BIRTH NAME: Dorothy Masuka
DATE OF BIRTH: 3 September 1935
DIED: 23 February 2019
PLACE OF BIRTH: Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe)
OCCUPATION: Legendary Singer
Dorothy Masuka is a Zimbabwean-born South African legendary singer.
Early Life , Background And Childhood
Dorothy Masuka was born on the 3 September 1935 in Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). She was staying in Yeoville, Johannesburg, South Africa.
A talent scout discovered her when she sang in a school concert and immediately she signed up as Troubadour. By the time she was sixteen, Dorothy had become a top recording star and after running away from school several times, she was released. She left for Johannesburg by train and it was during this journey that she composed the song Hamba Nontsokolo that launched her career as a professional musician and has since been regarded as a classic in South Africa.
Dorothy Masuka died in Johannesburg on 23 February 2019, aged 83.
Dorothy Masuka’s great promise as a singer and songwriter began to show when she penned and recorded the tune Hamba Nontsokolo. The song was among the most popular in the 1950s. Masuka began to tour with The Harlem Swingsters and Dolly Rathebe in the mid-1950s.
Masuka endeared herself to a wide audience from the start of her career through her provocative and entertaining compositions that riled the apartheid regime. In 1961, the apartheid Special Branch seized the master recordings of her composition Lumumba, a song which paid tribute to Patrice Lumumba, the great liberation hero and first democratically elected President of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Masuka was not deterred and in the same year went on to pen and record Dr. Malan, a song about the apartheid laws of the Nationalist Party, which too was seized and banned.
Seeing the writing on the wall, Masuka went into exile and spent time in Malawi and Tanzania, where she campaigned for the liberation of African people through her music and wrote and performed her most memorable tunes. These include the famous and widely recorded Pata Pata, Khawuleza, Kulala and Into Yam. Masuka’s greatest accolades were perhaps to have had many of her songs recorded by contemporary artists such as Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masekela. She is credited as the inspiration for many female singers on the continent.
Cause of Death
Dorothy Masuka had been suffering from complications related to hypertension after suffering a mild stroke last year.