GZU Academics pen book on Oliver Mtukudzi
In recognition of the national hero status conferred on Dr. Oliver Mtukudzi and his national, Pan-African and international musical career, Great Zimbabwe University academics are collaborating on a book project on the world celebrated artiste and alumnus of the university. The book, The Life and Times of Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi (1952-2019, chronicles Tuku’s life and examines the significance of his musical creations to social and political discourses. Churning out over 66 albums in 66 years testifies a life immersed in art and art for life as opposed to self-referential art. A prolific musical career decorated with local, regional and international achievements invites a thorough interrogation and reflection.
The Great Zimbabwe University initiated book project seeks to discuss and record the contribution of Oliver Mtukudzi’s life and music to the socio-cultural landscape of Zimbabwe, Africa and the world. The book is in two parts; the biographical and performance related section and the socio-cultural significance of his music. The biographical section traces the trajectory of his life and musical career and explores the connections that shaped and influenced his world view. The other part critically reflects how the man’s creative works re-figure pertinent socio-cultural issues in Zimbabwe and beyond. It explores a whole range of themes from culture, politics, morality, spirituality to romance.
GZU is moreover, interested in this grand icon because in 2014, they awarded him an honorary doctorate in Ethnomusicology and Choreography in recognition of his tremendous contribution to culture and heritage, which are niche aspects of the University. Given this cherished relationship with the national hero, the University feels obliged to critically reflect on the social vision of its alumnus.
“Great Zimbabwe University is particularly honoured to have the late National Hero, Dr Oliver Dairai Mtukudzi as our distinctive alumnus. On 31st October 2014, we had the unparalleled and singular honour of conferring the celebrated doyen of Afro-Jazz music with a Doctor of Ethnomusicology and Choreography (HONORIS CAUSA) degree. Dr Mtukudzi stood out as a shining Zimbabwean, African and cosmopolitan. His beat will forever remain a weaving thread, the spirit that speaks to us as Zimbabweans and Africans.
Publishing a book in his honour is the natural thing to do for one of our own,” said Great Zimbabwe University Vice Chancellor, Professor Rungano Zvobgo.
Professor Zvobgo has since charged the project and editorial team, led by a renowned literary critic Professor Kizito Muchemwa, supported by well published scholars in the ilk of Professor Munyaradzi Mawere, Dr. Benjamin Mudzanire, Professor Dawson Munjeri, Dr.Rabson Wuriga, Professor Fortune Sibanda and the Registrar, Mrs Sinikiwe Gwatidzo to steer the book project whose publication is anticipated to take place soon.