Minister Nathi Mthethwa pays tribute to the Jazz Legend and global icon, Bra Hugh Masekela

It is with sadness and shock that we learn of the passing of the Jazz Legend, an icon and inimitable artist, Hugh Masekela also known as “Bra Hugh” who passed away on Tuesday, 23 January 2018 after a long battle with prostate cancer.

Born in Witbank on 04 April 1939, Ramapolo Hugh Masekela was exiled from his native South Africa for 30 years; he travelled the world receiving worldwide acclaim as musician and ambassador for the South Africa oppressed masses.

“When he spoke out against South African apartheid policies, he found himself banished from his homeland. During 1970’and 1980’s, he lived in various countries in the African continent, returning to South Africa in 1991, when he played a formidable role as a developer of music in the democratic South Africa.

“Even in recent years, “Bra Hugh” continued to fly the flag for South Africa in international festivals, and his home country including the performance at the Grammy Awards in 2013. Over the last 3 years, Hugh Masekela also featured on a number of festivals such as the Joy of Jazz; Macufe; Cape Town International Jazz; Moretele; Mapungubwe and Buleyekhaya festival sponsored by the department.

“Hugh Masekela was also the recipient of the National Order of Ikhamanga Gold in 2010 for his contribution to music and the Struggle against apartheid in South Africa. The Jazz icon was also a member of the Living Legends Legacy Project (LLLP), an initiative of the Department of Arts and Culture that seeks to engage the living legends actively in programmes that promote arts, culture and heritage sector, thus providing them with a platform to interact and share their knowledge and experience with the younger generation of artists.

“His outstanding contribution and exceptional track record in the liberation struggle of our country as well as his immense contribution to the transformation of the arts in South Africa, the African continent and the world, bares a testimony of the calibre of person he was, a true Living Legend indeed”, says Minister Nathi Mthethwa.
The Department of Arts and Culture is in consultation with the family, we will keep members of the public and other interested stakeholders informed of the funeral arrangements.

“We once more send our heartfelt and deepest condolences to the Masekela family, to all who knew this musical maestro and his many fans”, concluded Minister Mthethwa.

For more information, please contact Zimasa Velaphi at 072 172 8925 or Margaret Ncanca at 081 044 7056

Issued by the Department of Arts and Culture

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