Zimbabwe’s most successful Afro-jazz music legend Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi, passed away on Wednesday at the age of 66 in a Harare hospital.
Mtukudzii grew up in Highfield, a ghetto neighbourhood in the Zimbabwean capital of Harare and began performing in 1977 when he joined the Wagon Wheels, a band that also featured Thomas Mapfumo and fellow legendary guitarist James Chimombe. Their single Dzandimomotera was a hit and Tuku’s first album which was also major hit followed. “Tuku”‘s husky voice became the most recognized voice to emerge from Zimbabwe and onto the international scene with a devoted following across Africa and beyond. He had well over 60 albums to his credit in a career that spanned about 45 years.

Mtukudzis music was a mixture of ethnic styles dubbed Tuku music with lyrics delivered through rasping vocals known for conveying social messages about HIV/AIDS, alcohol abuse and encouraging self-respect

He was celebrated for his philanthropy and defence of human rights, appointed Zimbabwe’s first UNICEF’s Goodwill Ambassador for Eastern and Southern Africa. He was rated by Forbes magazine as one of Africas 10 most bankable artists with experts ranking him alongside other African legends like Salif Keita and Youssou NDour for his innovation and influence. He was also honoured by the Government of Italy with the prestigious Cavaliere of the Order of Merit          In March 2003 Mtukudzi made it to the cover of Time magazine with the title The Peoples Voice, a story about how the country’s musicians were singing for change.
He won several national and international music awards and recognition for his numerous works
Mtukudzi had five children and two grandchildren.