HARARE-(MaraviPost)-Oliver Mtukudzi, one of Zimbabwe’s most renowned musicians, has died aged 66 after a four-decade career.
He came to prominence in the 1970s as one of voices of the revolution fighting white-minority rule.
His lyrics often carried social messages about HIV/Aids and coded political commentary.
His 2001 song Wasakara, meaning “You Are Too Old”, was banned as it was seen as a reference to leader Robert Mugabe, who was ousted 16 years later aged 93.
The singer and guitarist mixed several different styles to create his own distinctive Afro-jazz sound, known to his fans as “Tuku Music”.
According to various local media reports, the self-taught guitarist passed away at a hospital in Harare, succumbing to diabetes complications.
A legend in the vibrant cross-genre music of Afro-jazz, Mtukudzi released 66 albums in a career that spanned 45 years.
He was rated by Forbes magazine as one of Africa’s 10 most bankable artists and some experts ranked him alongside Senegal’s Salif Keita and Youssou N’Dour for his innovation and influence.
His lyrics, delivered through rasping vocals, often carried social messages about HIV/AIDS and alcohol abuse and encouraging self-respect, sometimes invoking proverbs and wisdom from his mother tongue, Shona.
“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,” President Emmerson Mnangagwa wrote on Twitter.