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RIP Hugh Masekela

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 Jazz musician Hugh Masekela Parliament Jazz musician Hugh Masekela

Tributes pour in for legendary Jazz musician


January 23, 2018

Staff Reporter

Pretoria, South Africa: President Jacob Zuma has expressed his heartfelt condolences following the passing of the legendary jazz artist, trumpeter, cultural activist and liberation struggle veteran Hugh Masekela.

The President described the passing of Masekela as sad.

Masekela passed away at the age of 78 following a battle with prostate cancer.

The Masekela family said in a statement confirming his death he had passed away peacefully.

“After a protracted and courageous battle with prostate cancer, he passed peacefully in Johannesburg, South Africa surrounded by his family,” read the statement.

Passing his condolences Zuma said:“The nation mourns one its most recognisable signature talent in the person of Bra Hugh Masekela. It is an immeasurable loss to the music industry and to the country at large.

“His contribution to the struggle for liberation will never be forgotten. We wish to convey our heartfelt condolences to his family and peers in the arts and culture fraternity at large. May his soul rest in peace.”

Masekela was one of the pioneers of jazz music in South Africa whose talent was recognised and honoured internationally over many years.

Zuma said he kept the torch of freedom alive globally fighting apartheid through his music and mobilising international support for the struggle for liberation and raising awareness of the evils of apartheid.

In 2010, President Zuma bestowed the National Order of Ikhamanga in Gold to Masekela for his exceptional contribution to music and the struggle against apartheid in South Africa.

Minister of Arts, Nathi tweeted: “A baobab tree has fallen, the nation has lost a one of a kind musician with the passing of Jazz legend bra Hugh Masekela. We can safely say bra Hugh was one of the great architects of Afro-Jazz and he uplifted the soul of our nation through his timeless music.”

On behalf of Parliament, the presiding officers extended their deepest condolences to the family and friends of the iconic musician. 

Parliament said in a statement: "Since the 1950s, his music has portrayed the hardships, sorrows, joys and passions of our country and the struggle for freedom from oppression and injustice.

"It was music which resonated internationally and continues to appeal and shape the contemporary arts landscape. Amongst his unforgettable masterpieces, which fired up revolutionary consciousness, were Grazing in the Grass, the sombre power of Stimela, Soweto Blues which spoke of the 1976 youth protest, and Bring Him Back Home - the song that became an anthem for the movement to free Nelson Mandela."

"Bra Hugh’s enduring legacy will live on and South Africa and the world will continue to draw inspiration from his accomplished, odds-defying, selfless and inspirational life," read the statement.