Dr Sazi Dlamini was born in 1966 and matriculated from Amanzimtoti Zulu Training School, formally known as Adams Mission, in 1979. He studied in Durban and graduated from the then University of Natal with a Diploma in Musical Performance in jazz guitar, which was followed by a Bachelor in Music degree, specialising in Jazz and Jazz studies in 1995, and a Masters in Ethnomusicology in 1997.
In 2008 Dr Dlamini achieved his PhD in Musicology with research on South African jazz in exile, for his thesis entitled “South African Blue Notes: bebop, mbaqanga, apartheid and the exiling of a musical imagination”.
Dr Sazi Dlamini is an ethno-musicologist, composer and performer in the unique style of South African township, boasting many Afro-township and African jazz compositions and performance collaborations, including for dance and theatre productions. In 1991 he was a co-founder of the band iSkokiana, and he has recorded many original musical pieces that employ indigenous Nguni instruments such as bows, drums and flutes, which he has manufactured himself; as well as other African musical instruments. He 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 musical performance across cultures and genres of music. This talent has provided him a unique edge when composing commissioned works for the feature films, documentary films and TV projects that are part of his creative output.
The preservation and promotion of indigenous KZN music genres such as maskandi, mbaqanga, isicathamiya and children’s musical performance, as well as theatre and dance, not to mention the crucial aspect of the role of performance in music education and social transformation is of key importance to Dr. Sazi Dlamini.
He is a research musicologist and lecturer in Music History & Culture at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and is involved in leading research initiatives for the recording and processing of music archival resources. He highlights 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.