Anti-Mugabe song’ Lands Oliver
Mtukudzi in trouble
Music legend Oliver Mtukudzi was denied an
honorary degree by the University of Zimbabwe
because his hit song Wasakara was deemed to be
anti-President Robert Mugabe, a leading
academic has claimed.
Prof Boniface Chibore (right) bestows a bogus
honorary degree to celebrated musician Oliver
“Tuku” Mtukudzi [Photo courtesy of Zimbojam]
Wasakara, off the commercially successful Bvuma/
Tolerance album released in 2000, was replete
with deep-meaning lyrics which implored an old
man to accept that age had caught up with him
— leading to most Zimbabweans to conclude the
superstar meant Mugabe.
“Chief executive officer of Chitungwiza General
Hospital, Obadiah Moyo, proposed the idea of
honouring Mtukudzi with a University of
Zimbabwe doctorate degree owing to his
unquestionable contribution to the arts sector,”
said academic and music expert, Fred Zindi, while
addressing musicians and corporate leaders on
Friday at Mtukudzi’s Pakare Paye Arts centre in
Norton, where the lanky musician was launching
his new album.
“By then, I was in the University of Zimbabwe
Council and I presented the issue to the
university council and at first the deal was
promising but later questions about the meaning
of the song Bvuma started to pop up and that
was when the deal went wrong.
“The (UZ) council then promised to furnish us
with a reply after consulting the university
chancellor and up to now they are dilly-dallying
with the issue and we are waiting for a reply.”
So popular was Wasakara that in 2001, it landed
an engineer — Steven Schadendorff in trouble
during a live show at the Harare International
Conference Centre — when he shone a beam on
the portrait of Mugabe during Tuku’s
performance of the song which forced the crowd
to sing along.
As the crowd sang along ‘‘Bvuma, Bvuma Chete,
Bvuma Wasakara, Bvuma Waunyana (Accept,
accept that you are on the wane, accept you now
have wrinkles on your skin)’’, Schadendorff
continuously shone the beam on the long-serving
Zimbabwe leader’s portrait.
Schadendorff who became known as the
“Wasakara engineer’ during his trial was spared
Mtukudzi, however, despite missing out on the UZ
degree, would go on to be recognised by the
Great Zimbabwe University which conferred him
with a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Ethno-
Musicology and Choreography in 2014.
Mtukudzi, who claims he is apolitical, has
mastered the art of producing and singing music
with deep meaning which he says must be left to
his fans to deduce its meaning.
In contrast, outspoken Chimurenga music icon,
Thomas Mapfumo who was blasted over the
weekend by President Robert Mugabe for his role
in last week’s protests in New York, has never
hidden his deep-seated dislike of the Zanu PF
Mukanya, as Mapfumo is known in music circles,
has often attacked Mugabe’s governance style in
hard-hitting songs such as Corruption, Disaster,
Mamvemve, Vaurayiwa, Huni, Marima Nzara and
Havasevenzi Vapfana among others from an
impressive discography.
Mapfumo now resides in Oregon in the United
States after relocating in 2002 amid claims he had
been targeted by Mugabe’s government in a
luxury vehicle probe.
Most of his stinging songs are banned from the
State radio stations although he remains a hugely
popular figure among Zimbabweans who are
enamoured with his music. Daily News