Legendary musician receives honorary doctorate in music

Lantozi Madosini Mpahleni has received an honorary doctorate in music from the Rhodes University.

Legendary traditional musician Lantozi “Madosini” Mpahleni was recently awarded an honorary doctorate in music by Rhodes University.

The 79-year-old cemented her name in the music industry by playing rare traditional musical instruments such as Umrhube, Isitolotolo and uHadi.

But she does not only possess the skill of playing these instruments, she is also able to make these instruments herself.

Madosini is a musician, composer, poet, singer, story-teller and teacher. Speaking to Vukani from her home town in Libode in the Eastern Cape, Madosini said as someone who was not educated she had at first not understood the importance and meaning of what she had been honoured with.

But now that she understood the magnitude of it, said Madosini, the award meant the world to her, especially for someone who had dropped out of school before she could even finish her primary school years.

She said she was grateful to God and the ancestors for the gift she had been given.

“I had never though that in my life I would be honoured in a such a huge way.

“This means that the world is watching my work, and for that I’m grateful. I have no words to describe how I feel.

“I want to urge young people to learn this kind of music because age and health is not on my side. I want to pass all the knowledge that I have about this music to the young generation so that this music lives on.

“This is honour is not for me but for everyone who believed in me and showed their unwavering support,” she said.

Madosini said what made her even happier was the fact that she was honoured while she was still alive so that she could celebrate her success.

Talking about future plans, she said she was teaching young and old people about this music and how the instruments were made and that she believed young people needed to learn every little aspect of their heritage and culture so that they could embrace it.

Recalling how she had learnt to play these instruments, she said they were traditionally played by girls and that once she had learned to play them, she had been hooked.

Andrea Nomasebe Dondolo, who has worked with Madosini for years, said she was proud of her achievements.