Published: Thu, January 25, 2018
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

Hugh Masekela, South African Jazz Musician, Dies at 78

Hugh Masekela, South African Jazz Musician, Dies at 78

Ramopolo Hugh Masekela was born in the coal-mining town of Witbank on April 4, 1939.

His catchy upbeat 1987 song "Bring Him Back Home" calling for Nelson Mandela's release from prison became an global anthem for the anti-apartheid movement. Do not cut, copy or lift any content from this website without our consent. Formed just before Masekela left apartheid South Africa for exile in May 1960, the band's only record, Jazz Epistle Verse 1, stands up as a gritty timeless classic, still unmatched in its vital transcendent expression. In concerts, Masekela discussed the meaning of songs such as "Stimela (Coal Train)", about displaced workers in Johannesburg, and "Soweto Blues", about a 1976 massacre of black schoolchildren, which he often performed with Makeba. As a child, he began singing and playing piano and was largely raised by his grandmother, who ran an illegal bar for miners.

THE University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) says it is saddened, following the news of the passing of world-renowned music legend and political struggle icon Dr Hugh Masekela.

Hugh Masekela spent 30 years outside South Africa and he flourished on the world scene after deriving inspiration from jazz greats like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Mingus and Max Roach.

Masekela received three nominations at the 2017 Afrima Awards in the categories of Best Male Artiste in Southern Africa for his recent single Shango, Album of the Year for his recent album No Borders and for the Best Artiste in African Jazz.

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Speaking during the UKZN graduation ceremony, Masekela asked the audience to consider several issues through which the excellence of African Heritage could be re-introduced into their lives, without abandoning the good inherited from the Western world.

Read the tributes that have poured in from politicians and musicians around the world.

But at its heart, the music Masekela wrote and performed during his more than 60-year career was of the kind that is made for, and describes, the experience of a particular community.

Masekela returned to South Africa in 1990 after Mandela was freed and the African National Congress party was unbanned. An inspiration, a mentor.We shall continue with the baton.

Hugh Masekela will forever be remembered as a legendary musician‚ but his activism will also never be forgotten. He was the father of American television host Sal Masekela.

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