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Dorothy Masuka

Dorothy Masuka was born in 1935 in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe (the country known as Southern Rhodesia in those days). Her father was originally from Zambia and her mother was a Zulu. As a young girl aged 12, her family moved to South Africa and she was fortunate to attend a Catholic boarding school in Johannesburg. Dorothy's health had not been good. Her talent as a singer was very soon spotted and she took part in school concerts. She was attracted by American jazz and also the South African music scene when Dolly Rathebe became popular. An upcoming record company called Troubador invited Dorothy to audition and she was successful. That proved to be the first rung of her ladder to fame and doing what she really loved. 
At one time when Dorothy was just 16 she escaped the boarding school and went to Durban to join Philemon Mogotsi's African Ink Spots: her school and family wanted her to remain in school but she went back only for a short while and left again for Bulawayo. This time those responsible for her and the record company gave up and allowed her to pursue her career as a singer. While travelling back to Johannesburg she wrote the hit song 'Hamba Notsokolo'. By the age of 20 Dorothy had appeared on magazine covers and toured South Africa with a black musical revue, in which Miriam Makeba also took part, the popular African Jazz and Variety. Miriam mentions Dorothy and sings her composition 'Kulala' during her performance recorded on the CD En Public a Paris et Conakry. Another South African, Aura Msimang, has also covered the same song. Some of

Dorothy's compositions had serious themes and were banned by the authorities. She was in Bulawayo in 1961 when the Special Branch siezed the master recording of one song and she was advised not to return until it was safer... Between that time and 1965 Dorothy was in exile, working in Malawi and Tanzania. In 1965 she went back to Bulawayo but had to flee again, not to go back until the nation of Zimbabwe was formed in 1980.
She recorded the album Pata Pata in 1990. Two years later Dorothy went back to her favourite city, Johannesburg, and released another album, Magumede. In 2001 her album Mzilikazi was recorded. Dorothy still travels to perform in different parts of the world: in 2001 she took part in a special evening with Don Laka in London (see photo above) and then in 2002 she was in New York and joined the Mahotella Queens on stage. 
Dorothy performed in London in December 2002 to promote her new CD, The Definitive Collection.