This morning (23/01/2018), the heart-breaking news broke that Hugh Masekela, more affectionately known as the ‘Father of South African jazz’ has sadly passed away.?
The 78-year-old had been battling prostate cancer since 2008.
Hugh was an award-winning musician and will not only be remembered for his musical talent, but also the role he played in the anti-apartheid movement through his music – with songs like Soweto Blues and Bring Him Back Home.
Heartwarming tributes for the music giant have poured in since the sad news of his death broke:
1954 Hugh Masekela recieves a trumpet as a gift from Louis Amstrong. What moves me about this picture is the passion and love he had for the Trumpet , the excitement on his face is contagious ?? pic.twitter.com/DB2EkRJr9w
— Siyabonga Beyile (@SiyaBeyile) January 23, 2018
Long Live Bra Hugh Masekela. pic.twitter.com/ekP0c7Z1fJ
— stingy millenial (@NeoBaepii) January 23, 2018
Such devastating news about the passing on of SA's Father of Jazz Hugh Masekela. Condolences to the Masekela family. Lala ngoxolo Bra Hugh. What a life. What a legend.
— Khanyi Dhlomo (@KhanyiDhlomo) January 23, 2018
— Kgopolo Phil Mphela (@PhilMphela) January 23, 2018
Sad news. RIP Bra Hugh Masekela… pic.twitter.com/D9220e0KzV
— #Umlilo #ERAbyDJZinhle #ZeeNation (@DJZinhle) January 23, 2018
— Write Pen (@kudzaivanyoro1) January 23, 2018
He was one of the best musicians in the country. His music will relive in our heart.We lost another legend ?
Rest In Peace Bra Hugh Masekela pic.twitter.com/nyrXUAP0rj
— #VibeWithMeITakePhotos? (@NdivhuMPhotogra) January 23, 2018
Cant describe how sad I am by the passing of Uncle Hugh Masekela. A true OG of the music industry and a mentor to young minds all over the world. Its very rare for older artists to embrace youngers but Hugh did that for me and I will always be grateful. May God Rest His Soul.
— MR MAKHADO™️ (@rikyrickworld) January 23, 2018
Hugh Masekela was 14 when he started playing the trumpet.
— Christo (@ChristoThurston) January 23, 2018
The Masekela family have released a statement expressing their deep gratitude and sorrow surrounding his death.
Read the full statement, below:
‘It is with profound sorrow that the family of Ramapolo Hugh Masekela announce his passing. After a protracted and courageous battle with prostate cancer, he passed peacefully in Johannesburg, South Africa, surrounded by his family.
‘A loving father, brother, grandfather and friend, our hearts beat with profound loss. Hugh’s global and activist contribution to and participation in the areas of music, theatre, and the arts in general is contained in the minds and memory of millions across 6 continents and we are blessed and grateful to be part of a life and ever-expanding legacy of love, sharing and vanguard creativity that spans the time and space of 6 decades. Rest in power beloved, you are forever in our hearts.
‘We will, in due course, release details of memorial and burial services. Hugh Masekela was someone who always engaged robustly with the press on musical and social political issues. We laud the press for respecting his privacy through his convalescence, and during this, our time of grief. Our gratitude to all and sundry for your condolences and support.’
Hugh’s son, Sal Masekela has also expressed his pain in an Instagram post.
See his full statement, below:
View this post on Instagram
It is with heavy heart that I confirm that my father, Hugh Ramapolo Masekela, has hung up his horn after a long battle with prostate cancer. It is difficult to comprehend that this moment is real. To me, my father has always been both ageless and immortal. Of the countless shows I had the honor of watching my dad perform, each felt like the first, each felt brand new. At the age of 5 he first introduced me to the late night halls of Manhattan’s The Village Gate and Mikell’s, where he would steal the hearts and souls of innocents with a musical storytelling all his own, passionately and relentlessly transporting them to the farthest reaches of Africa with both voice and trumpet. It was these moments and his choosing to take me around the globe any chance he got, that would come to shape my entire world view. As a product of the meticulously designed apartheid regime of 20th century South Africa, my fathers life was the definition of activism and resistance. Despite the open arms of many countries, for 30 years he refused to take citizenship anywhere else on this earth. His belief too strong that the pure evil of a systematic racist oppression could and would be crushed. Instead he would continue to fight. He was right. To know Hugh Masekela was to know no matter class, creed, color, religion or any other made up distinctions, he stood with empathy and compassion, locked arm in arm with the distressed, displaced and downtrodden everywhere and anywhere on this planet. He carried a deep seeded belief in justice, freedom and equality for all peoples to the very end. He scoffed at the futile idea of borders defining humanity. Even more than all of that, it was his undying and childlike love for South Africa and the entire African continent; with its dizzying displays of natural beauty, music, art and culture that mesmerized me more than anything. He was beautifully obsessed with showcasing the endless magic and pageantry of African peoples to a western obsessed world. After a recent trip to Tanzania caused me to share with my dad that my heart was full, he simply said this to me, ‘I can give you my heart to take in the overspill’. ??
Rest in peace, Bra Hugh.?