Mtukudzi’s portfolio will cover Eastern and Southern Africa where, as regional ambassador, will promote children and young people’s right to live free from HIV and Aids among other areas of grave drawbacks affecting the development of women and children.
The appointment, which gives Mtukudzi unique access to audiences around the world through UNICEF’s extensive global reach, was announced here yesterday (Thursday) during the Day of the African Child celebrations.
UNICEF said in appointing Mtukudzi the world body’s agency had recognised the musician’s bold endeavors in using his musical talent to improve the lives of children.
As goodwill ambassador the music legend will also be urging political leaders to commit more human and financial resources to the needy children.
UNICEF regional goodwill ambassadors are chosen not only because of their public standing but more particularly because of the respect with which the appointees are held and their appeal as genuine humanitarians.
Mtukudzi told VOP in an interview: “I am greatly honored and sure I will use my music as I have always done to spread the message of love, peace, tolerance and harmony. I commit myself to continue my advocacy to promote the welfare of women and children. Our future is in the hands of our mothers and our children…we need to do more for them…develop them sustainably, love them and care for them.”
In the past Mtukudzi has received several awards for his extraordinary effort towards the promotion of women and children including recognition for his work as a philanthropist raising public awareness of diabetes, malaria and HIV and Aids.
Among the awards are an honorary Masters in Fine Arts awarded by the Women’s University in Africa (WUA), the Cultural Ambassador Award (2009) by the San Diego (USA) based Project Concern International and the University of Zimbabwe-International Council of Africana Womanism.
Mtukudzi also runs a privately owned successful arts development academy, Pakare Paye Arts Centre, in his home town of Norton near the capital, where particularly the youngsters receive mentorship in various art forms.
UNICEF is present in over 150 countries and through 36 national committees in the industrialized world. Among other UNICEF regional ambassadors is South African diva Yvonne Chaka Chaka.
The day of the African Child is commemorated in remembrance of South African youths who sacrificed their lives as they fought against a repressive apartheid regime on June 16, 1976 that saw hundreds of them being killed and thousands being seriously injured.