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20 Great Songs From Oliver Mtukudzi

Here are some of the best tracks from the Zimbabwean jazz legend.

As the legendary Oliver 'Tuku' Mtukudzi is laid to rest today, we remember his four-decade long contribution to music.

There is no childhood, especially that of a Zimbabwean child, that is complete without Mtukudzi. He is a musician who has always been an extension to a household, and he will continue to be so for many years to come. And not just for Zimbabweans, but for every single individual from all over the world that took delight in listening to his timeless offerings.

Mtukudzi released over 60 albums, each one proving better than the one that preceded it. His genre of Afro-jazz, with the characteristic mbira, told numerous stories and valuable lessons through the richly metaphorical Shona language.

There is a Tuku song for every stage in one's life and for every grievous and joyous moment.

Mtukudzi worked with numerous other musical giants including his dear friend Hugh Masekela, Ringo Madlingozi, The Black Spirits, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Joss Stone.

As the world mourns the passing of a true music connoisseur and creator, we celebrate his legacy with some of his most beloved songs.

Listen to these songs in our Oliver Mtukudzi playlist on Spotify and Apple Music.


"Neria"

Mtukudzi tells of the sorrowful plight of a widow in Zimbabwe after she loses her husband. This is perhaps his most internationally recognized record.

"Todii"

In this record, Mtukudzi asks his fellow Africans what they'll do to get rid of the scourge of HIV/AIDS on the continent before it claims the lives of even more.

"Mutserendende"

Mtukudzi speaks of how, unlike the simpler lives of his ancestors, his own life is far more challenging and akin to constantly climbing a mountain.

"Ndagarwa Nhaka"

This record explores the Shona tradition of 'nhaka' which speaks to how a recently widowed woman is allowed to marry her husband's brother so as to be able to remain in the family.

"Kunze Kwadoka"

In this jovial record, Mtukudzi tells the story of a young woman who is out having fun and how she ought to get home soon because it's getting dark outside.

"Wasakara"

This record was banned from radio stations in Zimbabwe at some point as it spoke, although not directly, about how then dictator Robert Mugabe had become raggedy and needed to step down from the presidency.

"Ndakuvara"

Ndakuvara translates to "I am hurt." In this track, Mtukudzi speaks to how he is hurt whilst tending to the cows, and how those around him should hurry and call the mother of his children.

"Mabasa"

This hauntingly beautiful song speaks of how one has just received terrible news and how that news then needs to be relayed to the elders of the family.

"Raki"

Mtukudzi says that there are some men who survive purely by luck and no greater driving force outside of themselves. In this record he explains some of the reasons why he feels this happens.

"Pindurai Mambo"

Whilst this record sounds deceptively jovial, it in fact is a plea to God to answer the prayers of those who are suffering and constantly in want.

"Hazvireve"

In this record, Mtukudzi speaks of a father who is trying to assure his child he had in his youth that he loves her, despite not having been in her life.

"Ndima Ndapedza"

Mtukudzi speaks about how he has done his work and completed it - there is nothing left to do. Perhaps the most fitting record to say farewell to a man whose music was so transcendent.

"Mbabvu Yangu"

In this slow-paced and almost reflective record, Mtukudzi talks about his wife Daisy, and describes how she has filled his life and is the only one he sees - his mbabvu or 'rib'.

"Wagona Fani"

This record is filled with gratitude as Mtukudzi thanks his wife for raising their children and further praises her for having raised them so well.

"Tozeza"

Once again, what sounds like quite a pleasantly upbeat song proves to be the story of child asking why his constantly drunk father beats his mother.

"Tsika Dzedu"

In this record, Mtukudzi reflects on how he feels Zimbabweans are losing some of their customs and traditions and asks where they are all going.

"Shamiso/Watitsvata"

In this record, Mtukudzi sings about the joy and excitement he has after his daughter has recently gotten married.

"Mai Varamba"

Mtukudzi tells the simple story of how the mother of a certain household says no to a particular request and how nothing more can be done - hers is the final say.

Oliver Mtukudzi ft. Hugh Masekela "Tapera"

The two legends and dear friends collaborate in this transfixing record which speaks to how the youth are perishing and in turn, we as a people are perishing as a result.

"Chiri Nani"

In this record, Mtukudzi talks about how everything has its owner and that one must always ask the owner for permission to use it.

Listen to these songs in our Oliver Mtukudzi playlist on Spotify and Apple Music.




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Photo by KOLA SULAIMON/AFP via Getty Image

#EndSARS: 1 Year Later And It's Business As Usual For The Nigerian Government

Thousands filled the streets of Nigeria to remember those slain in The #LekkiTollGateMassacre...while the government insists it didn't happen.

This week marks 1 year since Nigerians began protests against police brutality and demanded an end to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). The #EndSARS protests took the world by storm as we witnessed Nigerian forces abuse, harass and murder those fighting for a free nation. Reports of illegal detention, profiling, extortion, and extrajudicial killings followed the special task force's existence, forcing the government to demolish the unit on October 11th, 2020. However, protestors remained angered and desperate to be heard. It wasn't until October 20th, when soldiers opened fire on demonstrators at Lekki tollgate in the country's capital, Lagos, that the protests came to a fatal end. More than 56 deaths from across the country were reported, while hundreds more were traumatized as the Nigerian government continued to rule by force. The incident sparked global outrage as the Nigerian army refused to acknowledge or admit to firing shots at unarmed protesters in the dead of night.

It's a year later, and nothing has changed.

Young Nigerians claim to still face unnecessary and violent interactions with the police and none of the demands towards systemic changes have been met. Fisayo Soyombo the founder of the Foundation for Investigative Journalism, told Al Jazeera, "Yes, there has not been any reform. Police brutality exists till today," while maintaining that his organization has reported "scores" of cases of police brutality over this past year.

During October 2020's protests, Nigerian authorities turned a blind eye and insisted that the youth-led movement was anti-government and intended to overthrow the administration of current President Muhammadu Buhari. During a press conference on Wednesday, in an attempt to discredit the protests, Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed hailed the Nigerian army and police forces for the role they played in the #EndSARS protests, going as far as to say that the Lekki Toll Massacre was a "phantom massacre with no bodies." These brazen claims came while protesters continued to gather in several major cities across the country. The minister even went on to shame CNN, Nigerian favorite DJ Switch as well as Amnesty International, for reporting deaths at Lekki. Mohammed pushed even further by saying, "The six soldiers and 37 policemen who died during the EndSARS protests are human beings with families, even though the human rights organizations and CNN simply ignored their deaths, choosing instead to trumpet a phantom massacre."

With the reports of abuse still coming out of the West African nation, an end to the struggle is not in sight. During Wednesday's protest, a journalist for the Daily Post was detained by Nigerian forces while covering the demonstrations.

According to the BBC, additional police units have been set up in the place of SARS, though some resurfacing SARS officers and allies claim to still be around.

Young Nigerians relied heavily on social media during the protests and returned this year to voice their opinions around the first anniversary of an experience that few will be lucky enough to forget.



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