Mzansi Afrika

From Johannesburg South Africa, a window on the world

Friday, September 17, 2004

Hamba Kahle Dolly Rathebe

Picture by
Jurgen Schadeburg

South Africa has lost one of it's great jazz and entertainment legends. Dolly Rathebe died yesterday at the Ga-Rankuwa Hospital outside Pretoria at the age of 74. She had been admitted to hospital after suffering from a mild stroke.

Picture via Dispatch Online

"Dolly Rathebe rose to fame at nineteen years of age, in 1949, when she starred in the film Jim Comes to Jo’burg as a nightclub singer. After the film was shown she became a natural choice for Drum to feature on its cover but when Jürgen Schadeberg, a Drum magazine photographer, took her to the mine dumps to shoot the cover girl picture, the two were arrested for contravening the Immorality Act, which forbade interracial relationships. Dolly soon became the nation’s sweetheart. Her name, Dolly, became part of township slang meaning "okay". By the 1950s she was singing with Johannesburg’s top bands, touring the country and even going as far as Lourenço Marques with the Manhattan Stars and the Harlem Swingsters." (More)


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