Zimbabwean music icon Oliver Mtukudzi has died

Oliver Mtukudzi during his performance at Kigali Jazz Junction late last year. / Courtesy

Legendary Zimbabwean jazz musician Oliver Mtukudzi is dead. “Tuku”, as he is fondly called, passed away Wednesday afternoon in Harare, after battling illness for the past month.

Fans of the musician from all over the world took to social media to eulogize a man whose inspirational and educative “Tuku” music was universally loved, by young and old alike.

Mtukudzi’s death falls on the same date as that of his great friend and musical icon, the South African jazz musician Hugh Masekela, who passed away on January 23, 2018.

At 66 years of age, Mtukudzi had 66 music albums to his name, and had performed at venues in all continents of the world.

Away from music, he also dabbled into philanthropy, human rights activism, and business. He was a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for the Southern Africa region. At the time of his death, he was considered Zimbabwe’s most renowned and internationally recognized cultural icon of all time.

Mtukudzi performed in Kigali on October 26, last year, at the monthly Kigali Jazz Junction. To date, his performance is considered among the most memorable in the history of the jazz junction.

Some of his most popular songs include Todi, Neria, Wasakara, Ndakuvara, and Hear Me Lord.