Latozi Mpahleni, better known as Madosini, was born in 1943 in Mpondoland, Eastern Cape. She is a well known South African musician and singer who has performed all over the world. She plays traditional instruments like the uhade and the mhrubhe musical bows, and other instruments that she has invented and built herself.
When she was a child she hurt her leg and she was not able to play with other girls her age, so she learned to play music. She even learned to play instruments that were reserved for married women.
Madosini lives in a tiny two room condo in Langa, one of the older and more established townships of Cape Town.
She receives me in her kitchen/bedroom. Her grandkids are sleeping in the only other room.
Her niece Pumza asks Madosini to play for me (Madosini doesn’t speak English) and she fetches her instruments and starts playing sounds I had never heard before, voices deeper and lower than I had heard a woman produce, sounds that seem to come from the very heart of Africa.
Pedro Espi-sanchis, the musician who often performs with Mandosini, explains me that many of her instruments come from the bushmen and that she is the only person who knows how to play them, she is a living treasure. Pedro thinks that Madosini’s music is the oldest root of jazz and that’s why it’s so easy for her to improvise with jazz musicians. She doesn’t only perform, but she also teaches and is a wonderful story teller. Her greatest passions is telling stories about older times, when she was growing in the Eastern Cape, and stories she had heard her elders tell.
When I ask Madosini to do what she normally does she rushes back to to the stove and starts making a carrot soup for the grandkids. “That’s her greatest concern”, Pumza says, “she spends most of her time taking care of the children.”
Madosini is always laughing and smiling but she quickly gets annoyed with me. “You don’t want to hear me play”,, she tells me through Pumza, “you don’t wa
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