Without a doubt, Dorothy Masuka’s influence in the music scene across Africa was felt after the news about her passing filtered through.
Masuka was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe the fourth of seven children her mother was Zulu while her father was a Zambian hotel chef.
Her family moved to South Africa when she was 12. Her music career blossomed in the 1950s.
She started out in a show called African Jazz and Variety, with Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela and others, imitating American jazz greats like Ella Fitzgerald.
With the full-blown emergence of Apartheid in Rhodesia, she moved to London where she lived for many years, performing on one occasion at Wembley during Harold Wilson’s election campaign.
Masuka went back to Rhodesia in 1965 but left again and did not return until 1980.
Masuka’s musical style is known as mabira: a fusion of swing and Zulu melodies, sung with great force and intensity. Her earlier songs, and most notably “Kutheni Zulu,” were hard-edged and political.