Senior Arts Reporter
Former Radio 3 (Power FM) reggae presenter Dennis Wilson has died.
He was 66.
Wilson died yesterday at his home in Alexandra Park, Harare, after a short illness.
Wilson’s family friend Master Pablo Nakappa confirmed the news and said it was shocking.
“Dennis was a good friend. We got a call yesterday in the morning (around 9am) from his maid that he had collapsed and died at home.
“The past two weeks he was not well as he was complaining of body pains. He went for Covid-19 testing and the results came back negative. We are actually shocked by his death and we are now waiting for the post-mortem to verify the actual cause of death,” he said.
Nakkapa said Wilson was living alone for several years, while his family was based in the United Kingdom.
“He lived by himself. He is of Jamaican origin and some of his family members are in the UK. I met him four years ago when he joined the Transit Crew as a vocalist and we became very good friends.
“It is a sad loss to us because we were busy preparing to record an album together. We have done a lot of shows together,” he said.
Wilson is remembered for introducing reggae music in Zimbabwe and was well connected with some of the popular international reggae artistes whom he invited to this country.
He was a force to reckon with and during his days on radio, “Push Comes to Shove” by Freddie McGregor became his signature tune.
Meanwhile, condolences continue to pour in for the reggae icon.
Former colleague at the then Radio 3 station, Tendai Chakanyuka said she was devastated by the news.
She said the industry had lost an icon, teacher and great advisor in terms of understanding and appreciation of the reggae music genre.
“I am drained as I can’t deal with this anymore. Imagine each time you open social media there is news of death. Wilson was a great man. I met him in 1997 when I joined Radio 3. He made me appreciate reggae music and he could understand the genre so much that he could take his time to teach you about it,” she said.
Chakanyuka said despite the age difference, he was a respectable man.
“He could mingle like we were of the same age. We communicated frequently. I last saw him before the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said.
Chakanyuka recalled how in 2016 when she was now the station manager for Radio 3, Wilson wanted to return to radio, but the move did not go through.
“I had no problem with that, but due to some logistical problems he could not return to radio as he wanted, but was very supportive.
“He was a regular at Chez Zandi Bistro and Wine Bar (Zandi’s),” she said.
Music producer, composer and multi-instrumentalist Clive “Mono” Mukundu, who played with Wilson at Transit Crew during one of its shows, described him as a talented and cheerful man.
“It has come as a shock to hear of the passing of such a legend. I first heard of Wilson in the mid 1980s when he started presenting the reggae programme on radio since I have always been an avid reggae music fan.
“The first time I saw him in person was at a Transit Crew show in 2018, where he was now a vocalist. I played with him each time I made a cameo appearance at the Transit Crew shows. He was very passionate about reggae music and the music industry in general,” said Mukundu.
ZBC Classic 263 manager and reggae producer-presenter, Terrence Mapurisana said Zimbabwe had lost an iconic figure who inspired many in the world of reggae radio presentation.
“To me Wilson was a brother I worked with for many years on the then Radio 3 and Classic263, then SFM.
“He was unquestionably one of the most charismatic and inspirational reggae DJs and producers in Jamaica, UK and Zimbabwe.
“Wilson drove reggae music forward across decades and will be sorely missed,” he said.
Mapurisana said Wilson was comfortable to work behind the studio microphone.
“He knew his music very well. He had that radio voice that most of us became accustomed to and would find some kind of comfort and nostalgia and excitement. Who would easily forget ‘Push Comes to Shove’ or ‘I Will Wait for You’ from Fred McGregor? RIP Dennis. Sleep easy my brother,” he said.