Dorothy Masuka was born on 3 September, 1935 in Bulawayo. She is a South African jazz singer. She is a fourth of seven children, and her mother was Zulu while her father was a Zambian hotel chef. Still, she attended a Catholic school deemed good by the standards of education allowed blacks. Her family moved to South Africa when she was 12 due to her health. By the time she was 19 she was touring in South Africa with singers she had admired as a girl.
Masuka’s music was popular in South Africa throughout the 1950s, but when her songs became more serious, the government began questioning her. Her song “Dr. Malan” mentioning difficult laws, was banned and in 1961 she sang a song for Patrice Lumumba, which led to her exile. This exile lasted 31 years in total. Many of her songs are in the Ndebele language or Sindebele languages.
In August 2011, Dorothy and Mfundi Vundla, creator of the popular South African soap opera Generations, confirmed plans to make a film of Masuka’s life. The film would concentrate on the years 1952 to 1957.
On 27 April 2017 she featured in the concert “The Jazz Epistles featuring Abdullah Ibrahim & Ekaya” at The Town Hall, New York City, opening the show and delivering “one passionate performance after another, warming up and winning over the crowd”.
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