Following the first-ever non-partisan declaration of national hero status on the late music icon Oliver Mtukudzi, President Emmerson Mnangagwa says he hopes the move will motivate Zimbabweans to use their God-given talents in the advancement and development of the country.
In a speech read on his behalf by Defence Minister, Opah Muchinguri at Tuku’s homestead in Madziwa yesterday, Mnangagwa challenged Zimbabweans to use gifts and professions to advance and develop the country.
“As we lay our national hero, Tuku, to rest, let us as a nation re-dedicate ourselves to use our gifts, calling, and professions to advance and develop of our country.
“Let us equally desire to live our lives in a manner that impacts positively on humanity now and in the future,” said Mnangagwa.
Giving a chronicle of what earned Tuku a national hero status Mnangagwa said;
“He entertained and united millions of people as well as branding and marketing our country as a safe and friendly destination of choice. He made strides in preventing African cultural heritage by boldly expressing our national values and ethos through song.
“He used his God-given talent, that of music and dance, to make an inedible imprint in our country and to humankind in general. He did not shy away from political commentary, always however managing to maintain his patriotism and love for his country.”
Tuku’s national hero recognition brings a twist to a decades-long narrative injected during former president Robert Mugabe’s era that alignment to ZANU PF is the only guarantee for the status.
Outspoken musician, Thomas Mapfumo had already protested the criterion used to determine national hero status saying;
“It is wrong to think that if one has never held a gun to fight in the liberation struggle then they do not deserve to be recognized as a national hero,” said Mapfumo in a discussion with Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa.
Tuku succumbed to diabetes on 23 January.
He had a record 66 albums to his name in a music career that spanned over four decades.