Oliver Mtukudzi – Singer and guitarist who was the heartbeat of Zimbabwean music

On the 23 January, Oliver Mtukudzi, the great Zimbabwean musician whose brand of popular music became the quintessential sound of his country died in Harare. His death was mourned with tributes from all over the world. Zimbabwean paper, Newsday reported his death as being the result of heart failure, and coming exactly one year following the death of South African jazz great, Hugh Masekela. His passing sparked tributes from all across the world, with fans sharing his music and celebrating his legacy.

There were also tributes from  leading public figures including Zimbabwean president, Emerson Mwangagwa marking his loss. Mwangagwa tweeted in response to the news saying “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.

The director of Zimbabwe’s National Arts Council, in a statement reported in Newsday said  “As a nation, we are mourning the passing on of a great legend. And we feel that a dark cloud has fallen upon the cultural and creative industry. To us, and many others, he was larger than life. His music cuts across generations. I started listening to his music when I was young and still today his music has been appealing to me. He did a lot in the development of young musicians… We are poorer without Oliver,” he said.

Oliver Mtukudzi was born on September 23 1952.


Posts marked Jebujene are by the editorial team of Jebujene, a magazine from The Black Atlantic, focused on Creative Economy, Historical Memory and Popular Culture.