Zimbabwe: Tuku Leaves Void At SA Jazz Festival

Photo: 263Chat
Tuku laid to rest.
26 January 2019

The late international music icon, Oliver Mtukudzi was set to headline Cape Town International Jazz Festival, a two-day concert where international, regional and local jazz artistes are set to perform. The event will happen over the weekend of March 29-30, 2019.

The event will now be a memorial event for "Tuku".

The musician died on Wednesday at Avenues Clinic in Harare after a long battle with diabetes. He has been declared a national hero.

In Cape Town, he would have shared the stage with South African musician Vusi Mahlasela. The two of Africa's greatest talents were set to take to the Jazz Festival stage together but Mahlasela will have to go solo now that the legend is gone.

Affectionately known as "Tuku", the legend who had over 60 albums to his name was not just a singer-songwriter but also an activist, Unicef goodwill ambassador for the Southern African.

Referred to as Africa's Grandest Gathering, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival has over 40 international and local jazz artistes minus Tuku set to perform, which is one of the largest music events in sub-Saharan Africa.

With his passing on, the festival organisers say they will honour the late icon and no one will go on his scheduled slot and will instead dedicate it in his memory.

"No one will go on (in his) slot, we will dedicate it in his memory. This is such sad news. He has such a special slot in the music of this country, he is irreplaceable. We are devastated to learn of the untimely passing on of the renowned Zimbabwean.

"He was an incredible musician and will not only be missed by me, but by lots and lots of people. We have wanted to do something with him for years and it has taken so long," ESP Afrika chief operating officer Billy Domingo said.

Tuku died on the same day as his great friend, Hugh Masekela, who died a year ago with Billy Domingo recalling how the two were a dynamic duo to ever emerge from Africa wowing crowds at the festival in the past.

"His death comes on the first anniversary of the death of his great friend and fellow musical icon, Hugh. Oliver also performed at the festival's Hugh Masekela tribute concert following his death in 2018.

"Oliver was a hugely popular performer on the CTIJF stage, and enjoyed sold-out performances in the 2002 and 2008, besides featuring in many other performances at the festival over the years.

"The jazz world has lost another masterful and magical musician in Oliver, and we will all be the poorer for that," said Domingo.

"He was billed to perform this year in a collaboration with South African musician and songwriter Vusi Mahlasela, as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Africa's Grandest Gathering.

"We are deeply saddened by this news. His performance with Vusi would have been one of the highlights of this year's festival, and his absence on our stage will be sorely felt.

"We send our heartfelt condolences to Oliver's family and friends, and mourn his passing together with his thousands of global fans across the world."

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