Selmor keeps Mtukudzi’s UNICEF legacy alive

SELMOR Mtukudzi grew with the shadow of her towering father’s work with UNICEF casting over everything she did.

Writer: Kholwani Nyathi Adapted for UNICEF: John Mokwetsi
selmor Mtukudzi
UNICEFZimbabwe/2022/Dorothy Meck
28 June 2022

SELMOR Mtukudzi grew with the shadow of her towering father’s work with UNICEF casting over everything she did.  Today, working with the same organization, she is raising her voice as a role model for girls, to speak against child marriage.

Selmor, the daughter of Oliver, who was popularly known by the moniker Tuku, told The Standard Newspaper in an exclusive interview that her father’s work as the UNICEF regional goodwill ambassador for Eastern and Southern Africa from June 2011 until his death in 2019 inspired her.

Mtukudzi’s work with UNICEF focused on young people’s development and HIV and Aids prevention, roles that have now been taken up by her daughter.

“I remember being happy and proud to see my dad working with such a wonderful organisation, but I wasn’t too surprised as I already knew that he had written music that spoke about some of the issues that UNICEF deals with,” she said.

Selmor, a versatile contemporary musician and actress, is one of the late Oliver Mtukudzi’s most prominent children and an outstanding singer on Zimbabwe’s music scene.

She believes influencers like her must use their talents to inspire communities and help address problems, such as the HIV/Aids scourge and other problems facing young people.

“It’s important to speak up about issues facing our communities,” I believe that being icons in society comes with a responsibility to it to make sure that a safer and more conducive environment is created for the benefit of its inhabitants, especially the vulnerable members such as children and young women.

“I saw my dad using his voice to spread the message of love and respect and I learnt a lot from that.”


UNICEFZimbabwe/2022/Dorothy Meck

Selmor is not only taking her iconic father’s rich legacy alive by producing quality music but is also taking a keen interest in causes that were close to his heart.

One of the biggest UNICEF campaigns she is involved in is an effort to gather 2000 signatures for a petition against ending violence against children and child marriage in Zimbabwe. The campaign has so far gained 350 signatures.
Selmor encouraged people to join in signing the pledge which can be accessed here: The process of signing does not take more than a minute.

“The petition is for everyone to join in and sign,” she added.

“It is of utmost importance that we get young people involved in these discussions because they are our future.

“If we get them understanding what they can do to help not only protect themselves but also be aware of their potential then we would have done well in changing what our near future will look like in terms of the goals that we have set to stop child marriages and empower women.”

She added: “We want everybody doing their part in ensuring that the girl child is safe and she is given opportunities to reach her full potential.

UNICEFZimbabwe/2022/Dorothy Meck

“So by signing a pledge people are consciously making that decision and taking responsibility for not only themselves, their own children but also all other girls and women in their societies.”

Selmor has also been on the ground meeting young people to understand how they deal with issues such as child marriages and the experience is driving her to do more.

“I was on a field visit with UNICEF and Youth Advocate Zimbabwe last week in Chitungwiza I met with adolescents and young people – girls and boys – to discuss the issue of child marriage and the impact it has on the lives of many girls,” she said.

“I was inspired to hear the young people express their aspirations and dreams for their future and how they felt girls should be given the same chances in life as boys, and be protected against child marriage; it was inspiring for me to hear their messages, and it reminded me that while we try to make changes in our society for the better for girls, we need to consult girls and boys and listen to what they have to say to us, and involve them in the work we do and the campaigns we develop.

“I believe as musicians and public figures we are blessed with a voice that reaches further than some organisations can.

“We enjoy a certain amount of influence over people that we can take advantage of in order to achieve our goals.

“I hope that for as long as people still listen to my music, still follow me on social media, I will use that “power” to spread the message of a better tomorrow for our country and even the world at large through the empowerment of women.”