Zimbabwe’s president has declared the late Oliver Mtukudzi, one Africa’s most iconic musicians, a national hero – an award historically reserved only for the ruling party elite.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa spoke as the country facing bitter political divisions united in grief after the singer’s death on Wednesday at age 66. The president, who visited Mtukudzi’s home on Thursday, has called the singer a patriot who has “given us comfort during difficult times.”
Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa also visited Mtukudzi’s home and expressed his wish to meet with Mnangagwa at the funeral and mourn together.
Mtukudzi’s career stretched from white minority-ruled Rhodesia to majority-ruled Zimbabwe, producing a string of hits that spread his fame to an international audience.