Tributes for Dorothy Masuku

Monday, February 25, 2019

Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa has paid tribute to the late Dorothy Masuku, describing her as the quintessential African who was completely at ease in her articulation of the languages of Africa.

“At this stage, words truly fail, as Mama Masuku’s death reverberates throughout the country and continent as would when a great Baobab tree falls… It leaves a trail of destruction in its fall - in our case that of broken hearts, as hers was one of the most extraordinary of all lives. A legacy of immeasurable proportions,” the Minister said.

The Jazz performer, composer and recipient of the National Order of Ikhamanga passed away at the age of 83 on Sunday.

Masuku spent more than 50 years being feted globally as an artist whose performances directed the spotlight at the injustices of apartheid.

“On behalf of the government and the people of South Africa, I wish to pass my deepest condolences to the family of this great African, her peers, and in particular the surviving ‘Divas of Kofifi’, her fans, and my compatriots who loved and treasured her,” the Minister said.

Masuku was awarded the Order of Ikhamanga in Silver for excellent achievement in and contribution to music composition and performance.

Born in Zimbabwe in 1935, she moved to South Africa with her family when she was 12 and needed treatment for health issues.

She started out as a performer at the age of 16 and developed into an accomplished songwriter and internationally acclaimed artist in the course of half a century.

Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture Xoliswa Tom said Masuku’s immense contribution to the music industry and the struggle against apartheid laid the foundation for the South African art industry.

She said Masuku’s passing away leaves a gaping hole in the music industry and that she will remember the beauty she brought to this world. –