Seems Oliver Mtukudzi has 9 lives – He was DECLARED DEAD 7 times. Celebrated legendary musician, Oliver Mtukudzi has lambasted the media accusing it of exaggerating his ill health.

Speaking ahead of his 63rd birthday on Tuesday, Tuku said “Well, you know people, our fans, those who like what we do — at times they get confused, they can’t separate Oliver Mtukudzi from the art. By so doing and because they are so overwhelmed by what they like about Mtukudzi they don’t see him as a person. To them Mtukudzi should not get sick.


“Mtukudzi should always be healthy to give them what they want, but Mtukudzi is a human being and to borrow from Tocky (Vibes), ‘ndiri munhuwo’. Mtukudzi is a human being who catches diseases and falls sick like everyone else.”

“Of course, I spoke about being diabetic back then because I was scared at the time. I didn’t even know what being diabetic meant. The doctors told me that I probably had been diabetic for over 15 years, but had been saved by my healthy lifestyle. Mtukudzi is not made of steel, he is a human being like you. Failure to go to work — for me — because of flu, it’s because flu attacks that very same voice that I would want to use to sing for the people.

“Kurwara hakuzi kufa. I’m not dying, I have been declared dead seven times. Zvikanzi ‘afa afa afa’ but you never know where the rumour is coming from. I’m not a super human being — we are the same. It’s just that when we fail to fulfil a show, the way it is then written and reported is like my conditioned has worsened and I’m dying.


“That is what I have a problem with. I end up getting calls from worried relatives and friends, and in the end I don’t get the rest and time to myself that I need because of the phone calls after people read these exaggerated stories.”

Tuku said in his 40 years as a professional musician, he has worked with close to, if not more than, 65 band members, and a good number of those people including founders of the Black Spirits and very close friends, have passed on.

“Looking back, I have a rich history, personal history of the people that I worked with. The first cut usually is the deepest. People like Bartholomew Chirenda, a brilliant guitarist, who passed on; Kenny Mkwesha, a brilliant dancer-cum vocalist — mentioning their names brings memories, you start thinking of how you were then zera ramanga muri, the good times you had, our quarrels, all those things come back — if I could turn back the hands of time.

“It was a wonderful time. I see it as a stepping stone now but at that time that was all we had, ndozvanga zviripo, it was our way of life, it had to be like that. I have lost people like Joseph Alpheus. The only surviving member from that initial team is James Austin. We were just rehearsing doing some sessions here recently – it brings back memories.

“It’s a time that I cherish because I didn’t know that what I was doing then I would still be using it today. I was the eldest in the group, age wise, my young brother (Robert) too joined us after Wagon Wheels. He is the one who came up with the name Black Spirits.
“We had many members like Mulla (Moses Nyaruka) who joined us, others died and a lot of people came through. The root is the anchor until today. The ups and downs we had create a history for me.”

The internationally acclaimed performer, says all the people he worked with were special as they contributed to what he is today.

“I do not have anyone in my band that I can call special because everyone was a special piece to the band. Everyone brought something in the creation of brand Oliver Mtukudzi. There are over 65 members that have come and gone. All these people at some point were called Black Spirits. They are all special people, those who have died and those who are alive.

“It has been a long journey and I cherish a lot of people who have brought in some clarity into the work. I wrote all songs, arranged them but there are cases where some of these people would challenge me saying what I would have created was wrong and they would bring in their own creations. I am open and would always accept the challenge and at times the song came out even better.”

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