JOHANNESBURG — Zimbabwean-born jazz maestro Dorothy Masuka has died.
Family spokesperson Fortune Hute said Masuka, who was born in 1935, succumbed to stroke and hypertension.
“She has been struggling with hypertension since last year in June. As a family I can say we are still in shock but otherwise we are celebrating a legacy as well as a life. We are still deciding where to lay her to rest.”
Hute said Masuka fought for the empowerment of black people. “She died to her age. She is 84 this year and she is somebody who I can say has been a legend and she is somebody who has been fighting for black consciousness, you know, she always encouraged us to stay true to our identity.”
It’s not yet clear if she will be laid to rest in her native city of Bulawayo in Zimbabwe.
Masuka’s song Dr. Malan, questioning racial segregation, was banned in South Africa. Dr. Malan is the South African leader who formed an exclusively Afrikaner government in 1948 and instituted the policy of apartheid. The policy resulted in the displacement of Africans from their homelands due to his government’s enforcement of racial segregation.
Masuka’s song, Hamba Nontsokolo, is widely regarded in the music industry as the one that launched her career. Several artistes, including Sipho ‘Hotstic Mabuse, founder of Joy of Jazz Peter Tladi, Dumi Ramadu of Insingizi and others posted condolence messages on social media mourning her death.
“We are very thankful for the great work she gave us,” wrote Mabuse in one of the social media platforms.
In his farewell message, Ramadu wrote on Tweeter, “RIP Gogo Dorothy Masuka. Thank you for the Music.”
Radio personality Ezra ‘Tshisa’ Sibanda posted pictures of him posing with Masuka on Facebook with a message, which read in part, “…Another amazing lady, a wonderful musician and certainly a national treasure has been taken away from us just like that. 2019 has been a horrible year for music and arts industry. She will be sadly missed MHDSRIP.”
Some of her top hits included Imali yami, El Yow (Phatha Phatha), Magumede, Nhinkirikiri, Dr. Malan, Khawuleza and Chimanga featuring the Job’s Combination.