Dear Dr Oliver Mtukudzi

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I have been trying to recall the last time we talked. Wrecking my brain and I am ashamed, appalled…that I cannot recall every detail of that last conversation. I am mad at myself that I failed to hold on to every single moment. I took it for granted that you were there before I was born and got comfortable thinking you’d be there way after me.

The first song I heard of yours was the one you sang about Samora Machel Avenue. In fact it’s also the first video of yours I watched. That was the beginning of a crazy musical journey. Shaura/Ngoma nehosho did it for me then and still is one of my favourite songs, followed by Nyanga yenzou. You and Picky kept us entertained almost every Thursday as my family watched Mvenge-mvenge…and you got me into detention once for putting up a show in class imitating you – no regrets!

I never told you that I played your music all the time growing up. My father designed most of your album covers and that’s how I first met you. I saw that Svovi yangu album cover when it was just all sketches with Daisy’s picture stuck on the dummy that you later approved.

How did you do that? 66 albums and the 67th in the oven! Did you ever run out of things to say-stories to tell? You had a way and you told those stories so well. Yeah, let’s talk about Chirimupoto for a second. Do you recall how critics just laid it hard on you on that one?They said “Tuku apera” … “akushaya zvekuuimba”. Now the same people turn around and proclaim that track genius. Surely you were ahead of your time.

Then you had those gospel albums… mmm to be honest I didn’t quite get them but I adored them as your fellow ‘Hwisiri’. What was going on in your life at that time for you to make such a move? Was it a purely capitalistic move cheered on by the label? Whatever the reason those songs are a blessing to so many. Your Discography is mind blowing! There is a Tuku song for every mood, every function… wedding, graduation, birthday…even funerals. Talking about that…Seiko, that track. You are evidence that we are vessels and I know when you are called upon you will not be that servant who hid his talent…you grew yours for all to see and enjoy. As much as there’s so much pain and hurt around your departure, there is a deep acknowledgement that you played your part and you played it well. You will always be lingering everywhere in the world every time your songs are played. When we miss you, we will play one of your songs or close our eyes and go back in time. There are many conversations I wish we could have had, many things I wanted to ask and learn from you. I just decided earlier on that I wouldn’t be one of those people trying to squeeze everything out of you, always wanting something or the other. I was going to be a closet fan and you would see me as a peer. Where did death take you? Did you witness what went down this past week? Did you see all that? Did you see the amount of lives you touched? The amount of people who love you? Could you see their hearts, were they there for you or with their own agenda’s? I have to say my heart bled a bit at the wanton disrespect some folks had for your property.

Climbing onto your walls sitting there, every brick of your home represents sweat and your dreams. They disregarded that. Could we not have mourned or celebrated your life respectfully and with just a little bit of class? Is that not the example you set for us? The same way people respectfully approached you and asked for pic’s and selfies is the same way they should have treated the proceedings.

Did you see the amount of artists who came through to your funeral? Wow! Almost all the entertainment in the city shut down just for you, that’s how powerful you are. Why not? Who can honestly say they were not inspired by you in one way or the other? But were they honestly there just for you or because the worlds eyes were on you?

Was it love for you or love for an audience that had gathered for you? What I would have given to have been sitting with you and watching all the drama unfolding. Do you approve of how they handled everything? Would you have done the same having traded places?

Those that mourned the loudest, posted the most on social media…were they the ones closest to you? Oh well these things happen don’t they?The amount of booty shaking that went down, would those folks have done the same thing in your face or these were other agendas at play? I’ve heard that’s how the Kore kore grieve … but could it be the decay of morals?

You had such a passion for young talent. You made it possible for so many dreamers. Would you rather have had them in the front of all the funeral proceedings instead of what ended up happening? Let me tell you what I would have loved to see – you with your long time buddies playing pall bearers even for just three meters. You! Why did you have to go now? The same thing Jerry did to you, you’ve gone and done! What about those speeches? Who shouldn’t have got a microphone? I guess people are people they will never disappoint. Had it been up to you, who would you have chosen to speak? Could all this have been handled better? What is done is done I guess.

Can I say I wept when you were declared a National Hero, tears of sheer joy. You deserve it and more. Who knew that one of our own would one day be recognised? Why didn’t you want to be buried at the Heroes Acre? May be your being there where school kids frequent on trips would have continued to touch lives in a different way? Maybe your foreign fans would have loved to see where you are? Maybe your being there could have been that constant beacon, a reminder that anything is possible?

You deserved a pair of Pata pata to be buried with you. However, if we got you a pair of Pata pata for every achievement…there would be no space for you in that grave for sure. It’s funny isn’t it how funerals have a way of bring people together, you did that. You brought people together through your music and then in your last act too. You brought politicians together, artists and Zimbabweans from all walks of life . Makapenga Samanyanga!

You probably sang everything you needed to sing, but did you get to say all you needed to say? Did you reach out to those you needed to reach out to? Any regrets? Any apologies ? Anything left unfinished? Rufu ndimadzongonyodze!

Are we never to see your gangly tallness on stage? The ease and confidence you exuded as you walked on to the stage? Are we never to share the stage? What about your signature choreography that has inspired every young guitarist? You were born for the stage? Can you at least explain why your passing hurts so much even to those of us who didn’t know you well or long? You have left us with sore hearts!

It’s been seven days great elephant since you took a bow and slumbered, and already the world feels a little colder. Your songs are a loud reminder that once you walked these streets amongst us, our lives are forever changed. Your place is cemented in our hearts.

As an artist, I give you a resounding ovation for walking before us, for making the way and leaving a trail we could follow. Ngiyabonga for showing us that all things are possible, for falling and picking yourself up and leaving warning signs so we wouldn’t face the same pitfalls. I am grateful that you never gave up and kept your eye on the prize.

Bless you for every word of encouragement and advice, every cheer and every word of reprove. We are obliged to you for remembering faces and names, being on time, being human, being present and keeping your word. Zikomo for every selfie and picture you took with everyone even though it took you a while to adjust to that.

Thank you for giving us pride in who we are, for telling us it’s ok to be different and giving us confidence to run our own race.

Ndinokutendai for every song and every performance, for every autograph, joke and smile. Here’s to hoping we all took notes…to a life well lived! Ndima yese makasakura mukazunza…zvasarira isu.

Makaibata basa guru Samanyanga, vatariri vemasango, chirandu, mutsikapanembiri, marigazvuru, matyoramiti…mhuka huru! Rest in eternal peace!

Your fan, daughter, peer

Patience Musa