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Zimbabwean music icon Oliver Mtukudzi should be issued with a diplomatic passport in recognition of his work as the country’s tourism ambassador, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi has said. Speaking at the Harare International Carnival dinner held in Harare on Wednesday, Minister Mzembi said there were plans to exalt Zimbabweans in various disciplines including music.

“You raised the issue of Oliver Mtukudzi that he assumes his ambassadorial role and that goes with a diplomatic passport,” he said to wild applause.

Mtukudzi who was among the guest performers on the night serenaded music lovers with one or two ditties before he dashed off.

One of the granddads of Zimbabwean music, Mtukudzi has long avoided getting embroiled in partisan politics.

His songs don’t carry explicit political messages, but he makes it easy to read between the lines. A prolific artiste, he has released more than 60 albums in Zimbabwe. Far more than a musician, Mtukudzi has been deeply involved in other art forms. He was featured in the film “Jiti”, the first film with an all-Zimbabwean cast and played a leading role in “Neria”, a feature film for which he also wrote and arranged the soundtrack.

He also wrote and directed the musical “Was My Child”, a production exploring the plight of street children in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare. Recently, he built a multi-million dollar Pakare Paye Art Centre in Norton that nurtures and develops young talents.

“My music is one of the very few thing that Zimbabweans share equally, no matter where you come from, what colour your are, what tastes you have, or what party you support,” Mtukudzi once said in an interview.

Source : The Herald