Drive to build home for legendary indigenous musician

Indigenous musician Madosini
IN TUNE: Indigenous musician Madosini

Legendary Eastern Cape indigenous musician Madosini Latozi Mpahleni, 77, will see her greatest dream realised if the campaign to build her a house in her home province succeeds.

The Xhosa instrumentalist, widely recognised for preserving and spreading Xhosa tradition within and beyond Africa’s borders, lost her Eastern Cape home in a tornado and has been left with two rondavels in Libode and one small flat in Cape Town, where she is now based.

Fondly referred to as just Madosini, the musician’s wish is to spend the last years of her life in her home province.

The campaign to build Madosini a home was started by music production organisation and venue Rootspring as a way to appreciate the musician while she is still alive.

They have raised R29,000 since July.

The aim is to raise R900,000 and start building in the first half of 2021, if all goes according to plan.

The campaign is seeking not only financial donations but expertise in the form of architects and building materials, among other contributions relevant to the cause.

Rootspring general manager Ebony Blundell said they were confident the community of SA would make Madosini’s dream of a dignified retirement a reality.

Blundell said Cape Town architect Patty Price, Peter Golding of Pam Golding Properties and town planner Piet Jonas were just some of the people who had come on board to assist.

“Price has volunteered her time and expertise.

“She recently came back from a visit to Madosini in her home town in Libode.

“She took measurements and soil samples, and chatted to Madosini and the family about their perspectives and what integrated design features needed to be considered to suit their lifestyle.

“She is doing a basic sketch of the plans for the premises, which we all feel very excited about.”

Blundell said this was an important initiative to Rootspring, whose aim is to support musicians who dedicate their lives to spreading love through music.

“We want these musicians to feel respected.

“Madosini is so deserving of this respect. As a traditional bow player, she is a living symbol of the ancient African roots of music.

“She has just received her doctorate in music from Rhodes University, and that really speaks to her dedication to her craft over the years,” Blundell said.

The veteran composer and storyteller popularised traditional instruments such as the uhadi (music bow), umrhumbe (mouth bow) and isitolotolo (Jew’s harp).

She has proudly performed Xhosa folk music on international stages such as the Womad festivals, where she was also documented in their Musical Elders Project.

Over the years she has performed with renowned artists Ringo, Thandiswa Mazwai, Derek Gripper, Hilton Schilder, Gilberto Gil and many more.

She was meant to receive the honorary doctorate at the National Arts Festival in Makhanada where she was named the 2020 featured artist, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic events could not go ahead as planned.

Madosini also conquered the deadly virus after she was hospitalised at the St Barnabas Hospital in Libode.

In July, she said she had attempted to rebuild her house in Libode three times but failed due to circumstances beyond her control.

“The first time I wanted to rebuild the house, my only son died.

“I took the money I had saved and buried him.

“The second time my grandson died, and I used the money to bury him,” she said.

“The third time this year I got sick and was admitted to hospital.”

The public can donate towards the cause via Fundrazr or directly to the following details:

Bank account Name: The Property Foundation 

Standard Bank

Acc #: 310 803 195

Branch Code: 025 109

Ref: Madosini 


Follow the campaign on the Facebook page Build Madosini a Home.


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