By Terrence Mapurisana
The late Zimbabwean-born South African legendary township jazz singer Dorothy Masuka, popularly known as Aunt Dot will be buried this weekend in South Africa.
Masuka died on Saturday at her home in Johannesburg surrounded by family.
Tributes continue to pour in for the late Aunt Dot who passed on at the age of 83.
The singer, who had complications related to hypertension after suffering a stroke last year, was born Dorothy Masuku in Bulawayo and moved to Johannesburg at the age of 12, producing her first record at 16 where her surname was later changed to Masuka.
Politicians like former South African President Jacob Zuma and President Cyril Ramaphosa as well as fellow veteran entertainers, including Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Sipho Hotstix Mabuse and former television talk show host Felicia Mubuza-Suttle, took to social media to pay their condolences.
Former President Zuma described the late Aunt Dot as a comrade and said her music will always carry with it only the fondest memories. t
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 emerged as an artistic force.
In Zimbabwe, during her many visits, she attended the Victoria Falls jazz festivals and the Zimbabwe international jazz festivals hosted by drummer Sam Mataure and shared the stage with the late legendary music superstar and national hero Oliver Mtukudzi, Dudu Manhenga, the Cool Crooners, Paul Lunga and Jazz Impacto.
On most of these visits she was backed by the local jazz group Summer Breeze made up of vocalist and drummer Friday Mbirimi, lead guitarist Fari Sumaili, bass player Vincent Kapepa and Moses Kabubi on keyboards.
On her 80th birthday she was invited to her home country Zimbabwe where the Harare Jazz Festival fronted by Sam Mataure hosted a birthday dinner for her.
Mataure is also featured on her latest album yet to be released where he played drums.
The album was recorded last year with the help of Steve Dyre.
Her last performance in Zimbabwe was when she took to the stage at the National Arts Merit Awards in Bulawayo where she fused some jazzy rhythms on her songs.
In his condolence message, South African Minister of Arts Nathi Mthethwa described Aunt Dot as a tree that has fallen.
“Her music was the soundtrack of some of our most joyful moments and the light of our souls during our darkest hours,” said Minister Mthethwa.
“My most heartfelt condolences go out to the family and loved ones of Mama Dorothy Masuka, at the most trying times for our nation. Mama Masuka and other legends used music as a tool to communicate and give hope to millions of South Africans.”
Former television hostess Felicia Mabuza-subtly described Mama Masuka as a legend adding that she was honoured and humbled to have hosted her on the Felicia Show and gave her credit for composing such classics as Kauleza, Patapata and Hamba Nontsokolo.
“Sad to learn our mother and a great musician passed on rest in peace Nontsokolo Goli,” wrote Yvonne Chakachaka on her twitter account.
Zimbabwean veteran township jazz vocalist and drummer Friday Mbirimi, who played with Masuka with the likes of the late jazz saxophonist Simangaliso Tutani in the then Salisbury in the 1960s, said Aunt Dot was an iconic figure who played a big role in uniting artists during her era.
Dorothy Masuka’s light will always shine, in death just as it did in life.
She produced some timeless songs such as Gona Ramachingura (Ndiwe Muroyi) and Nhingirikini that will be played forever by generations to come.