Moyo’s death ‘dark hour’ for Zim: Tuku

Oliver Mtukudzi has come in for criticism from music fans for missing Tongai Moyo’s funeral last week. But in a statement posted on his website over the weekend, the superstar reveals he visited Moyo at his hospital bed just hours before his death. He describes the Utakataka frontman’s death as a “dark hour” for Zimbabwe. Here is his statement in full:

IT IS with a heavy heart that I learnt of the death of Tongai Moyo on Saturday, October 15, 2011.

I worked with Tongai in the 1990s as the producer of his very first album, “Utakataka”. While we lived together in Kwekwe, I made sure Tongai organised himself professionally and that he rehearsed together with the likes of Robert Chiriga (late).

As his producer, I went to record Utakataka with him at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) because we could not get space at the commercial studios.

I sincerely believed in both Tongai and Chiriga as gifted musicians.

It is shocking he died just after I went to see him in hospital on the Friday before his passing the following day. Tongai gave me the impression his condition was improving and he would be soon leaving hospital.

When I went to see him last Friday Tongai said to me humorously: “Mukoma, please ask maiguru (your wife) to prepare me a road-runner (village chicken).”

I forwarded the message to my wife who was preparing Tongai’s dish when we heard of the unfortunate news of his death. She was devastated.

My first advice to Tongai, while I was producing his music, was that he should be original and avoid imitating Leonard Dembo (late) because Tongai was a great fan of Dembo whom he adored so much.

I told Tongai that he could play the same genre of music as Dembo but try as much as possible to sound original and as Tongai the individual and independent musician. And Tongai listened.

Sure, I was proud to be associated with Tongai because he was talented. I only helped him by showing him the way. He had the craft already. I think Tongai moved with the times and trends in music and never remained stagnant and it went on well for him.

To his wife, family, fans, the music sector and the nation that poured out to mourn him, we must never lose hope. Let us be strong during this dark hour.

Tongai’s death is not the end. His legacy continues through his music.

And to Peter (Tongai’s son who has been standing in for his father as lead singer of Utakataka Express) I say, son, remain humble and work hard and you will fit into your father’s shoes and life will go on.

Sulu (Chimbetu) is working with his late’s father’s (Simon) band and you can do the same and the Moyo legacy will continue.

Let Peter play his father’s music and if he can bring in new dimensions into the music, the better even.

Peter should build a good name for himself, on the back of his father and there is nothing wrong with that.

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