Statement from Leila Gharagozloo-Pakkala, UNICEF Regional Director, Eastern and Southern Africa
HARARE, Zimbabwe, 24 January 2019 – UNICEF joins with the people of Zimbabwe and music lovers worldwide, to mourn the loss of celebrated singer and songwriter Oliver ‘Tuku’ Mtukudzi, who was a UNICEF Regional Goodwill Ambassador for Eastern and Southern Africa.
Following his appointment in June 2011, UNICEF had the pleasure of working with Oliver Mtukudzi on issues relating to young people’s development and HIV and AIDS prevention. He used the power of music and impactful lyrics to speak out against stigma, discrimination and abuse of children, and inspired people at all levels of society to take action on behalf of children.
As a tireless advocate to end child marriage, he composed the emotive song ‘Haasati Aziva’ (‘You can’t pledge your child for marriage’) and most recently, during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign, he authored a compelling opinion editorial in Zimbabwe’s Herald newspaper, calling for an end to this harmful practice.
UNICEF offers its deepest condolences to Oliver Mtukudzi’s family and Zimbabweans everywhere.
We honour his memory as a champion of children’s rights.