Blow to the music industry as Afro-pop legend Oliver Mtukudzi dies.
Veteran Zimbabwean singer Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi passed on at the age of 66 at a hospital in Harare, Zimbabwe from diabetes. The world-renowned singer died on the 1st year anniversary of his fellow musician and friend from South Africa Hugh Masekela. Tuku was popular for songs such as ‘Todii’ ‘Chiri Nani’ and ‘Neria’.
According to Times Live, Tuku “failed to attend the ZBC Coca-Cola winners’ prizegiving ceremony held at a hotel in Harare due to ill health on Tuesday”. He received an honorary award at the event in absentia.
During his long career, Tuku managed to perform in various African countries, North America as well as Europe. In 2015, he was the headliner for the 7th edition of the Koroga Festival held at the Arboretum grounds, Nairobi.
With that said, here are the 7 things you did not know about Afro Jazz Legend Oliver Mtukudzi.
1. He was a natural talent.
Born into a musical family in 1952, his foot-stomping music has been described as a mixture of Zimbabwean pop style “jit” and South African township pop.
2. Oliver’s sound was a conduit for change before and after Independence.
Through his distinct sound and inspiring lyrics, he documented the joy and pain of his countrymen who fought for freedom under colonial rule and died for democracy after Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980.
3. Mtukudzi came from poverty.
grew up in Highfield, a ghetto neighborhood in the Zimbabwean capital of Harare. When describing his music he often said: ” every song has something to do with that man in the street, he must be able to use it in his life.”
4. The musician had more than 60 albums under his belt.
Tuku has released an album in 2013 titled “Sarawoga, a tribute to his beloved son Sam, who died in a car crash in 2010 at age 21. The pair often performed together and he described the album as “therapy” to help him get over the death.
5. Often called the spiritual father of Zimbabwe.
Mtukudzi, who lost his brother Robert and several band members to AIDS, campaigned to eradicate the HIV/AIDS stigma to mothers in Tanzania.
6. Oliver did not shy away from using his voice to confront national leaders.
His 2001 song Wasakara, meaning “You Are Too Old”, was banned as it was seen as a reference to leader Robert Mugabe, who was ousted 16 years later aged 93.
7. Mtukudzi was more than a musician.
He wore many hats, he was a singer-songwriter, actor, writer, film director, entrepreneur, and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Children.