South Africa: President Cyril Ramaphosa Pays Tribute to Dorothy Masuka

Dorothy Masuka
press release

President Cyril Ramaphosa says the passing away of jazz performer, composer and recipient of the National Order of Ikhamanga, Mama Dorothy Masuka at the age of 83, is a significant loss to the cultural heritage of South Africa and the continent.

Dorothy Masuka passed away on Saturday 23 February 2019 after more than 50 years of being feted globally as an artist whose performances also directed the spotlight at the injustices of apartheid.

President Ramaphosa has offered his condolences to Mama Dorothy's family and friends in South Africa and elsewhere.

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

Born in Zimbabwe in 1935, Ms Masuka moved to South Africa with her family when she was aged 12 and needed treatment for health issues.

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, President 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."

President 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.

Issued by: The Presidency

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