Mgudlwa, Masdorp

MGUDLWA, Masdorp ‘Shakes’


b. 29 December 1936, Flagstaff (in former Transkei)

d. 15 July 1971 Manzini, Swaziland


Masdorp Mgudlwa received his primary schooling at Flagstaff and secondary schooling at Lovedale High School. He completed his Junior Certificate in 1952. Mgudlwa later studied further by correspondence. 


Mgudlwa began piano lessons at Lovedale, but dropped them, as he did not find the lessons interesting.  However, the privilege of having a piano at home enabled him to continue his piano studies, teaching himself. It is possible that during this time, he received guidance from his mother, herself a self-taught pianist. 


In 1958, Mgudlwa went to East London, where he met the well known saxophonist Eric Nomvete. Nomvete became Mgudlwa’s mentor and introduced him to the East London band world. Mgudlwa began performing in night clubs in a group led by Nomvete. He later joined the groups Jazz Dazzlers and Early Mabuza Quintette. In 1966, the former group played as part of the Ithembeni Variety Show, which was staged in Lesotho, Johannesburg, Durban and the Free State. In the same year, Mgudlwa had also begun making recordings for the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). On the 12th  of July 1971, while fulfilling an engagement in a nightclub in Manzini, Mgudlwa was admitted to hospital with a liver complaint. He died three days later.




1.Ernest Walk


3.Little Lulu



6.This Blue Day

7.Tribute to Nick






Huskisson, Y.  1969.  The Bantu Composers of Southern Africa.  South African Broadcasting Corporation.

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