Latozi Mphahleni – best known as Madosini – has been awarded the 2013 ACT Lifetime Achievement Award for Music.

The Arts & Culture Trust (ACT), with the support of the Southern African Music  Rights Organisation (SAMRO), has awarded Latozi Mphahleni – best known as Madosini – the 2013 ACT Lifetime Achievement Award for Music, in recognition of her contribution to the country’s cultural landscape.

Latozi Madosini Manqina was born in Umtata, in a village called Mqhekezweni in the Eastern Cape in 1943. The undisputed queen of indigenous music in South Africa, she is a great musician, composer, storyteller and dancer; producing extraordinary music, unique not just in its scope but in its variety and the range of feelings it evokes. Influenced by her mother, who was (also) an expert in the playing and making of indigenous musical instruments, Madosini sings and plays various indigenous instruments such as the umrubhe (mouth bow), uhadi (calabash musical bow) and sitolotolo (Jew’s harp).

Madosini’s music was first recorded in the early 70’s, and played on the radio without royalties being paid to her. In 1997, she worked with other musicians to produce an album. Her song Wen’usegoli also featured the South African film Yesterday (2004) starring Leleti Khumalo. In 2008 she featured in the song Lion in a Coma by Animal Collective, an internationally recognized experimental psychedelic band originally from Baltimore, Maryland. 

In 2008, Madosini performed at the WOMAD festival, and was the first person to be  recorded and documented in the festival’s Musical Elders Archives project. She has worked with the likes of Hans and Robert Brokes, Sibongile Khumalo, Thandiswa Mazwai, Mzwandile Qotoyi, Dizu Plaatjies and Pedro Espi-Sanchis. A charismatic practitioner, and representative of an age-old but gradually vanishing  endemic culture, Madosini is recognized as a national treasure and important  indigenous knowledge bearer, yet a huge discrepancy exists between the general  admiration for her art and any close interaction or involvement with it. Her role as a  traditionalist in a fast-changing society pose challenges for research and exploration in indigenous knowledge systems that are of on-going concern to South African intellectual and musical life.

Speaking in her mother tongue at the announcement ceremony in Johannesburg,  Madosini paid homage to her roots, told tales of her travels, and the value of  collaboration.

The 2013 ACT Awards ceremony was presented in association with the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO), the Dramatic, Artistic and Literary Rights Organisation (DALRO), Media24 Books, and the Vodacom Foundation and is supported by the Distell Foundation, CLASSICfeel Magazine, Business and Arts South Africa (BASA), KykNet and Pink Room Productions. The Awards scores are audited by Independent Registered Auditor, AL van Heerden.

For more information about the Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) please visit