Madosini is our main cultural ingredient

The author and Madosini
The author and Madosini

Poet BULELWA BASSE recently hosted a dialogue between traditional music Icon Madosini Latozi Mpahleni and learners from Homba Primary School in Khayelitsha. In this article, she reflects on her experience and awe of deliberations.

What a privilege(it was) to be in the presence of South Africa’s national treasure…

A wealth of wisdom, a well of indigenous knowledge(endowed with a) plethora of African idioms at play.

I’m blessed to have been Dialogue Facilitator, (last Friday) between Homba Primary School students and Mama Madosini Lazoti Mpahleni – the queen of isiXhosa traditional music.

Born in 1922, in the Eastern Cape Province, Madosini has graced world stages with her indigenous musical pride of mastering uHadi, Mhrubhe musical bows and isiTolotolo instrument – and those of us who have encountered her musical gifts have walked away all the more richer. This marvellous Mama of mine, is rooted in my home-community – Langa Township, and has been proudly recorded to be the first to feature in the WOMAD Festival Musical Elders Archives Project. I extend much thanks, to Calabash Storytellers and the Department of Arts and Culture, for assigning me the pleasure of being keeper of the moment.

My calling is simple: To bridge the gap between the young and old through intergenerational interaction. Our identity, culture and heritage can only be preserved through historical documentation. We are our history, and the conversations and encounters we share today are the future.

With our names, we shall fulfil our destiny – and even though my middle name is colonial to my people, I believe I live up to my grandmother’s aspiration, to be a “Bridget”, over which Africa’s heritage is crossed over from mother to child. We shall convert our curses to blessings, our oppression to victory, our poverty to wealth. Let this extraordinary encounter, become a public pledge for Africans to reaffirm themselves to each other… That we shall all become bridges that curve like rainbows in the tallest sky, upholding the legacy our mothers and fathers, who’ve sacrificed themselves for us to shine as brightly as they envisage our tomorrow…”

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