Artscape CEO Marlene Le Roux ‘deeply saddened’ by Dr Madosini’s passing

Marlene Le Roux and Dr Madosini. Picture: Supplied

Marlene Le Roux and Dr Madosini. Picture: Supplied

Published Dec 29, 2022


Theatre practitioner and CEO of the Artscape Theatre in Cape Town, Dr Marlene Le Roux is “deeply saddened” by the passing of traditional music icon and instrumentalist Dr Latozi “Madosini” Mpahleni.

According to the family statement, the legendary Madosini passed away on Friday, December 23, at St Mary’s Hospital in Mthatha after a “relatively long illness”.

Gogo Madosini died from cardiac complications, two days before her 79th birthday.

“Having survived a heart attack whilst she was on a tour in France in 2019, as well as two Covid-19 attacks, her health status could not be back to its normalcy, as a result from time to the time she was admitted to hospital,” read the official press statement.

“Her last admission was at St Mary’s Hospital on the 3rd December 2022 where she subsequently succumbed at 16:15 on the 23rd December 2022.”

Speaking to IOL Entertainment, Le Roux said she was honoured to have known and worked with Madosini over the years.

“I had the absolute honour to host Dr Madosini’s last concert and spend time with her. And I told the staff this will be her last. I could feel it on stage,” expressed Le Roux.

Recalling her first encounter with Madosini, she said: “Madonisi played a significant role in my life in shaping my understanding of the experience of South African African and the African landscape of arts and culture by introducing and transporting me through her humbleness, kindness and her giving spirit to share her knowledge and skill to me as a young music student at UWC in the 80s.

“The legendary late jazz and choral master Duke Ngcukana took me by the hand as a rural girl and says now you will experience soul and music. And wow, it was Dr Madonisi.

“Later as a young activist, music teacher Professor Dizu Plaatjies and I with the help of SIDA ( Swedish Development Agency) in the early 90s did teacher training introducing the importance of indigenous music through the teaching and performing of the late Dr Madonisi.

“I feel blessed but also so deeply saddened that all of my beloveds pass on this time and icons who have done so much for Africa and globally for the good in the name of humanity.”

Dr Marlene Le Roux and Dr Latozi “Madosini” Mpahleni. Picture: Supplied

She continued to pay tribute to Madosini for her immense contribution to the theatre and entertainment industry, adding that she is thankful that she managed to give Madonisi her flowers while she could still smell them.

Thandeka Mfinyongo, Dr Marlene Le Roux and Dr Latozi “Madosini” Mpahleni.. Picture: Supplied

“Let us honour our legends and humble leaders while they are still alive and treat them with utmost respect and dignity.

“Ma Madosini humbled us all with her knowledge of music and indigenous instruments and life experience. For me, I only experienced love in her presence.

“She was to me a true musician, a cultural warrior, a custodian of our collective heritage and kept the Isixhosa traditions alive.”

Madosini’s last stage performance was at the Artscape’s Heritage “Ingoduko” concert, in September.

Dr Latozi “Madosini” Mpahleni performing at the “Ingoduko” concert, which was held at the Artscape in September. Picture: Supplied

The musical icon had teamed up with Cape Town-born musician and PhD candidate in Ethnomusicology, Thandeka Mfinyongo, in a musical showcase titled “Ingoduko,” to help shine the spotlight on the IsiXhosa indigenous instruments, uhadi and umrhubhe.

Dr Latozi “Madosini” Mpahleni performing at the “Ingoduko” concert, which was held at the Artscape in September. Picture: Supplied

The concert saw the return of Madosini to the stage for the first time in two and a half years.

“I missed being in front of crowds, cheering for me while I am on stage,” Madosini told IOL Entertainment.

The legendary musician, who fell sick while on a tour in France in 2019, said she was in good spirits as her health had improved significantly over years.

Despite the health challenges, Madosini continued to compose music and perform for small crowds.

“I felt really good as I was performing in front of my family, friends and fans and it was a heartfelt experience,” she added.

Madosini was also passionate about sharing her knowledge of indigenous music and instruments with the youth.

“I have taught many young people to play these instruments and they’re doing well. Also in my village, there is a girl that learnt uhadi very well and I am proud of that as I am leaving my legacy behind.”

Madosini is a South African cultural living legend and a 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award winner.

In 2020, she was named the National Arts Festival Featured Artist, which serves as a tribute to an artist who has made a significant mark on the country’s art landscape and has consistently exhibited exceptional talent, shaping the narrative of the art of South Africa.

Family spokesperson Phumza Mphahleni confirmed that a public memorial service will be held in Langa township on Wednesday, January 4, and the funeral service is set to take place on Saturday, January 7 at Mkankato, in Libode, Eastern Cape.

More details will follow.