R.I.P Mama Dorothy Masuku

Masuku magic for a live DVD

The legendary Dorothy Masuku and a whole group of her famous friends are getting together to capture the magic of Masuku’s music for a live DVD.

Dorothy Masuku is nothing short of a music legend – and this September she and a whole bunch of her famous friends are getting together to capture the magic of Masuku’s music for a live DVD.

Billed as Dorothy Masuku and Friends: Live at the Joburg Theatre, the DVD shoot takes place on Saturday September 25 and Sunday September 26 at the Joburg Theatre, capping Heritage Weekend in fine style.

Joining Masuku on stage are some of South Africa’s top artists including Thandiswa Mazwai, Abigail Kubeka, Busi Mhlongo, Sibongile Khumalo and Hugh Masekela and together they will bring Masuku’s formidable song catalogue to life.

Like Miriam Makeba and Dolly Rathebe, Dorothy Masuku’s work evokes a time when music was sophisticated and earthy; when female singers dominated the music scene with their strong voices, playing with jazz bands or solo.

For many years a resident of Joburg, Masuku began her life in Bulawayo in then Rhodesia before being sent to South Africa to regain her health after an illness. By the time she was sixteen, Masuku had become a top recording star, signing to the record label Troubadour whilst she was still a schoolgirl. After running away from school several times to sing with various groups, Masuku was released from her studies and launched a career that few have been able to imitate.

What made Masuku stand out from the beginning was her ability as a songwriter: far more than simply a gifted singer, Masuku was able to compose songs that struck an instant chord with fans, including Hamba Nontsokolo – the first song she wrote (on a train) that launched her career as a professional musician and has since been regarded as a classic in South Africa.

From those early days through her work alongside the Harlem Swingsters, Dolly Rathebe and Miriam Makeba, Masuku had a significant impact on the songs and performances of the 1950s and beyond. Even a time in exile in Rhodesia (after she came under scrutiny by the apartheid regime for songs like ‘Dr Malan’) didn’t dampen her spirit.

It’s this spirit and her great catalogue of songs (including those she wrote for Makeba and others) that is being celebrated with Dorothy Masuku and Friends: Live at the Joburg Theatre.

Produced by Republic Media and executive produced by Pepsi Pokane for Gallo Music, the show will also feature the legendary Caiphus Semenya (who will act as musical director for the voices and MC) and Victor Masondo will be the musical director for the band.

These two once-off and very special shows took place at the Joburg Theatre on Saturday September 26 at 20h00 and Sunday September 27 at 18h00. The cost of tickets was  R150. 

Credit goes to Artslink


R.I.P Dr Philip Tabane

PARLIAMENT and the SABC have paid tribute to South African jazz legend Dr Philip Tabane, who died at the age of 84 in a hospital in Pretoria on Friday.

Parliament’s presiding officers - National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete and National Council of Provinces Chairperson Thandi Modise - sent their condolences to Tabane’s family, friends, and colleagues in the music world for their great loss, parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said.

Tabane was best known for his hit songs Nkupi and Muvhango, but acclaim for his music went back much further - to the Malombo Jazzmen, the band he formed in the early 1960s, he said.

He was among the South African jazz greats whose pioneering music defied the constraints of oppression during the height of apartheid and showcased the country's unique and remarkable talent to the world.

The Malombo Jazzmen toured the US in the 1970s, where renowned musicians such as Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis played with them. Their album Malombo was a commercial and critical success.

Through his masterpieces, Tabane made the world pay attention and recognise South Africa’s rich traditional culture and appreciate the timeless beauty of the boundless quality of its arts.

“His music was a uniting force that not only connected South Africa with the word, but also bridged different generations. He inspired and worked with a range of younger musicians and, until the end, continued to captivate and serenade his legion of fans with his unique and ageless spiritually evocative repertoire. Although this legendary guitarist and outstanding South African is no more, his distinctive, uplifting music will live on,” Mothapo said.

SABC acting spokesperson Mmoni Seapolelo said Tabane had contributed immensely to the SA music industry. One of his songs was featured on SABC2’s popular soapie Muvhango as an opening title sequence. His world-class craft and legacy would remain one of the country’s treasures which young aspiring musicians could draw inspiration from.


R.I.P Bra Hugh Masekela

Hugh Masekela was a world-renowned flugelhornist, trumpeter, bandleader, composer, singer and defiant political voice who remained deeply connected at home, while his international career sparkled. He was born in the town of Witbank, South Africa in 1939. At the age of 14, the deeply respected advocator of equal rights in South Africa, Father Trevor Huddleston, provided Masekela with a trumpet and, soon after, the Huddleston Jazz Band was formed. Masekela began to hone his, now signature, Afro-Jazz sound in the late 1950s during a period of intense creative collaboration, most notably performing in the 1959 musical King Kong, written by Todd Matshikiza, and, soon thereafter, as a member of the now legendary South African group, the Jazz Epistles (featuring the classic line up of Kippie Moeketsi, Abdullah Ibrahim and Jonas Gwangwa).

In 1960, at the age of 21 he left South Africa to begin what would be 30 years in exile from the land of his birth. On arrival in New York he enrolled at the Manhattan School of Music. This coincided with a golden era of jazz music and the young Masekela immersed himself in the New York jazz scene where nightly he watched greats like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Mingus and Max Roach. Under the tutelage of Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong, Hugh was encouraged to develop his own unique style, feeding off African rather than American influences – his debut album, released in 1963, was entitled Trumpet Africaine.

In the late 1960s Hugh moved to Los Angeles in the heat of the ‘Summer of Love’, where he was befriended by hippie icons like David Crosby, Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper. In 1967 Hugh performed at the Monterey Pop Festival alongside Janis Joplin, Otis Redding, Ravi Shankar, The Who and Jimi Hendrix. In 1968, his instrumental single ‘Grazin’ in the Grass’ went to Number One on the American pop charts and was a worldwide smash, elevating Hugh onto the international stage.

His subsequent solo career has spanned 5 decades, during which time he has released over 40 albums (and been featured on countless more) and has worked with such diverse artists as Harry Belafonte, Dizzy Gillespie, The Byrds, Fela Kuti, Marvin Gaye, Herb Alpert, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and the late Miriam Makeba.

In 1990 Hugh returned home, following the unbanning of the ANC and the release of Nelson Mandela – an event anticipated in Hugh’s anti-apartheid anthem ‘Bring Home Nelson Mandela’ (1986) which had been a rallying cry around the world.

In 2004 Masekela published his compelling autobiography, Still Grazing: The Musical Journey of Hugh Masekela (co-authored with D. Michael Cheers), which Vanity Fair described thus: ‘…you’ll be in awe of the many lives packed into one.’

In June 2010 he opened the FIFA Soccer World Cup Kick-Off Concert to a global audience and performed at the event’s Opening Ceremony in Soweto’s Soccer City. Later that year he created the mesmerizing musical, Songs of Migration with director, James Ngcobo, which drew critical acclaim and played to packed houses.

That same year, President Zuma honoured him with the highest order in South Africa: The Order of Ikhamanga. 2011 saw Masekela receive a Lifetime Achievement award at the WOMEX World Music Expo in Copenhagen, the first of many. Numerous universities, including the University of York and the University of the Witwatersrand have awarded him honorary doctorates. The US Virgin Islands proclaimed ‘Hugh Masekela Day’ in March 2011, not long after Hugh joined U2 on stage during the Johannesburg leg of their 360 World Tour. U2 frontman Bono described meeting and playing with Hugh as one of the highlights of his career.

Never one to slow down, Bra Hugh toured Europe with Paul Simon on the Graceland 25th Anniversary Tour and opening his own studio and record label, House of Masekela at the age of 75. His final album, No Borders, picked up a SAMA for Best Adult Contemporary in 2017.

Continuing a busy international tour schedule, Hugh used his global reach to spread the word about heritage restoration in Africa – a topic that remained very close to his heart. He founded the Hugh Masekela Heritage Foundation in 2015 to continue this work for generations to come.

“My biggest obsession is to show Africans and the world who the people of Africa really are,”

Masekela confided – It was this commitment to his home continent that propelled him forward since he first began playing the trumpet.

Hugh Masekela – 4 April 1939 to 23 January 2018


R.I.P Papa Oliver Mtukudzi


Oliver Mtukudzi began performing in 1977 when he joined the Wagon Wheels, a band that also featured Thomas Mapfumo. Their single Dzandimomotera went gold and Tuku's first album followed, which was also a major success. Mtukudzi is also a contributor to Mahube, Southern Africa's "supergroup".[1]

With his husky voice, Mtukudzi has become the most recognised voice to emerge from Zimbabwe and onto the international scene and he has earned a devoted following across Africa and beyond. A member of Zimbabwe's KoreKore group, with Nzou Samanyanga as his totem, he sings in the nation's dominant Shona language along with Ndebele and English. He also incorporates elements of different musical traditions, giving his music a distinctive style, known to fans as Tuku Music. Mtukudzi has had a number of tours around the world. He has been on several tours in the UK, US and Canada to perform for large audiences. In 2017 Mtukudzi entertained guests at the wedding of Zimbabwean businessman Wicknell Chivayo.[2]

Mtukudzi is the father of five children and has two grandchildren. Two of his children are also musicians. His son Sam Mtukudzi, a successful musician in his own right, died in a car accident in March 2010. Tuku died on 23 January 2019.[3][4] Mtukudzi was born in a family of six; one of his sisters and his only brother died.[citation needed]

On 23 January 2019, Mtukudzi died at the age of 66 at Avenues Clinic in Harare, Zimbabwe.[5]

1978 Ndipeiwo Zano (re-released 2000)
1979 Chokwadi Chichabuda
1979 Muroi Ndiani?
1980 Africa (re-released 2000)
1981 Shanje
1981 Pfambi
1982 Maungira
1982 Please Ndapota
1983 Nzara
1983 Oliver's Greatest Hits
1984 Hwema Handirase
1985 Mhaka
1986 Gona
1986 Zvauya Sei?
1987 Wawona
1988 Nyanga Nyanga
1988 Strange, Isn't It?'
1988 Sugar Pie
1989 Grandpa Story
1990 Chikonzi
1990 Pss Pss Hallo!
1990 Shoko
1991 Mutorwa
1992 Rombe
1992 Rumbidzai Jehova
1992 Neria Soundtrack'
1993 Son of Africa
1994 Ziwere MuKobenhavn
1995 Was My Child
1996 Svovi yangu
1995 The Other Side: Live in Switzerland
1995 Ivai Navo
1997 Ndega Zvangu (re-released 2001)
1997 Chinhamwe
1998 Dzangu Dziye
1999 Tuku Music
2000 Paivepo
2001 Neria
2001 Bvuma (Tolerance)
2002 Shanda soundtrack
2002 Vhunze Moto
2003 Shanda (Alula Records)
2003 Tsivo (Revenge)
2004 Greatest Hits Tuku Years
2004 Mtukudzi Collection 1991–1997
2004 Mtukudzi Collection 1984–1991
2005 Nhava(Tolerance)
2006 Wonai
2007 Tsimba Itsoka
2008 Dairai (Believe)
2010 Rudaviro
2010 Kutsi Kwemoyo (compilation)[6]
2011 Rudaviro
2011 Abi'angu (Duets of my time)
2012 Sarawoga -- Sarawoga laments the losses that the legend has had to endure in his life, not least the loss of life. Thus he has been left 'alone' in a sense, hence the title Sarawoga (left alone).
2014 Mukombe Wemvura
2016 God Bless You - The Gospel Collection
2016 Eheka Nhai Yahwe!
Contributing artist
1996 The Rough Guide to the Music of Zimbabwe (World Music Network)
1999 Unwired: Acoustic Music from Around the World (World Music Network)
2000 Unwired: Africa (World Music Network)
Jit (dir. Michael Raeburn, 1990)
Neria (dir. Goodwin Mawuru, written by Tsitsi Dangarembga, 1993). Mtukudzi starred in the movie and made the soundtrack.
Shanda (dir. John and Louise Riber, 2002, rev. 2004)[7]
Sarawoga, 2009, was written by Elias C. Machemedze, directed by Watson Chidzomba and produced by Oliver Mtukudzi, who also did the soundtrack for the film.
2012 Nzou NeMhuru Mudanga DVD, the live recording of a show, a theatrical performance which Tuku had with his son just weeks before his death.
1985–1988: One of The Best Selling Artists in Zimbabwe.
KORA Award for Best Arrangement in 2002, for Ndakuwara.
2002: SAMA Finalist (Best Traditional/African Adult Contemporary DVD) Live at the Cape Town Jazz Festival.
National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA) in 2002 and 2004 for Best Group / Male vocalist
KORA Award for Best African male artist and Lifetime Achievement Award in August 2003.
Reel Award Winner for Best African Language in 2003.
An honorary degree from the University of Zimbabwe in December 2003[8]
NAMA Award 2003: Best Group/Artist.
NAMA Award 2004: Best Group/Artist.
NAMA Award 2005: National Arts Personality of the Year.
NAMA Award 2006: Outstanding Album (NHAVA).
2006: ZIMA (Best Music Ringing Tone Handiro Dambudziko).
2006: ZIMA (Music Ambassador).
NAMA Award 2007: Best Musician/Group.
2007:Cultural Ambassador – Zimbabwe Tourism Association.
NAMA Award 2008: (Outstanding Musician).
Honorary MSc (Fine Arts) Degree awarded by the Women's University in Africa in 2009.
M-Net Best Soundtrack Award in 1992, for Neria[9]
2010: MTN SAMA Awards recognised his son's achievements in music.
2010: University of Zimbabwe (UZ) and The International Council of Africana Womanism (ICAW) Award: recognition of his luminary role in uplifting African women through his artistic work – music and a diversity of art forms – offered as community development at his arts academy at Pakare Paye in Norton.
2011: Titled Zimbabwe's first UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Eastern and Southern Africa.
2011: Honoured by the Government of Italy with the prestigious Cavaliere of the Order of Merit Award in recognition of his work as an international musician. (The award is what the Knighthood is to England).
2014 Honorary Doctorate (PHD) International Institute of Philanthropy.
2014 Honorary Doctorate from Great Zimbabwe University (GZU). Doctor of Philosophy in Ethnomusicology & Choreography (Honoris Causa).


R.I.P Simphiwe Myeza Mhlambi

The career of film director Siphiwe (SJ) Myeza-Mhlambi is on the rise, with Loerie awards and a trip to Cannes already on his CV.
He’s now the majority shareholder at 7Films, which he joined in 2015 when its owner, director Lourens van Rensburg, recognised his talent and became his mentor after Myeza-Mhlambi had studied directing and writing at Afda in Johannesburg. This mentoring, along with hard work and determination, saw him become an owner of 7Films in 2016, making it a black-owned company in a largely white industry.
His success at the Loeries came from a series of moving internet commercials called Chasing the Dragon. They were filmed for The Surf Shack in Muizenberg, which helps Cape Flats teenagers replace their addiction for tik with an addiction for surfing. “Chasing the Dragon was the first spot I shot as an upcoming commercials director,” he says. “I fell in love with the characters and their stories. I felt very connected to the themes of loss, addiction, and gangsterism — but that’s not the story I wanted to tell. All I did was listen and interpret the characters’ story into a language the world could understand, and that story became a story of resilience and hope. Their stories moved me, the people involved inspired me and I was honoured to give them a voice.”
The adverts won silver and gold at the 2016 Loerie Awards, making him the youngest ever winner at the age of 22.
His own story is also worth telling, as he was raised by his Aunt Lerato and Uncle Marcom Myeza after his mother died. “They took me in and made great sacrifices and supported me every step of the way,” he says. It’s important not to let your circumstances define you, he adds. “You are not a product of your circumstances, you are a product of your attitude. There are more great people that come from rock bottom than there are great people that come from privilege.”
He is also proud to be part of a non-profit organisation called Blackboard with Nkanyezi Masango and Tseliso Rangaka. Blackboard intends to push Cape Town’s creative industry to become more racially diverse, in order to make it more impactful. “The issue starts in high school. Most township students don’t consider creativity as a career path because they don’t know it exists. Our ambition is to change that,” he says.

— Lesley Stones

Instagram: @SJ_7films