Dolly Rathebe was at the forefront of music development in Southern Africa from the 1950s. By the 1960s she was acclaimed as the country's leading female jazz vocalist and film actress. Her position as the leading blues singer on the African continent remains uncontested. In addition to her contribution to music, Rathebe acted in a television dramas and feature films. Music's matriarch died in 2004 at the age of 74.