BY Moses Mugugunyeki
THE reggae music fraternity is mourning the death of former radio presenter and entertainer Dennis Wilson, who passed away at his home in Harare yesterday.
He was 66.
Details of the cause of his death were still sketchy at the time of going to print last night, although a close friend confirmed the former radio DJ was diabetic.
Born Delroy Wilson, in Kingston, Jamaica, Wilson became the face of reggae music in Zimbabwe, thanks to his reggae sessions on former Radio 3, now Power FM, where he had a large listenership.
The reggae music fraternity in Zimbabwe said the country had lost a man who was committed to the development of reggae music.
“Personally, it’s a huge loss for me because I had known Dennis at personal level. I was instrumental in making him join Transit Crew,” said Tavonga “Ras TK” Mafundikwa.
“The world has lost an entertainer, someone who knew what he was doing when it came to reggae music. He was a master of the genre, he knew and understood reggae music.
“lt’s unfortunate death is inevitable, rest in peace Dennis. ’Til we meet again.”
Classic 263 manager and reggae producer/producer Terrence Mapurisana said the late Wilson was a brother and mentor.
“Zimbabwe has lost an iconic reggae figure who inspired a good number of us in the world of reggae radio presentation,” Mapurisana said.
“To me, Dennis Wilson, a brother I worked with for many years on the then Radio 3 and Classic 263 then SFM, was unquestionably one of the most charismatic and inspirational reggae DJs and producers in Jamaica, UK and Zimbabwe.
“He drove reggae music forward across decades and will be sorely missed. He was comfortable to work with behind the transmission studio microphone. He knew his music and I would hardly spend a week without him sending me the latest reggae tunes from Jamaica.
“He had that radio voice that most of us had become accustomed to and would find some kind of comfort and nostalgia and excitement through his selection of music.”
Mapurisana said DJ Dennis Shabbat, as they loved calling him, was also a music producer and reggae artiste.
Reggae musician Joe Wailer described the late Wilson as someone who inspired him to play reggae music.
“His radio programmes inspired me to take reggae music seriously. I became his number one listener and never missed any of his radio programmes,” said Wailer, who on numerous occasions performed at reggae festivals in Wilson’s native home Jamaica.
“Zimbabwe has lost a reggae icon. Reggae music will never be the same again.”
Famed for his signature track Push Come to Shove back in the day when he used to host the reggae session on the then Radio 3, Wilson moved to Zimbabwe in the 1980s.
He was a telecommunications engineer by profession.
Mourners are gathered at his house in Alexandra Park, Harare.
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