Mtukudzi, Zimbabwe Music Legend, Hailed As "Freedom Fighter" By Uganda's Bobi Wine

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Mtukudzi Afro-Rocking the guitar. Photo: Wilfred Paulse--Flickr
 
Oliver Mtukudzi who has died at the age of 66 has been hailed as an inspiring "freedom fighter" by Bobi Wine, Uganda's leading young political figure and musician.
 
Details on the cause of death have not yet been reported but a statement is expected from the family soon.
 
"Oliver Mtukudzi is definitely one of the greatest artistes to ever emerge out of the African continent," Bobi Wine said, reacting to Mtukudzi's death. "He entertained us, educated us, and inspired us. As they say, legends do not die. Oliver will always live with us. May his candle burn forever."
 
Clive Mukundu, a music producer who worked with Mtukudzi told CNN: "He has rested. He had been in and out of the hospital since last year when he developed a heart problem." Spokesperson Caroline Morabe also told CNN: "I can confirm that Oliver Mtukudzi has passed on. The family will release an official statement with more details later today."
 
"Tuku" as the legend was known to fans had a global following and performed frequently in the U.S., Canada and Europe. "He was no ordinary artiste," Bobi Wine added. "He was a freedom fighter except that he did not hold guns but his guitar and the microphone. A giant in the family of music, culture and the arts."
 
Mtukudzi's music addressed social issues and he also denounced the stigmatization of AIDS survivors in his music. He opposed antiquated traditions. "Neria," for example, a lamentation, was critical of the custom that prevented a widow from inheriting a husband's property driving a woman into poverty. 
 
His critique was customarily subtle, so when he dropped “Wasakara," a song about about accepting that one has aged, it caught the regime's attention in Zimbabwe, as it was seen as being critical of President Robert Mugabe. Mugabe was eased out of power years later, in November 2017, at the age of 93. 
 
Mtukudzi had long been an icon for Zimbabweans, even before liberation, when he was critical of the odious apartheid regime of Ian Smith in what was then Rhodesia. 
 
Bobi Wine himself can certainly relate to the pressures Mtukudzi, faced. He himself almost paid with his life for his in Uganda, for his conscious lyrics, which speaks truth to power, more openly. He was already known for calling for freedom and an end to tyranny in uganda through his music. Then in the last two years, he had a meteoric rise on the Ugandan political scene and in Africa. He became widely known globally, thanks to Ugandan dictator Gen. Yoweri Museveni's brutality. 
 
After he was elected to Parliament in 2017, he campaigned for two candidates who defeated Museveni's candidates in by-elections. He and other lawmakers were campaigning for a third candidate in the city of Arua --who won-- when the panicky Gen. Museveni unleashed terror by his armed forces, viciously beating and torturing Bobi Wine, other lawmakers, and their supporters. 
 
Universal condemnation and threats of sanctions followed, including from lawmakers in Britain and the United States, the two countries that have sustained the Museveni dictatorship for 32 years. 
 
 

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