The Birchwood family were saddened to hear about the passing of iconic Jazz star and friend, Oliver Mtukudzi (Tuku) In January. Since the inception of the Birchwood Comes Alive Jazz Evening 17 years

ago, Oliver has been an integral part of its success with his many memorable performances. His support and involvement in our Jazz evenings has been invaluable to its growth over the years.

Together with Idols 2015 runner-up Mmatema Moremi, Jazz sensation Ringo Madlingozi, local groups The Levites

and Jazzmeloz and comedian Elton Mduduzi, we will be celebrating his life, achievements and artistic talent in a one-of-a-kind performance on Friday 8 March.

Oliver’s talent and success drew admirers in the industry and fans alike from all corners of Africa and internationally. We share a few of his achievements during his career as a reminder that anything is possible with hard work and passion.

  1. Oliver came from a family of seven siblings that lived in a poor neighbourhood in Harare (previously Salisbury).
  2. His passion to become a musician was evident even as a child when he made his own guitar.
  3. Despite both his parents singing in a choir, they were not initially in support of his interests to pursue music as a career.
  4. In 1975, he released his debut single, Stop After Orange.
  5. He joined the Wagon Wheels, a band that was given the opportunity to perform in the only licensed African night club under Rhodesia’s policy of segregation, in 1977. He left the group in 1979 with some fellow band members and formed his own group, the Black Spirits. Their debut single “Dzandimomotera” achieved gold record status.
  6. He became the most recognised voice in Zimbabwe and earned international acclaim – touring the UK, US and Canada.
  7. His music, predominantly sung in his native language Shona, advocated for peace, tolerance and the struggles of women and children.
  8. Just under a year ago at the age of 65, Oliver released his 67th album.
  9.  He appeared in several documentaries on Zimbabwean music and composed the soundtrack for the film Neria, which won him an M-Net Award for Best Soundtrack in 1992.He was also a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, businessman, philanthropist and human rights activist.

We send our deepest condolences to the Mtukudzi family and friends during this difficult time. His character and music will live on in our hearts for years to come.

Join us in commemorating Oliver’s life-long commitment to the Jazz industry on 8 March for an evening of unforgettable performances and a delicious three-course meal. Tickets are R450 per person or R4 500 for a table of 10.