Dorothy Masuka passes away over the weekend

As the news of the death of Dorothy Masuka trickled in over the weekend, many chose to use social media to remember her. 

Minister of Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa shared a series of tweets expressing his admiration for the late singer and songwriter. 

Masuka was born into a large family of seven children, in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. She moved to South Africa with her family when she was 12-years-old. Her music career thrived in the 1950’s. She is the woman behind the popular Miriam Makeba hit Pata Pata, which was composed by Jonas Gwangwa. 

Her hit songs include the popular Hamba Nontsokolo, MaGumede and Khauleza. 

South African and Zimbabwean fans and media personalities shared their fondest memories of her on platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

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

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.

Her music challenged the apartheid state and she was outspoken offstage on a range of social and political issues in South Africa and around the continent.

Paying tribute to the late artist, Ramaphosa said: “Another golden voice in the chorus line of our nation has been silenced with the passing of Mama Dorothy Masuka.

“She belonged to a generation of artists who transcended boundaries in art and politics long before we coined the concept of globalisation.

“Mama Dorothy was part of a cohort of performers – notably women – who were driven by wanting to create a better society and a better world.

“Mama Dorothy’s voice and poetry took us on stirring, uplifting and agitating journeys through the human experience.

“While the spotlight of stages all around the world were trained in her, she shone a light on the joys and struggles of life across the lines of race, class and nationality that were so starkly entrenched in the world and era in which she first emerged as an artistic force.”

Ramaphosa called on South Africans to celebrate Mama Dorothy’s life and legacy and to emulate the resilience with which she conducted her life and career into the advanced years of her life.

Masuka was an active member of the Living Legends Trust started by the Department of Arts and Culture in 2015.

 Family spokesperson Fortune Hute said Mama D, as she was affectionately known, passed away in the comfort of her home in Joburg South surrounded by family. 

“She was struggling with hypertension since July last year.”

The family will release details of a memorial service and funeral arrangements in the week. 

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