October 20, 2004 by

Dolly Rathebe

1 comment

Categories: Actors, Musicians

drathebe.jpgDolly Rathebe, the “Ella Fitzgerald” of South Africa, died on Sept. 16 after suffering a stroke. She was 76.
Born Josephine Malatsi, she adopted the name Dolly Rathebe after launching a career as a nightclub singer in Johannesburg to support her family. Rathebe was only 19 years old when she starred in the 1949 film “Jim Comes to Jo

One Response to Dolly Rathebe

  1. ife

    I had the priviledge of meeting this lovely and charming woman while a graduate student at the University of Florida. She came to Gainesville to perform and she was certainly an excellent performer. I was immediately drawn to her and she simply reminded me of my beloved grandmother. She embraced my younger sister and myself and spoke to me as if she always knew me even though that was my first time ever meeting her. She told me about her life and her struggles and how lucky she felt to have been “discovered” at such an early age and encouraged me at the time not to ever forego of my education, dreams and to go as far as I could and to always remember to take care of my mother. She even went further by giving my younger sister and I Xhosa names. She also wrote me a letter when she returned to South Africa which I’ve kept over the years and responded but never heard back from her again. Every once in a while, I decide to see if she has any upcoming concerts and was simply shocked tonight to find out that she’s gone. She will surely be missed and even though I didn’t have the priviledge to know her for a lengthy period of time, my brief encounter with her was quite inspiring. My sister and I would like to send our prayers to her family and to agree with everyone that she was indeed a great woman who touched so many lives and we feel quite fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet her.

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