Legendary South African Jazz musician Hugh Masekela passed away today after a long battle with cancer.
A statement released by his family this morning confirmed that ‘Bra Hugh’, as he was affectionately known, “had battled prostate cancer, and had passed on peacefully in Johannesburg this morning, January 23, surrounded by his loved ones.”
In October, Bra Hugh cancelled a scheduled performance at the Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival in Rockville, Soweto to dedicate himself to battling the disease and called on all men to go for regular cancer check-ups.
ACDP President and Member of Parliament, Rev Kenneth Meshoe, today said that, “The ACDP is grateful to Bra Hugh for placing South Africa on international stages with his exceptional talent that ‘made the trumpet speak.’ The skills he had with the trumpet made even those who were not lovers of Jazz listen, because he had a gift that allowed him to explore endless possibilities with his choice of horn. He has left a vacuum that will be difficult to fill, but we trust that those young musicians he had mentored in his lifetime will bring back his memory each time the blow the horn he so loved.”
Hugh Ramopolo Masekela was born on 4 April 1939 in Witbank. Bra Hugh received numerous awards throughout his life, among them the Order of Ikhamanga – South African National Orders Ceremony (2010); an honorary Doctorate in Music from the University of York (2014); a Doctor of Music (honoris causa) from Rhodes University (2015); and the African Music Legend Award – Ghana Music Awards (2007).
Masekela is survived by his wife, Elinam Cofie, whom he married in 1999 and for whom he penned the song ‘Ghana,” his daughter, Pula Twala, and his son, Selema “Sal” Masekela, from his relationship with Haitian Jessie Marie Lapierre.
ISSUED BY: REV KENNETH MESHOE MP
23 January 2018