Tributes pour in for legendary Madosini

Dr Latozi ‘Madosini’ Mpahleni died in Mthatha after a lengthy illness. Picture: Ian Landsberg.

Tributes continue to pour in for legendary Xhosa musician Dr Latozi “Madosini” Mpahleni who died at the age of 78, in Mthatha on Friday after a lengthy illness.

Madosini, as she was fondly known, earned many awards during her career, including the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Arts and Culture Trust.

She used her talent to bring hope through plays on isiXhosa traditional instruments like the uhadi, mhrubhe and isitolotolo.

Under the banner of the Madosini Indigenous Music Legacy project, in partnership with the Calabash story-telling organisation, Madosini used to conduct musical workshops on Saturdays at the Look Out Hill, in Khayelitsha. The initiative was funded by the Department of Arts and Culture.

She previously told Vukani that she had taught herself to master playing her instruments, through continuous practice, as only few people were still using them.

“I only know three people who still play these instruments but they are not well-known people,” she had said. “It is absolutely important for me to share the wisdom and the knowledge I have gained throughout the years with the young ones because they are the future generation.”

She said that the music had been left to fade away in the country and her concern was that foreign artists would adopt it, modernise it and sell it again.

“How is this (interview) going to help?” she asked. “It is not going to change my life because there is no interest in this kind of music in our country. Overseas people are more interested in it. White people like this music a lot. Some travelled from as far as Switzerland to learn about it,” she had said at the time.

Throughout her career, she collaborated with many well established artists, including Thandiswa Mazwai, Gilberto Gil, Dizu Plaaitjies, Mzwandile Qotoyi, Jonny Blundell, Lulu Plaitjies and Pedro Espi-Sanchis.

Her most recent performance was at the Ingoduko concert at the Artscape theatre that took place from Thursday September 29 until Saturday October 1.

The concert aimed at promoting documentation of music from different cultures with an insight into indigenous music that represents some of the earliest roots of jazz in Africa.

Artscape Chief Executive Officer, Marlene Le Roux said they were honoured to have hosted Madosini at the concert.

MEC for Cultural Affairs and Sport Anroux Marais said: “Our heartfelt condolences go out to the Madonsini’s family, loved ones and friends. Madonsini’s legendary work and selfless commitment to the arts and culture sector through her music ensured that her legacy will live on long after her passing.”