UKZN Music lecturer Dr Sazi Dlamini was recently recognised as one of eThekwini’s Living Legends at the 9th eThekwini Living Legends Awards held at the ICC in Durban.
Congratulating the awardees, eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede said: ‘the award recognises eThekwini citizens who have dedicated their time and skills to uplift the communities they come from and have contributed to developing society at large.’ eThekwini city manager Sibusiso Sithole added: ‘They are agents of change in our communities who have made a contribution to the continued growth and success of African people.’
Dlamini is a composer, performer and ethno-musicologist who is celebrated for his many Afro-township and African jazz compositions and performance collaborations for dance and theatre productions, feature films, documentaries and TV.
He is also well known for making and playing indigenous Nguni instruments such as bows, drums and flutes and various other African musical instruments. Dlamini is a versatile performer and mediator across a regional diversity of musical performance, with a long-standing involvement in the creative contextualisation of indigenous, popular and formal music performance across cultures and genres of music.
‘Being recognised for such a prestigious award is indeed an honour,’ he said. ‘I am truly humbled by this and to share the award with other deserving living legends is amazing. I am in awe of the calibre of awardees, both past and present, and the award is an achievement that I am proud of.’
Dlamini is passionate about the role of performance in music education and social transformation and is an advocate for the preservation and promotion of indigenous KZN music such as maskandi, mbaqanga, isicathamiya and children’s musical performance.
‘It is important to look beyond the boundaries and to embrace and celebrate the diversity and beauty of culture,’ said Dlamini. ‘This award not only recognises all that we have done for our communities but it highlights that we are all human beings trying to make the world a better place through nation building, social change and performance art.’
He further highlighted the urgency to develop and harness digital and new media technologies for the preservation and easy access to both contemporary and historical musical research data. Hence, he is currently involved in leading research initiatives for the recording and processing of music archival resources at UKZN where he lectures in Music History and Culture.
Acting Dean and Head of UKZN’s School of Arts Professor Donal McCracken added: ‘The creative and performing arts at UKZN are really special, and the news that Dr Sazi Dlamini of our Music section has been named as one of our city’s Living Legends confirms this. He follows such UKZN notables as Professor Malegapuru Makgoba and Professor Himansu Baijnath in receiving this municipal honour. Dr Dlamini is an accomplished musician and ethno-musicologist who has actively advanced the cultural and historical study of African music in South Africa. We are very proud of him.’
Dlamini shares the Living Legends award with Minister of Science and Technology Dr Naledi Pandor, SA politician Mac Maharaj, founder of the Gift of the Givers Foundation Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, liberation activist Alzina Zondi, champion boxer Obed Gumede, musician Tu Nokwe, founder at 1000 Hills Community Helpers Dawn Leppan, photographer Cedric Nunn, former Military General Vejay Ramlakan and artist Professor Kate Wells.