PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday said he learnt with deep shock and great sadness of the death of international music icon Dr Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi, describing him as an expression of Zimbabwean identity and the country’s cultural ambassador.
The legendary musician died at the Avenues Clinic in Harare yesterday after a long battle with diabetes.
In a statement last night, President Mnangagwa said: “It was with deep sense of shock and great sadness that I learnt of the death of our own legendary musician and artiste, Dr Oliver Mtukudzi, who died at the Avenues Clinic, Harare, this afternoon.”
President Mnangagwa said Dr Mtukudzi raised Zimbabwe’s flag high wherever he performed.
“An international icon, the late Dr Mtukudzi has been our cultural ambassador throughout his illustrious musical career raising our national flag high wherever he went to perform here at home, on the African continent, and throughout the world,” he said.
The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces said Dr Mtukudzi was an expression of Zimbabwean identity.
“He was an expression of Zimbabwean identity, a man of humble character, very affable and engaging in his own unique way through Tuku Music,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said Zimbabwe was poorer with his death.
“The whole nation is all the poorer with his passing on. On behalf of Government, the party Zanu-PF, my family and indeed on my own behalf, I wish to extend our sincere condolences to the Mtukudzi family, especially his wife, Daisy and children during this dark hour of grief. May they derive comfort from the knowledge that the arts world in particular and our Nation as a whole, share their deep pain and great loss. May his dear soul rest in eternal peace,” said President Mnangagwa.
Meanwhile, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa also consoled the Mtukudzi family in a statement.
“Government conveys its heartfelt and sincere condolences to the Mtukudzi family over the passing on of Zimbabwe and international music icon, Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi. This is not only a loss to the Mtukudzi family, but a loss to our country, the whole of Africa and humanity at large.
“Through his music Tuku touched millions of hearts around the globe,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa said Dr Mtukudzi sang love, social justice, social trials and tribulations of human existence.
“Tuku Music is a global symbol of Zimbabwean art and culture. He ably represented Zimbabwe on the regional, continental and international stage, providing education through his music that was rich in social commentary and entertaining at the same time.
“Music never dies, and the rich legacy he has left with us is here to stay for generations. Tuku was a faithful ambassador for our country and through his music he managed to bring people together and in his death we are united in mourning,” she said.
Dr Mtukudzi was 66-years-old.