The International Institute of Philanthropy (IIP) will tomorrow, July 4, 2014, confer an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Human Letters (DHL) to Zimbabwe’s most internationally renowned musical ambassador, Oliver Mtukudzi.
This will be Mtukudzi’s third honorary degree. In 2003 he was conferred with an Honorary Arts degree from the University of Zimbabwe, recognising decades of dedication to his craft, creating music and inspiring a generation of new Zimbabwean artists to use local influences in their work.
Women’s University in Africa awarded him a M.Sc. Fine Arts Degree in 2009, citing him as ‘arguably the most powerful creative force to emerge from Zimbabwe in the last three decades.’
The letter from IIP announcing the conferrence of the degree states: “The International Institute of Philosophy, though its Zimbabwe Office and in consultation with the Philanthropy Institute of Zimbabwe, incorporating the African Institute of Philanthropy (AIP) and the Women’s Institute of Philanthropy (WIP), is humbled and honoured to advise that you Mr Oliver Mtukudzi will, should you accept this highly esteemed Honorary Doctorate Degree of Humane Letters, be officially addressed as Dr. Oliver Mtukudzi, Doctor of Humane Letters, DHL.”
Explaining the decision to confer the degree, Dr Enrico Sibanda of the Philanthropy Institute of Zimbabwe said that it was an honour long overdue. “Look at what he has done for Zimbabwe. He is respected locally, regionally and internationally. He has mentored many musicians and has gone through so much to be where he is today. People should stop calling this man ‘Oliver’. It’s high time he was called Dr. Mtukudzi.”
Mtukudzi, who is also a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, spends more and more of his time reaching out to the communities around him, particularly school children, said he was humbled by the honour. In an email to the institute he wrote, “Ndinofara zvachose kuwana vanhu vakaita semi vanoona mashandiro atinenge tichiita, zvinotipa manyemwe ekuenderera mberi nekusimudza mureza we Zimbabwe (It makes me very happy that there are people such as yourselves who see the work we do as it encourages us to keep on lifting the Zimbabwean flag).”
In recent times Mtukudzi has helped raise awareness for the diabetes problem in Zimbabwe, has visited schools to work with musical children and through his Pakare Paye Arts Centre continues to encourage, coach and inspire many young musicians.