WINDHOEK, JAN 23 – January 23 is a day that will forever conjure sorrow among music lovers in Southern Africa, Africa; undoubtedly the entire world. Exactly a year ago, the world mourned as “the father of South African jazz” Hugh Masekela left this world to meet his maker. Today, the region mourns yet again as Zimbabwe’s most renowned and internationally recognised cultural icon of all time, Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi has passed on. He was 66.
Tuku as he was affectionately known by his legions of fans, was a liege in Afro Jazz, the architect of what is now known as “Tuku Music.” And while he played the guitar, his voice was the catalyst that had armies of revelers gyrating at concerts, celebrations and weddings across the entire globe.
The recorder of more than 60 albums, his name emblazoned on countless awards, Tuku’s illustrious career spanned from white minority-ruled Rhodesia through to majority-ruled Zimbabwe.
His star was fueled by a streak of hits that catapulted him out of Africa, into countries such as the United States of America, Canada, thereby thrusting him to the fore of internationally recognised Zimbabwean artists.
Zimbabwe’s state-run Herald newspaper earlier reported that Mtukudzi “succumbed to a long battle with diabetes.”
It remains a sad day for the entire world as a musician and entertainer of epic proportions; a father; grandfather; philanthropist; human rights activist; and UNICEF Ambassador for the Southern African region ( among a host of other titles) has made the grand exit that awaits us all.
Long live Tuku!