According to the family’s website, Sam (22) died on the spot in Harare early Monday morning when his car veered off the road and crashed into a bridge near Kuwadzana Extension on the Harare-Bulawayo Road. Also killed in the accident was Sam’s friend and sound engineer Owen Chimhare (24).
Both were traveling from Harare to Norton where they lived.
Sam’s parents were said to be on Monday rushing back to Harare.
The bodies have since been taken to a private funeral parlour in Harare. Burial arrangements will be announced in due course.
Mourners are gathered at the Mtukudzi family home at Number 4276 Mtukudzi Way, Knowe, Norton.
For most of last week Sam and Owen were in South Africa mixing Sam’s second album. On Saturday both returned home and Sam staged what was to be his last show at Sports Diner in Harare. The crowd was small but Sam gave one of his most powerful performances in recent times – as if to say goodbye to his fans.
And just last week Sam had performed at one of the Perekedza Mwana concept shows at Extra Mile Leisure Spot in Harare where he attracted what the Tuku Music Company thought was unprecedented attendance for a lazy Sunday afternoon. Four hundred fans (400) attended the show that was to be Sam’s last joint show with his father. They had both traveled together from another joint show in Rusape the previous day.
The Perekedza Mwana concept was conceived by Sam himself where his father was to accompany him to the old venues mainly in the ghettos were Mtukudzi senior played in the 1970s and 1980s. Already they had launched the shows at Mushandirapamwe Hotel in Highfield, Harare.
Just last month Sam had performed with his father at the Nzou neMhuru muDanga concert at the 7 Arts Theatre in Avondale, Harare.
Nzou neMhuru muDanga was a theatrical production that pollinated across genres and forms – there was a full mbira cast, contemporary dancers, Tuku and Sam as a duet and with their full separate bands, The Black Spirits and Ay Band respectively. They performed in a makeshift enclosure representing a kraal and nursing pen for the elephant and its baby hence the theme Nzou neMhuru muDanga loosely translated to mean an elephant and its baby in the kraal. Tuku is of the elephant totem.
Now, when all of us at Tuku Music Company and Pakare Paye Arts Centre look at the few recent events and the rare concepts that Tuku and Sam were involved in together, so closely of late, we are not wrong to say Tuku was simply passing the legacy of music to his son. But as fate would have it, that was not to be. When we look at the events in retrospect we see that in a way Sam was bidding his father farewell through a string of their recent collaborations. What can we say?
Born on 1st April 1988, Sam first showed his musical nature at the age of four when he started strumming on his father’s guitar. The family was then located in the City of Kwekwe. At the age of 10 his father saw him perform at a school concert and was so impressed by the performance that he bought him his first guitar.
When he started high school at Prince Edward in Harare, Sam found before him an institution that had great facilities for him to pursue music seriously and to learn a number of instruments. He immersed himself into it, learning mbira, drums, marimbas, saxophone and mastering his guitar skills.
As soon as he was done with school Sam started performing professionally, backing his father on many occasions, but also performing on his own. He went on to form his own ensemble, the Ay Band.
Sam released his first album, Rume Rimwe in 2007.
He performed all over the world including in countries such as Canada, United States of America, Lesotho, Swaziland, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, South Africa, Nigeria, Ireland and United Kingdom.
His talent has illuminated festivals such as the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA), Cape Town International Jazz Festival, Winter Jazz Festival, Victoria Falls International Jazz Festival and, Johannesburg International Jazz Festival among others.