Dorothy Masuka was born in Zimbabwe the then Rhodesia but received her schooling in South Africa and chose to stay there after graduating in order to pursue a musical career. She started out in a show called African Jazz and Variety, with Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela and others, imitating American jazz greats like Ella Fitzgerald.
With the full-blown emergence of Apartheid in Rhodesia, she moved to London where she lived for many years, performing on one occasion at Wembley during Harold Wilson's election campaign. Dorothy Masuka went back to Rhodesia in 1965 but left again and did not return until 1980.
Masuka's musical style is known as mabira: a fusion of swing and Zulu melodies, sung with great force and intensity. Her earlier songs, and most notably "Kutheni Zulu," were hard-edged and political, but she has since chosen to de-emphasize polemics in favor of poetics. Masuka's songs in the 1990s are upbeat and chipper. A veteran performer now, with more than 40 years of performing and touring under her belt, she is finally enjoying celebrity status in the world music world and hopes to crown her career by attaining the financial security that most African performers still lack. Dorothy Masuka was also the patron of the popular television show StarBrite in 2014 Zimbabwe.
In its move to show respect to those that have succeeded in the music industry, StarBrite in 2014 honoured Dorothy Masuka ‘Aunt Dot’. StarBrite brought Dorothy Masuka from South Africa in 2014 for the finals as the finalist were performing her songs on the finals. The StarBrite team welcomed her at the Harare International Airport, took her at PaRoots Restaurants where she enjoyed a traditional meal together with the finalist who later got the chance to receive mentorship from her at the Grange.