ADVERTISEMENT

Hugh Masekela dies aged 78

Masekela had been suffering from prostate cancer for almost a decade.

A statement from the trumpeter’s family said that Masekela passed peacefully in Johannesburg, where he lived and worked for much of his life.

"A loving father, brother, grandfather and friend, our hearts beat with a 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 memories of millions across six continents," the statement read.

ADVERTISEMENT

Masekela had been suffering from prostate cancer for almost a decade.

Background

Masekela was born in Witbank, a mining town in eastern South Africa, and was given his first trumpet by the anti-apartheid activist archbishop Trevor Huddleston, who formed a pioneering jazz band in Soweto in the 1950s that became a launchpad for many of South Africa’s most famous jazz musicians.

Masekela went on to study in the UK and the US, where he had significant success. In 1976 he composed Soweto Blues in response to the uprising in the vast township.

The man who became known as the father of South African jazz played and toured with major stars such as Paul Simon but continued his political engagement, writing Bring Him Back Home (Nelson Mandela) in 1987. The song became an anthem of the anti-apartheid struggle.

ADVERTISEMENT

Towards the end of a career that spanned five decades he performed at the opening ceremony of the 2010 World Cup in Johannesburg.

JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!

Unblock notifications in browser settings.
ADVERTISEMENT

Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or:

Email: eyewitness@pulse.com.gh

ADVERTISEMENT