Harare, Zimbabwe – Funeral arrangements for Zimbabwean music legend Oliver Mtukudzi were expected to be announced on Thursday amid growing calls for him to be accorded national hero status.
Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister Kirsty Coventry has already said talks have started to give the Neria hitmaker a special honour.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa was also expected to make the 100km drive from Harare to Mtukudzi’s home in Norton and pay his respect to the musician’s wife Daisy.
Fans have been calling on the government to ensure that he is buried at the National Heroes Acre, a place where Zimbabweans whose dedication and commitment to their country justify their interment at the shrine.
"Nobody is more deserving to be buried at the National Heroes Acre. Tuku was not just a national hero but an African hero. He did more to fly the Zimbabwe flag on the world stage than anyone in this country," said Farai Mhundwa, a street vendor.
His sentiments were echoed by Zimbabwean-born US-based music star Thomas Mapfumo, who also urged the government to declare Mtukudzi a national hero.
Mapfumo wrote a glowing a tribute for a man who won the world over with his 67 albums.
"Tuku was a wonderful, kind hearted, selfless man who had the mind to care for others. I cry for a brother, friend, uncle, grandpa and sahwira.
Oliver was a man of the people. He sang from the heart and he was candid as he expressed himself clearly. His fame rested on solid pride in his culture, his Ubuntu and his focus on what mattered most to his life; people", wrote Mapfumo.
Mtukudzi, 66, from diabetes complications.