Oliver Mtukudzi, also known as ‘Tuku’, was born on 22 September, 1952 in Highfield, Zimbabwe
. He was the first born in a family of seven siblings. Mtukudzi was from a musical family, as both his parents were singers. This meant he grew up in a musical environment where he started to develop the love of music. He had to grow up at an early age because of the passing of his father.
In 1975, Mtukudzi released his first album ‘Stop after Orange’ at the age of 23. Two years later, he collaborated with one of the Zimbabwean top musician Thomas Mapfumo at the famous group called Wagon Wheels. In addition, Mtukudzi celebrated Zimbabwe’s independence by singing the country’s new national anthem ‘Ishe komborera Africa’ (God bless Africa) with a touch of reggae. In 2001, he released a song called ‘Bvuma’ in Shona language, meaning ‘accept that you are old’. The song was dedicated to the then Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe
, urging him to retire.
Mtukudzi released more than sixty albums. In 2013, he released an album titled ‘Sarawoga’, in memory of his beloved son who died in a car accident in 2010.The album was released as a therapy to mourn the passing of his son. The fondly named father of Zimbabwe did not only lose his son, but also his brother and several band members to HIV/Aids. He then started campaigns to stop the HIV/Aids stigma in Tanzania
. Mtukudzi was outspoken about the disease. He also criticised polygamy as a practice that increases the risk of spreading HIV/Aids.
Mtukudzi was widely known for his contribution to the history of Zimbabwean music. One of Mtukudzi’s hit songs, entitled ‘Neria’, was a song about the woman who was in poverty after the death of her husband as the customary law denied her to inherit his property. On 23 January 2019, Oliver Mtukudzi died of an undisclosed illness at Avenues clinic in Harare, Zimbambwe. He left behind his family, children and the loved ones.