accomplished, singer, dancer and instrumentalist, Doreen was
born in Natal then grew up in Durban, South Africa. She plays
African instruments such as mbira and umqangala. While in school
she took part in singing and dancing, but it was in dancing
that she would really excel. She became the solo dancer for
a group called African Follies that toured several countries.
Doreen settled in Britain in 1971 and
was lead singer in the London's West End spectacular South African
musical ‘Ipi Tombi' for 8 years. This led to her being a founder
member of Shikisha, a Zulu women's dance group. Other musicals
she has starred in include ‘The Pied Piper of Hamelin' and ‘Poppie
Nongena', both in London.
In 1983 Doreen was in Kenya to join with
Mose Fan Fan's band Somo Somo for
the recording of the song 'Jolie Africa' that is on the CD Belle
Epoque (see CDs).
Very often Doreen conducts cultural arts
workshops in schools, community centres or arts centres in Britain.
One such occasion was during the big Celebrate South Africa
festival in London in May 2001. She has also worked in this
capacity in other parts of Europe and USA and Canada. Two memorable
moments in her career were at the Royal Command Performance
Institute and at the launch
of Virgin airline's
route to South Africa. Currently
Doreen is a singer and dancer
in the fusion band Transglobal Underground. The band was on
a very successful
3-week European tour in March/April 2001, starting off at Cargo
in London (see photo). Doreen
was also with Transglobal Underground when they performed at
several WOMAD festivals in 2001 around
the world. Doreen and two other members
of Transglobal Underground sometimes appear as a smaller act
called Transglobal Undergrowth.
In 2004 Doreen performed at London's Coin
Street Festival. She also had a major acting role as Mama in
Beverley Naidoo's 'The Playground' which was staged for 6 weeks
as part of Black History month at The Polka Theatre in Wimbledon,
London. Doreen's 9-track solo album entitled London Zulu
was released in 2005 - look out for it!
Over the years Doreen was a strong
activist for women's issues including being a founder of WOMA,
an organisation that gives support to women affected by AIDS
in Africa. After a long battle with cancer, Doreen passed away
on 1st June 2010. Her family and friends treasure their memories
of her. May she rest in peace.