The rock behind King Kong’s creator
Esme Matshikiza went into exile in London with her husband, the great Todd Matshikiza, and held the family together as they eked out an existence there. Chris Barron looks at the life of this dignified woman who never sought or expected special treatment as the widow of the man behind SA’s iconic musical
Esme Matshikiza, who has died in Cape Town at the age of 92, was the widow of Todd Matshikiza, the composer of the jazz musical King Kong. The show premiered in the main hall of Wits University in 1959 with their friend Nelson Mandela in the (segregated) audience. The next day he was in court for the resumption of the Treason Trial.
In 1960 Esme and Todd left SA on an exit permit with their two children for King Kong’s UK tour, knowing they wouldn’t be allowed back...