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Madosini’s legacy will live on

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Latozi isiXhosa multi-instrumentalist Madosini Mpahleni with a signature instrument. PHOTO: facebook
Latozi isiXhosa multi-instrumentalist Madosini Mpahleni with a signature instrument. PHOTO: facebook

“Despite being an international superstar, she was very humble. Regarding her legacy, it’s timeless and undeniable.”

So says Andrea Dondolo, reacting to the departure of Dr Latozi “Madosini” Mpahleni, with whom she worked for many years.

A world-renowned authority on traditional isiXhosa expression through music, she was known as the only one to play several instruments equally well, including the uhadi, umrhubhe and isitolotolo, combining her music with storytelling that evoked hope.

Dondolo described the passing of Madosini, as she was affectionately known, as a “great loss” to her family and the nation. Succumbing last month to heart complications, she was buried on Saturday 7 January, in Mkhankatho village in Libode, Eastern Cape.

Madosini earned many accolades during her career, including the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Arts and Culture Trust. She was also honoured with a Honorary Doctorate from Rhodes University last year.

“She was treasured, generous with her gift, talent and knowledge,” Dondolo said. “Working with her was an invaluable experience, especially since our projects focused on planting seeds for tomorrow, particularly through young people.”

Dondolo worked with Madosini to recruit more instrument players.

“By their passion, stamina and zeal alone will Madosini’s baton be passed on effortlessly,” she said.

“No two sessions were the same with Madosini. She had a deep love for storytelling and had a weird sense of humour.”

Dondolo said despite her international superstar status Madosini was “very humble”. “Just because she has passed on her music will live on forever, whether used for training or serving as scores for shows and movies.”

Western Cape Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Anroux Marais said the doyenne of the isiXhosa music idiom’s legendary work and selfless commitment to arts and culture through her music ensured her legacy will live on long after her passing.

Moreover, throughout her career, she collaborated with many big-name musicians, such as Thandiswa Mazwai, Gilberto Gil, Dizu Plaatjies, Mzwandile Qotoyi, Jonny Blundell, Lulu Plaatjies and Pedro Espi-Sanchis.

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