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Tuku Was My Mentor- Innocent

By Steve Ephraem

IN Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) in the 1970s, rumba music great Le Grand Kalle mentored a youthful Kabasele Yampanya who later adopted his mentor’s name and called himself Pepe Kalle.

It became evident that what Pepe learnt from his mentor Le Grand Kalle benefitted him. From the mid 1980s, Pepe Kalle’s music career became rosy that when he breathed his last in 1998 he was still a force to reckon.

Here in Zimbabwe, there is a mentor and student relationship which took place between the late Dr Oliver Mtukudzi and a youthful Innocent Kufakunesu. Known by his two stage names, Answer and Sarungano.

Innocent is a vivid testimony that Tuku was a great musician.

Innocent Kufakunesu is a guitarist and keyboardist born 27 years ago in Murewa, Innocent is a holder of a degree in Sociology.

In an interview with Post On Sunday, Innocent revealed that the late Dr Tuku played an important role in transforming his music career.

“I started music in high school at Kutama College in Zvimba. The late Dr Mtukudzi helped me to see the potential music has in terms of reach message and success.

Now I can trade in a range of genres such as Afro pop, jazz, hip hop, Katekwe (Tuku music) and others.

“I sing in English, ChiShona, isiNdebele and I have a band which I haven’t named. I sing to share a positive message in a country which is facing its own hoards of challenges. Hope is essential for progress and success.

Having recorded a number of singles and two albums. Innocent has a new album titled, Mafuta, which was produced by Jonathan Mgazi.

Mafuta was produced with the help of Ali Moyana and a video is still being worked on.

“I’d want to thank everyone who has been instrumental in my career without mentioning names because the list is endless and I fear I might leave some people out,” added Innocent.