Pakare Paye Arts Centre is one of the many noble initiatives by Zimbabwe's iconic musician Oliver Mtukudzi who is known world-Wide for his unique Tuku Music genre. The centre was opened in 2004 and it is located in the small and serene town of Norton about 45 kilometres from the capital city along the Harare- Bulawayo highway. Since its establishment, it has come to be synonymous with arts development, nurturing of talent and career development.
On Sunday October 3, 2004 during the official opening of the centre; aspiring musicians, poets and drama clubs thronged the Pakare Paye Art Centre in Norton to showcase their talents to Zimbabwe's famous guitarist, singer and songwriter Oliver Mtukudzi. The talented artist said the Centre caters for talent scouting, grooming and in helping the young people get organised as business people and equip them with all the tricks needed for one to survive in the music industry. Mtukudzi expressed joy at the vast amount of raw talent that was presented at the Centre on October 3. These activities in fact highlighted the main purpose behind the idea of opening an arts centre; to promote and nurture young talent.
During the launch of the centre, the music legend Tuku took time to encourage and motivate the young artists about the ups and downs of the music industry in general and the arts industry in particular. Mtukudzi called on the school going artists to do their homework first before going to the arts centre because “education was very important.” He said without English and Maths artist's where likely to be cheated and exploited in their careers. Mtukudzi said he had been exploited for over 20 years in his career because he had signed a contract that he had not fully understood.
Also present at the Arts Centre was jazz artist Bob Nyabinde who commended Mtukudzi for the initiative. He said; "Mtukudzi has paved the way for many people to get a start into the arts". The jazz artist said what could have taken an artist two years to learn, could now take two days, due to the professional guidance that will be available.
Pakare Paye Art Centre is located at No. 238 Galloway Road in Norton. The premises were previously used as a garage warehouse but have were cleared and cleaned. Mtukudzi said there was a lot that needed to be done and Tuku Music (Pvt Ltd) could not do this on it's own. Mtukudzi appealed to well-wishers to cheap in and assist since the centre was not Tuku's private property but for the community.
The centre is not an out of the world architectural feat but it has the most important features needed for the business. The main features include Sam Mtukudzi Conference Centre named after his only son Sam (who passed away in 2011). It also comprises of restaurants, lodges, offices, as well as an open-air stage.
The open air stage where other well-known artists like Alick Macheso, the late Tongai Moyo, Kapfupi and Fungisai Zvakavapano, as well as international artists of the likes of Ringo Madlingozi have performed, takes in 3 000 people. The main hall for performances has 200 seats.
By 2011, the arts centre had enrolled more than 25 students drawn, by and large from the small town of Norton which is Tuku's home town. Most of the buildings such as classrooms had also been completed and some more blocks to be used as theatres were still under construction. As part of the developmental agenda, Tuku appointed a board of directors to run the centre. At its establishment, the board included his son Sam Mtukudzi. In 2010, a new board was appointed and members included his wife Daisy Mtukudzi, son Sam as well as Memory Shamuyarira, Steve Chibune, Watson Chidzomba, Wonder Mukonowenzou, Francis Mwendamberi and journalist Shepherd Mutamba.
Some Major Events
Some of the major events held at the arts centre include the Pakare Paye Annual Solo Festival. The festival was held on 27 September 2014 and a considerable number of artists participated. Running under the theme ‘NdegaZvangu’, the 2014 festival was also meant to celebrate Tuku‘s birthday and the 10th anniversary of Pakare Paye Arts Centre. As part of its development, the arts centre was also said to be in the processes of building lodges in order to cater for international events which would require accommodation for the guests.
The colourful wedding of Sharon Macheso (Alick Macheso's daughter) was also held at the centre in August 2014. The wedding saw a number of Zimbabwean musicians, artists and socialites converging under the same roof to celebrate the wedding. In May 2014, there was also the Managers training course which was held. It was held in partnership with various international organisations such as the European Union, Culture Fund and African Arts Institute. Fourteen different arts managers were awarded with certificates.