Oliver Mtukudzi Biography | Profile, Age, Children, Wives, Career, Discography
Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi was a Zimbabwean musician, businessman, philanthropist, human rights activist, and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for the Southern Africa Region. Born on September 22, 1952, in Highfield, Harare, Zimbabwe, he was the son of Samson and Jesca Mtukudzi.
Age and Family
Tuku lived from September 22, 1952 until January 23, 2019, passing away at the age of 66. He left behind three children: Sam, Selmor, and Sandra Mtukudzi.
Oliver Mtukudzi’s first marriage was to Melody Murape in 1979 at Gwanzura Stadium in Highfields. The wedding had 48 bridesmaids and the receptions were held on February 24 and 25. A big party was held at Melody’s sister’s house in Highfield. Melody’s father gave the couple a Renault 4 as a present, which overwhelmed Tuku to tears. Many bands played at the wedding including Zexie Manatsa and Manu Kambani. Melody composed a song called “Vana varimunzara” and sang it at the party. Melody and Tuku had two daughters together: Sandra and Selmor. However, they later divorced after rumors of Tuku’s relationship with Daisy were confirmed.
Oliver Mtukudzi’s second wife was Daisy Mtukudzi, whom he met while still married to Melody. Daisy denied any knowledge of his first wife and thought he was single when they met in Kwekwe. She had a lovely wedding with Tuku and had three children with him: Samantha, the late Sam, and Faith Kadzura (from her previous relationship). The couple separated for a year after Daisy wanted to shoot Tuku when he denied paternity of an alleged secret son named Selby with another partner. They later reconciled after family members assured Tuku that Daisy had calmed down and was ready to talk. The couple stayed together until Oliver’s passing.
Oliver Mtukudzi and the Black Spirits
Mtukudzi grew up in Highfield, a poor neighborhood in Salisbury (modern-day Harare) in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). He began his music career in 1977 when he joined the Wagon Wheels, a band that also featured Thomas Mapfumo and fellow guitarist James Chimombe. They were given a rare opportunity by Paul Tangi Mhova Mkondo, an African nationalist and music promoter who provided money and resources to the group. They performed at Club Mutanga (Pungwe), the only nightclub available for blacks under Rhodesia’s policy of segregation. Their single “Dzandimomotera” went gold and Mtukudzi’s first album followed, which was also a major success. Mtukudzi also contributed to Mahube, Southern Africa’s “supergroup.”
With his husky voice, Mtukudzi became the most recognized voice to emerge from Zimbabwe onto the international scene. He earned a devoted following across Africa and beyond as a Zimbabwe’s KoreKore group member. He sang in the nation’s dominant Shona language, Ndebele, and English. Mtukudzi incorporated elements of different musical traditions into his music, giving it a distinctive style known to fans as Tuku Music.
Mtukudzi had numerous tours around the world performing for large audiences in the UK, US, and Canada. In 2017 he entertained guests at the wedding of Zimbabwean businessman Wicknell Chivayo.
Prior to Zimbabwean independence, Mtukudzi’s music depicted the struggles under Rhodesian white minority rule. In subsequent years following independence his music advocated for tolerance and peace.
Personal Life and Death of Oliver Mtukudzi
Oliver Mtukudzi, also known as “Tuku,” was married twice in his lifetime. His first wife was Melody Murape, whom he married in 1979 and divorced in 1993. His second wife was Daisy Mtukudzi.
Mtukudzi had five children, including musicians Sam, Selmor, and Sandra Mtukudzi. Tragically, his son Sam passed away in a car accident in March 2010. In 2013, Mtukudzi released an album titled “Sarawoga” as a tribute to his late son.
On January 23, 2019, Mtukudzi passed away at age 66 at Avenues Clinic in Harare, Zimbabwe. He had been battling diabetes mellitus for a long time.
- Melody Murape Biography | Profile, Marriage to Oliver Mtukudzi, Divorce, Polygamy
- Daisy Mtukudzi Biography | Profile, Age, Marriage, Inheritance, Career, Robbery
- Selmor Mtukudzi Biography: Zimbabwean Actress, Composer, and Musician