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DEATH OF MANDLA MASUKU (article first published : 2003-04-17)

The unexpected death of acclaimed KZN alto sax player Mandla Masuku has saddened followers. A contemporary of well-known guitarist Sipho Gumede, Masuku died in Durban this week after a short illness.

"Mandla was a very reserved, deep man who kept his private life scrupulously apart from his career," says Sipho Gumede. "He was a good friend and an excellent musician, and will be missed by all who knew him, and the many who heard him play during his all-too-short career."

Masuku was a largely self-trained musician who went on to earn a degree in music at the University of Natal in Durban. His career as a sax player gained impetus in the early '80s when he joined the group Stax and then linked forces with Sipho Gumede.

The two musicians worked together with the group Stimela in Gauteng and made several recordings during that period. Masuku later embarked on a solo career, performing widely in Southern Africa. On his return to Durban in the early '90s, he joined 'Sankomotha,' and periodically did guest spots with Stax.

Masuku leaves his wife Nomthandazo and seven children. A memorial service will be held in his honour at the BAT Centre on April 20 from 12h00. The burial will be conducted on Easter Monday from the musician's home at D1175, Kwamashu. Enquiries may be directed to the BAT Centre on 031 332 0451.




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