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Aunty Dot: Still rocking at 75

She seems to have a perennial spring of energy.

When she performed at the Harare Jazz Festival recently, Dorothy Masuka, popularly known as Aunty Dot, left many wondering where she gets her energy from.

She believes that her days are numbered but still guarantees her fans that the stage will be her death bed.

“When you live, breathe and embrace music, you don’t just give up but you keep going until your last step is determined,” she proclaims.

She still has passionate dreams she hopes to fulfill as long as she lives.

“I still want to perform for my fans for long. I want to sit down with my fans and reminisce about the old days when I was still based here,” she said.

Born on September 3, 1936 in Zimbabwe, Dorothy Masuka is one of the surviving members of the original Jazz outfit the Cool Crooners.

A day before the Harare Jazz Festival, she went on a tour of Mbare and St Peters High School in Highfield where she did her primary education.

She chose five children whom she will assist with school fees and other needs.

“These are my roots and I will support these kids and provide for them with every need.

“I will pay their fees and buy them uniforms and taken care of their basic needs until they are adults.

“This is how music can make you realise the need to change society not only through entertaining but taking responsibility for what you should be doing as a human being”, Masuka said.

Born in Bulawayo to a Zulu mother and Lozi father, Masuka says she is proudly Zimbabwean.

She is one of the few women who set the ball rolling in jazz circles, during the era of the Township Jazz Music.

She hit the charts in the 50s when she popularised ‘Pata Pata’ and she later on released such as ‘Imali Yam Iphel’, Eshabhini and Hamba Nontsokolo ‘which alongside some of Miriam Makeba’s songs became popular township shops and homes.

During her performance at the Harare Jazz Festival she perfomed songs such as the famous Ndiwe Muroyi, Nhingirikini and Malaika.

The songs were very popular with the audience.

The musician now owns a five-acre piece of land in Choma, a rural place in Zambia where she interacts with the Tonga speaking people.

“I am fed up with City life, my soul was searching for a unique place where I could find happiness and where I am close to nature.

“I have finally found the place and it reminds me of my early life.

“In September I will be celebrating my 75th birthday and I know that I no longer have as many years on earth.”

If you thought age was working against her, Masuka still performs at a number of clubs internationally taking African sounds and the songs that made history in jazz circles to different generations.

“I perfom these songs as a way of reminding other people that Africans truly have their own identity and the fact that they have contributed so much to the existence of jazz music”.

“Currently nothing can stop me from singing eloquently and the only thing that might stop me from singing is that thing that took my friend (Miriam Makeba) away on stage when she was performing her favourite song.”

Makeba collapsed during a performance and died a few hours later.

“It was one of the very cruel moments in my life, seeing her lie on stage after she fell down.

“I thought I could embrace her with love after the performance but my wish was just too expensive for her time”.


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