At 65, Oliver Mtukudzi is the biggest Zimbabwean Afro-jazz icon.
Known in Africa by his stage name Tuku”, he is now determined to share his passion.
The self-taught guitarist has opened a music school near the capital,Harare to teach others.
‘‘There is no training because it’s not a school, we don’t do education here. We focus on talent. A school says,“Hey, you don’t know, come on, I’ll teach you.” We say,“hey, you have talent, come and teach us something”,Oliver said.
Mtukudzi defines the Pakare Paye Centre as an “arts village”.
There are no teachers or curricula. And most importantly, no tuition fees.
He says the idea came to him when he realized the difficulties he faced as a youth still exist
‘‘My parents didn’t want me to play guitar during school time. So I’d come here to practice, borrow a guitar from friends, and then go home’‘,Rodwell Roda ,a former student said.
It is to help musicians like Rodwell, that Mtukuzi opened this centre in 2004, which he finances himself. Located on 3 hectares of land, equipped with a recording studio and several stages, Pakare Paye has served as a springboard for many promising careers.
Fiona Gwene,an apprentice noted that is learning to play music and believes the school is serving its purpose.
‘‘It is a free platform that allows us to practice and learn. When Dr. Olivier discovered me, he said to me:“You know what? You have a beautiful voice, but we have to take care of it. He trained me and that’s how I was able to join a band’‘,Fiona said.
Despite these Mtukudzi has not given up on stage performance.
He released his 67th album in February 2018.