World-renowned jazz singer Dorothy Masuka has died. The music industry veteran who was born in Zimbabwe was 83 years old. Her music was popular throughout the 1950s.
Dorothy Masuka was born in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) but received her schooling in South Africa and chose to stay there after graduating in order to pursue a musical career.
She started out in a show called African Jazz and Variety, with Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela and others, imitating American jazz greats like Ella Fitzgerald.
With the full-blown emergence of Apartheid in Rhodesia, she moved to London where she lived for many years, performing on one occasion at Wembley during Harold Wilson’s election campaign.
Masuka went back to Rhodesia in 1965 but left again and did not return until 1980.
Masuka’s musical style is known as mabira: a fusion of swing and Zulu melodies, sung with great force and intensity. Her earlier songs, and most notably “Kutheni Zulu,” were hard-edged and political.