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Legendary Jazz Musician Hugh Masekela Passes On

Updated: Sep 13, 2022

South African Music legend Hugh Masekela has passed on. The Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa confirmed the news this morning on twitter. Bra Hugh, as his adoring fans called him passed on at the age of 78, after being diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008.

The Jazz legend was pronounced dead at a Johannesburg hospital after his 10-year battle with prostate cancer. Masekela was scheduled to perform at the Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival in October 2017 but cancelled to focus solely on fighting his battle with cancer.

Hugh Masekela was born on the 4th of April 1939 in Witbank. Hugh ignited his love for music at a very young age, he began by playing the piano. Masekela joined the first South African youth orchestra, the Huddleston Jazz Band, after being helped by an anti-apartheid activist Trevor Huddleston who assisted with getting him his first trumpet and paying for his fees to

learn music.

Masekela relocated to London after receiving a role in an all African jazz opera ‘King Kong’. During his stay in London, he enrolled at the London Guildhall School of Music but later moved to the Manhattan School of Music in New York. He released his debut album ‘Trumpet Africaine’ in 1963. Hugh Masekela’s has been active in the South African Jazz industry for over 50 years, with the release of 40 albums. Masekela has worked with many greats such as Harry Balefonte, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Paul Simon, the late Miriam Makeba and many more.

Bra Hugh has recieved many awards including: being honoured by President Jacob Zuma with the The Order of Ikamanga in 2010; a Lifetime Achievement Award at the WOMEX World Music Expo in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2011; the MTV Africa Music Legend Award and SAMMA awards.

We would like to commemorate Hugh Masekela on this day and send our condolences to the legends friends and family. Rest In Peace Bra Hugh, your music will forever live on.

Watch Hugh's legendary video 'Stimela' as we keep Bra Hugh's music in our hearts

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