it is easy to say I don’t have money or the means to pursue my business venture. At age 16 Tuku started with something he found, an empty tin of cooking oil which he turned into a guitar and began to mess around with it. He taught himself the basics at a time many parents didn’t think pursuing a career in music was cool. In fact you could get a hiding if caught. He did it anyway, because he 10 lessons entrepreneurs can learn from Tuku had passion! The lesson here is start with what you have and don’t wait for the perfect opportunity.

Lesson No. 2

As Tuku progressed with his career he identified a niche and created a style of music that was unique and distinct to the point of the music being called Tuku Music. Listen to any of his songs and there is an unmistakable style. The lesson here is choose your niche / style and stick to it. No Tuku’s song was complete without his acoustic guitar or the trademark cough.

Lesson No. 3

As one of the most popular celebrities in Zimbabwe with international fame, Tuku was very composed and focused. Despite being drawn into fights Tuku stayed out of them and remained focused on his dream job, churning out 66 albums. As an entrepreneur you will get distractions, which you must push away in order to become successful.

Lesson No.4

Be dedicated and stay true to your calling. Treat each new endeavour you take as important as your last. Change the narrative. Rise to the challenges. An illustration of this lesson is his composition of the song Neria. He composed Neria overnight when approached by the makers of the movie. He did it so well that the producers of the movie decided not only to use his song but also changed the name of the movie to Neria.

Lesson No. 5

When faced with the worst pick yourself up and be strong. When he lost his son, Tuku was devastated but he picked himself up. Be prepared for the worst things in life. When Tuku lost his son it was difficult but he fought on although it was difficult. In business you might fail or lose an opportunity. Pick yourself up and don’t quit. Keep going.

Lesson No. 6

Give, give, give back to others. By far the most important lesson Tuku left us entrepreneurs. His Pakare Paya project assisted upcoming artists and will carry his legacy on for years to come. He realised that others needed help and he gave it his time and resources. In business we must help those who need us and give back to the community we are serving. That way we will continue to run sustainable ventures.

Lesson No. 7

Your business must mean something and solve real problems now, today and tomorrow. By far the best lesson, Tuku composed songs that meant something yesterday. They still mean something today and will still mean something tomorrow.

Lesson No. 8

It’s ok to fail but keep trying. Tuku had 66 albums under his belt. Not all went platinum, but he kept churning them out.

Lesson No. 9

Once you create a brand protect your brand and choose the right people to grow it. Delegate and trust your managers to do the job. Tuku music went global and will remain so. He didn’t limit himself to Zimbabwe and followed his fans around the globe.

Lesson No. 10

Be professional and stick to your word. Your reputation is everything in business. Tuku protected his and made sure he remained true to his word, performing year in year out until the very end.

Tuku had many collaborations with other musicians, that shows that he was willing to work with others and liked to experiment.

As an entrepreneur you must work with others and be willing to experiment. There are many lessons we can draw from Tuku’s life. As a fan of his rich music we will all miss him but we are happy that he left us these lessons and teachings. Go well our Legend! You put us on the map and made us proud. Interested in entrepreneurship and building your start-up venture contact us at Tech Hub Harare on +263718924393 or email

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