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By Nomazulu Moyo

JOHANNESBURG – Former South African President, Thabo Mbeki, headlined a list of dignitaries who attended the funeral service and subsequent burial of African jazz icon, Dorothy Masuka in Johannesburg Sunday.

The Zimbabwean-born Masuka, who succumbed to mild stroke at the age of 83 Wednesday, was laid to rest at the West Park Cemetery, in a burial attended by hundreds of people who included politicians, fellow musicians and music fans.

Albert Nyathi addresses fellow mourners at Masuka’s funeral service. Photo by Nomazulu Moyo

Her funeral service was held at the University of Johannesburg’s Soweto campus, with Mbeki and Nathi Mthethwa, South Africa’s Minister of Arts and Culture, among those who turned out to bid farewell to the award-winning musician, one of the many voices of the Southern African country’s liberation struggle that brought independence in 1994.

Also in attendance was Masuka’s best friend, Abigail Kubheka, and legendary Zimbabwean poet and singer, Albert Nyathi.

Masuka’s daughter, Nosizo Machaya, paid the family’s gratitude to fellow mourners, for the support they rendered her family during its most difficult time.

“This has been a difficult time for us and we appreciate your presence here, to come and celebrate this daughter of the soil. She will always be missed.”

Nyathi described Auntie Doty as a mother and aunt to everyone. 

“Mum Dorothy was a mother and aunt to everyone. As Zimbabweans and Africans as a whole, we are mourning with the family and it’s so sad that she died while we’ve just lost Oliver Mtukudzi and Charles Mungoshi, the writer,” said Nyathi.

Dorothy Masuka was laid to rest at the West Park Cemetery in Johannesburg Sunday. Photo by Nomazulu Moyo.

Another singer and friend of Masuka’s, Mara Louw, recounted how the duo used to travel together around the world, adding no-one could compete with Mme Dorothy, especially in composing songs. 

“She had a gift of writing songs that everybody would emulate. No one could compete with her,” said Louw.

Minister Mthethwa said her passing away was a great loss to the music fraternity, while other speakers put emphasis on how Masuka’s music played a huge role in the fight apartheid, resulting in her spending about half her life in exile.

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