Superstar Oliver Mtukudzi’s first wife Melody Murape has said she deeply loved the legendary musician and said the feeling was mutual.
The couple wed on February 24, 1979, with a huge party at Melody’s sister’s house in Highfield, then a subsequent wedding reception at Gwanzura Stadium.
Tuku’s then friend and manager, Jack Sadza, was the wedding planner at the shindig that boasted a staggering 48 bridesmaids.
They were later to break up when Tuku met Daisy, a woman Melody said she will never forgive for messing up her marriage.
Still holding bitter resentment, Melody accused Tuku’s widow of “snatching” her husband, a move she said left her utterly “heartbroken”.
Melody is mother to Tuku’s daughters Selmor and Sandra, and she was at the funeral wake on Thursday in the company of her churchmates.
She said she was devastated with the death of her beloved husband. She recalled with nostalgia how they would meet each time Tuku visited a commercial bank where she worked.
She also recalled the good times they shared each time she met with the musical icon and national hero at family functions such as lobola ceremonies.
“I am the first lady and that does not change. I loved Tuku and I know he loved me back and he died loving me and there is a Shona proverb ‘pane vana haparambanwe’.
Each time he spoke to the children, Selmor or Sandra, he would ask about me and he would tell them I dumped him. I told him ‘I love you but you know the reason why I left,’” she said ruefully.
“I worked at … bank and Tuku was a client there and each time he visited we would meet and greet,” she said.
She said even after their separation, there were suggestions that she had another child to prove that she had moved on.
She said her third pregnancy with another man, after the music superstar had moved on with Daisy, was a bitter pill for him to swallow.
“When I got pregnant about 10 years later, Tuku was angry. I remember we met while sending Selmor to school and he was like ‘Selmor, mhama vako inhumbuka iyo (Your mother is pregnant)?’ He was pained. That showed he loved me. I did that to prove that I had moved on and to stop some stories,” she said.
Recalling the courtship days, she said: “It was not easy for Tuku to be accepted by my father. Musicians back then were looked down upon but we sailed through and we had a big wedding at Gwanzura Stadium. Everything was fine until the time she (Daisy) came.”
She said she opted out of the marriage.
“I could not accept to be in a polygamous marriage and I walked away. He tried locking the doors at our Eastlea home but that did not work. He knew the reason I left.
“I will never forgive Daisy for that and may be one day God will intervene, I don’t want to lie that I have forgiven her, I have not. I gave birth to Selmor when she had come, I tried to hold on thinking she would let go of my husband but she could not and I decided to leave,” she said.
Melody said some people tried to separate her daughters from their father but the plan failed.
“Some people tried to sow seeds of division and a lot of things were said. However, Tuku realised that it was trivial and the relations were mended and from there they would meet,” she said.
She said she will be at the burial of the late musician together with her daughters.
“I’m not here to cause any animosity, I’m here for Tuku’s funeral and I will be at his burial with my children,” she said.