Veteran South African singer Dorothy Masuka, aka Aunty Dot
As someone, who annoyed white supremacists in South Africa during the apartheid era, Masuka gained a long history with Tanzania. Although born in Zimbabwe, she moved to South Africa at the age of 19, where she worked as a jazz singer.
However, her controversial songs, which include ?Dr Malan? and ?Patrice Lumumba?, led her into exile in 1961. While in Tanzania, she joined forces with now the late South African singer, Miriam Makeba, with whom she toured the country motivating audiences towards the liberation struggle.
In 1963, during the Kenya independence celebrations, the two songstresses sang an evergreen ode to the neighbouring country?s first president, Jomo Kenyatta, called ?Pole Mzee?.
Together, they left Africa for exile travelling as Tanzanians, just like now the late Nelson Mandela had done during the liberation struggle.
No wonder the ZIFF Festival Director, Professor Martin Mhando, referred to her expected visit as an ?honour?. ?It just shows how much she (Masuka) values the role of the arts in society.
We would love her to meet with President Ali Mohamed Shein of Zanzibar, as he is an ardent lover of The Arts and is known to admire veteran artists like the Zanzibar icon Bibi Siti bint Saad,? Mhando explained.
At ZIFF, Masuka is expected to meet with government leaders, including the Zanzibar Second Vice- President, Ambassador Seif Ali Iddi, together with being a guest at both the launch and opening ceremonies of the event on July 18.
The following day the veteran songstress will perform at the Old Fort, to which music enthusiasts are strongly encouraged to purchase their tickets early to avoid disappointment.
While in Zanzibar she will rehearse and perform with the Tanzania House of Talents (THT) band, most of whose members were not even born during her heyday.
Masuka is also expected to visit Dar es Salaam, where plans are underway to enable her meet with Mama Maria Nyerere, who is well known to her from the liberation struggle days.
Mhando also said Ruge Mutahaba of Clouds Media Group is currently looking at the possibility of organising a performance for the government and society leaders, while the visiting Masuka is in Dar es Salaam.
By IMAN MANI, Tanzania Daily News