REST IN PEACE: Oliver Mtukudzi, 66. Photo: BONGANI SHILULBANE/INLSA

Tributes have been pouring in for Zimbabwean Afro-jazz icon, Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi.

The 66-year-old musician, the country’s most renowned and internationally recognised cultural artist, died in Harare on Wednesday.

Ironically, the day marked the first anniversary of SA jazz legend Hugh “Bra Hugh” Masekela’s passing.

Bra Hugh died in a Johannesburg hospital on 23 January 2018 after a lengthy battle with prostate cancer.

With a career spanning more than four decades, Tuku began performing in 1977 when he joined the Wagon Wheels. Their single, Dzandimomotera, went gold.

After releasing his first solo album, Ndipeiwo Zano in 1978, Tuku’s husky vocals made him one of the most recognised voices to emerge from Zimbabwe.

With 59 albums and 17 awards -including two SAMAs - Tuku also received four honorary doctorates.

In 2011, he served as Zim’s first Unicef Goodwill Ambassador.

South African Minister of Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, paid tribute in a tweet: “A giant of African music has fallen with the passing of legendary Musician, the one & only, Oliver Mtukudzi.

“From the depths of Harare, his career blossomed like the flame lily flower & his artistic genius brought us together in good times & gave us hope during our darkest hour.” (sic)

Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa tweeted: “Today we said goodbye to a true patriot. Oliver Mtukudzi, your voice has given us comfort during difficult times, and will remain with us for posterity. Rest in peace comrade.