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Magogo ka Dinizulu, Constance (1900–1984)

Magogo ka Dinizulu, Constance (1900–1984)

South African composer, singer, ugubhu player, and princess whose songs were connected with Zulu life and history . Born in Nongoma, South Africa, in 1900; died in Durban on November 21, 1984; daughter of Chief Dinuzulu Ka Cetshwayo; married Chief Mathole Shenge Buthelezi; children: son, Chief Mangosutho Buthelezi, was chief minister of KwaZulu.

Princess Magogo Ka Dinizulu learned the Zulu musical repertoire from her mother and grandmothers, memorizing songs that date back to the 18th century. She learned to play the ugubhu, a musical bow, the umakhweyana bow, and the European autoharp. When Magogo Ka Dinizulu married, she became the primary wife of Chief Mathole. The couple moved to Kwa Phindagene, living in the hills above Mahlabathini. Their son, Chief Mangosutho Buthelezi, would become a powerful figure in South African politics like his parents. Princess Magogo continued to sing and compose songs of a court and ceremonial nature after her marriage, and also sang traditional songs. Her singing was recorded by Hugh Tracey in 1939; other experts followed suit in the 1950s. Recognized as an authority, she was frequently consulted on her knowledge of Zulu music and served as musical consultant for the film Zulu. Articles on her composing and singing career appeared in South African and European journals. Through her singing and composing, Princess Magogo helped to keep Zulu traditional culture alive.

John Haag , Athens, Georgia

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