Mama Latozi Mpahleni Picture: Supplied
Mama Latozi Mpahleni Picture: Supplied

I’ve fulfilled my life’s purpose, says Gogo Madosini

By Athandile Siyo Time of article published Sep 25, 2020

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Cape Town – Having spent her adult life as a locally recognised tradition bearer and internationally acclaimed translator of Xhosa music, Mama Latozi Mpahleni said having an honorary doctorate in music conferred on her meant she had fulfilled her life’s purpose.

Rhodes University will confer the doctorate at its 70th graduation ceremony early next year, alongside other luminaries - Father Michael Lapsley, Professor Patricia Ann Whitelock and Mary Maria Burton.

Instead of the traditional speech that honorary doctorates give at graduation ceremonies, Gogo Madosini, as Mpahleni is fondly known, is expected to respond with an “artistic act” that is to involve members of her ensemble - a first in the university’s graduation history.

The 76-year-old said receiving the news that she would be honoured meant she had fulfilled her purpose in life.

“I never thought that my music would get this far, but it’s clear that God has kept me alive to teach and influence the young ones on the kind of music I grew up playing.

“I have taught a lot of children, and I hope that they will continue and pass on the baton to all nations. My stomach has been filled with joy that I can’t even eat, I am truly excited and honoured,” she said.

Born in Libode in the Eastern Cape, Gogo Madosini said she started playing Uhadi (calabash resonated bow), Uhadi (mouth resonated bow) and Isitolotolo (Jewish harp) when she was 10 years old.

“I was taught to play these instruments by my mother and other girls who were older than me.

“It has always been a tradition passed on from one generation to the next and I have done the same. This music does not see colour or race. I want the world to be able to enjoy it,” she said.

Gogo Madosini’s daughter Phumza said: “We are proud to have been brought up by this exceptional woman. Mama’s music is educational and we take pride in that.

“She has taught us the importance and value of our culture, which goes hand in hand with the music and we hope others can learn as well.”

Cape Times

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