By Tonderai Zvimba
Bulawayo-born South Africa-based jazz musician, Dorothy Masuka, who succumbed to a stroke on Saturday will be laid to rest this Sunday at West Park Cemetery in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The world renowned musician (83), who had been suffering from complications related to hypertension after suffering a mild stroke last year, died in the comfort of her home where she was surrounded by family.
Speaking from Johannesburg, Morris Roda, a close family friend who is part of the funeral organising committee, said: “The service will be held at Nelson Mandela Theatre in Johannesburg on Sunday. It’ll commence at 9AM.
“Mourners are currently gathered at the late musician’s house at Mulbarton in Johannesburg.”
Masuka’s granddaughter, Laika Masuku, said as much as they were saddened by the departure of their grandmother, they were grateful that she had left a legacy.
“It’s been very difficult for our family. Not only have we suffered the loss of our grandmother, but we have mixed feelings. In between feelings of being sad, we have so much to celebrate as she left a living legacy and her memory will continue forever.
“Fortunately, she has music records, was a public figure and an inspiration to youths and other artistes, which is comforting,” said Laina.
Masuka’s last moments on earth last Friday evening, Laina said, were very devastating as she was visibly in pain.
“I felt helpless knowing there was nothing I could do but watch her endure the pain and hope for the best,” recounted Laina.
On what the remaining artistes can learn from Masuka, Laina said: “My grand mum was proudly African. She was proud of her roots and where she came from. She has so many songs in different African languages as she really valued African traditions and customs.
“She told me that there was nothing wrong with singing in one’s native language and being proud of their identity, so those remaining can follow suit.”
Having grown up in Bulawayo’s Old Pumula high density suburb, Masuka was born on September 3, 1935 to a Zimbabwean father and a South African mother.
She started out in a group called African Jazz and Variety during her teens and her career started blossoming in the 1950s.
Together with Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba, they imitated international greats like Ella Fitzgerald. She also wrote the hit song Pata Pata that was made famous by Makeba.
Just like many artistes of her time, her music touched on the injustice black people faced. Some of her most popular songs include “Hamba Nontsokolo,”
“MaGumede,” “Khawuleza,” “Suka Lapha” and “Five Bells”. Her last album titled, “Nginje” was released last year. The Chronicle