A father, teacher, entrepreneur, amazing songwriter, actor, film director and musician whose deep gutsy voice was bound to heal a wounded soul are just but a few of the numerous talents that have the World celebrating the life of the great Jazz artiste Oliver Mtukudzi also famous as Tuku.
Curtains closed down on Oliver, the Great Son of Africa, on 23rd January 2018 at the age of 66 leaving behind a great legacy and inspiring music he created for decades. Oliver died at the Avenues Clinic in Harare after a long battle with diabetes.
Oliver who owned a recording house was also a family man, married to Daisy with whom they had five children and later two grandchildren. Two of Mtukudzi’s children are musicians’ though his son Sam Mtukudzi, a successful musician in his own right, died in a car accident in March 2010. Mtukudzi released an album titled “Sarawoga”, in tribute to his son in 2013.
Oliver’s song Todii was a national anthem not just in Kenya’s then few radio stations but internationally with only a few understanding the song’s lyrics that were meant to create awareness on the then AIDS epidemic in Africa.
Oliver was a human rights activist and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for the Southern Africa Region and Todii became his most famous song. Todii, sang in Shona and English language described how the AIDs epidemic had shattered the social fabric of relationships urging his audience to formulate a collective response to fight the disease.
Oliver’s goal in music was to always have a message as he released hit after hit even in his old age at a time when African music was beginning to take a more Westernized approach. Oliver’s music remained original with his soothing instrumental skills never missing.
Oliver’s demise comes exactly one year since the World mourned Jazz legend Bra Hugh Masekela who was his close friend and confidant. Masekela died on 23rd January 2018 and it is a sad coincidence that his friend, Oliver had to die on the same day, a year later.
The World has come out in large numbers to mourn Oliver Mtukudzi and console with the people of Zimbabwe for their loss as his Jazz music fans continue to stream social media with condolence messages.
Kenyans have not missed to point out the concerns raised on the #playkenyanmusic as they called upon Kenyan artists to win their hearts through their music and not seek their pity into listening to their music.
Rest in eternal peace Legend. God bless your soul, Oliver. To our Kenyan artists whining in the #playkenyanmusic campaign, let your content in our hearts rather than seeking empathy. We loved Todii because it appealed to us and not that someone begged us to love it.
Tributes from around the world
Today we said goodbye to a true patriot. Oliver Mtukudzi, your voice has given us comfort during difficult times, and will remain with us for posterity. Rest in peace comrade. pic.twitter.com/XZkyVbQ4Qq
— President of Zimbabwe (@edmnangagwa) January 23, 2019
We were privalidged to share the stage with the great Tuku & have the honor of meeting him in person. He was a giant of a musician & so humble at the same time. We pray the legacy of this great musician lives on forever. Our prayers go out to the family of Oliver Mtukudzi #RIP pic.twitter.com/3zqzGLU9dm
— MORGAN HERITAGE (@morganheritage) January 23, 2019
My sincerest and most heartfelt condolences to the friends, fans and families of Oliver Mtukudzi. At the very least your light shines on with all the incredible music you made and the people you touched along the way. The world lost one of the greatest! #RIPTuku #RIPMtukudzi pic.twitter.com/PVZnSsugvx
— Chris Kirubi (@CKirubi) January 24, 2019
Your question rendered in lyrics, What Shall We Do? May still have no answer. But be assured Africa and the world are struggling with it even as we accept the finality of your death. We will miss your enthralling performances and salute you. Rest in peace Oliver Mtudukuzi.
— Raila Odinga (@RailaOdinga) January 23, 2019
I am deeply saddened by the passing of the legend, Oliver Mtukudzi. His music has carried us through some of our darkest and happiest times, it has also united us across borders. I would like to extend my sincere condolences to his family and friends. Zorora murugare, dear Tuku. pic.twitter.com/gc4pwRQLzB
— Jacob G Zuma (@PresJGZuma) January 24, 2019
Deeply saddened to learn of the passing of music legend & human rights activist Oliver Mtukudzi. He is immortalized through the contribution he made to the arts, with talent that fired up all of Africa. Deepest condolences to his loved ones. From his No. 1 fan in the whole world. pic.twitter.com/SKuhCAVNvU
— President Cyril Ramaphosa (@CyrilRamaphosa) January 24, 2019