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Catholic priest speaks on Mtukudzi

29 Jan 2019 at 06:35hrs | Views
I didn't intend to write anything on Tuku at this time because there is so much going on out there.

The nation and the world is struggling to come to terms with his passing, condolence messages are outpouring, people composing songs, others wearing madhuku.

I thought this is just a time to be silent and process in my mind what is unfolding before us in our time. Unfortunately there is not rest for the wicked because I received a request to write a short reflection on Tuku' s music or legacy and its link to our faith.

After a few hours of prayer followed by two beers, I came to the conclusion that Tuku's music can help church people or Christians to rethink their notion of Gospel music.

I have been asked a few times why I do not have so called gospel songs in my collection and why I do not write about gospel music. I think it is

Tuku Music that convinced me that we need to redefine and rethink the so called gospel music.

Tuku music started a few years after I was born and I have followed it right up the demise of the superstar.

If my memory serves me well, he once experimented with gospel music, when he sang songs from Methodist hymn books. I am sure many will agree with me that was one of the lowest point in his career.

At least Jennifer Kyker the writer of Oliver Mtukudzi: Living Tuku Music in Zimbabwe will agree with me. When he re launched his music with Ndafunga Dande, he began to soar and he continued to rise right up to the moment he entered eternity and began flying with the angels and his ancestors.

The impact that his music has made over time has made me realize that ordinary pop music that people listen to everyday connects them to the divine in ordinary every day experiences.

It can also function in the same way that religious or gospel music does. It operates as a medium of history and wisdom about the transcendent without any explicit mention of God. The feelings and internal movement of the soul that this music evokes are valuable sources for contemplation and prayer.

Pop music such as Tuku music is loaded with spirituality. Take the word makwaka in the song Pakasimbwi for an example. I do not know what the word means. Makorekore may help. But from what the song is saying, I think I may have a good idea of what it means, or at least what it is trying to convey.

vane makwakwa musaende (those who have makwakwa do not go)
hona muchininga unetetereka (you will disappear in the tunnel/cave
kana zvichiera zvichiera (if it is sacred it is sacred)
zvinoda wakashinga mwoyo(you have to be of brave of heart)
Akashinga moyo, akatsiga (of brave heart and composed).
Vane makwakwa musauya musauye.

Kasimbwi is a sacred place in his village and as the case with most sacred places in Zimbabwe when one enters those places one is not suppose to be talking about the things that you see there. If you comment carelessly about the things you see there, you disappear.

So when Tuku says vane makwakwa musapinde. It means those who cannot contain themselves should not enter. Makwakwa could mean a tendency to incessantly make statements or comments about everything you witness,. It is reminder that some things needs silence. You do not need to make any statement all the time.

The Late Bishop Xavier Munyongani's commentary on the story of the prodigal son gives a good biblical example of a person with "makwakwa."

For those who remember the story, you will know that after the young son came back and his father welcomed him with love and joy and prepared a big banquet for him.

When the elder son came back from the fields, he asked a servant what was happening and the servant replied, "Your brother has come and your father has killed a fattened calf for him."

According to bishop Munyongani, the servant gave too much information. A simple statement like they are celebrating the return of your brother would have been enough or just go and see would have been more than adequate.

The whole story of killing a fattened calf was unnecessary, probably that is what angered the elder son. That is why he said to his father "you have never killed even a goat for me and my friends.

The basic message in pakasimbwi is about self-restraint in the presence of the divine. Something similar, or close to what we read in the bible when Moses approached the burning bush and was told to remove his shoes.

This self-restraint is not only about when you are in the presence of the divine but in the presence of the other and Tuku has explored self-restraint in the encounter with the other in a number of songs

Gudo guru
Gudo guru peta muswe vapwere vagongoremekedza
Sahwira rega kuzvitatanyadza
Rega kukanyaira kudada sewaksika nyika
Vapwere vanokuvhiringa ava
Iwe mukuru
Mukuru mukuru
hazvidi hasha rerutsa moyo
hazvina rukudzo
kuzvidyira gaka ndokunei
bwanya makaka
Nyarara chirimundari, chirimundari
Chirimundari ungatiparire
Ndasiya usanga pachena
Ndawana chidzimu chatora
Donwzaiwo waro kutaura kwake
Dai kuri kwangu nyamuse
Matemo angu maviri
Nemakano aya matatu
Ko kuzoti gidi riye haringiide
Pfumo rangu haringidire wo
ngoromera ingoromera
harina zvarinoshanda
Zuva nezuva haritonge matare ngoromera
Zuva nezuva hachitonge matare chibhakera
Hachitonge matare chibhakera.
Kana uri muenzi, iva muenzi
Hazvinei kuti kwavbvakacha
Kumuzukuru wako,
Munun'una wako
Angave sahwira anoshoreka zvakadini
Ringave roja, iwe uchibva sabhabha
Kana uri muenzi chiva muenzi
haikona kuti yenyu iya iya
yekuti katongerwo kaunoita kwako
Ndiko kowoda kuita pano….

I do not want to go into deep prayerful lamentations such as ndine mubvunzo or Dzandimomotera, or ndiri bofu neither can I talk of spiritual guides which do not mention God at all such as Raki, but you can tell that he is referring to a bigger reality than we can fathom. I have not heard this deep spirituality in any of the so called gospel music. Tuku has made me realize that the gospel is more about those everyday encounters and how we make them count because it is in them that we encounter the divine.

So I think john chibadura's zuva rekufa kwangu or Systems Tavida's musandishore pakunonoka kuroora is as much about the gospel (which means the good news) as is any song by Blessing Shumba or Matthias mhere..

Dr Oliver Mtukudzi (born Sept 1952) passed away on the 23rd of January 2019 in Harare. With over 60 albums to his name, several awards and ambassador roles, Tuku is the first artist to be declared a National Hero status in Zimbabwe. May His Soul Rest in Peace

Source - Jesuit Communications Zimbabwe
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