Jazz Legend, Hugh Masekela, Dies At 78
Legendary jazz trumpeter Hugh Masekela, a leading figure in the struggle to end apartheid and “the father of South African jazz”, has died aged 78.
In a statement issued by his family, Masekela “passed peacefully” in Johannesburg “after a protracted and courageous battle with prostate cancer”.
He gained global recognition with his distinctive Afro-Jazz sound. Among his greatest hits are the beloved anthem “Bring Him Back Home”, demanding Mandela’s freedom from jail, “Grazing in the Grass” and Soweto Blues. The 1977 song became synonymous with the anti-apartheid movement. He was also celebrated for his contribution to theatre and social and political activism.
In a statement, South African President Jacob Zuma said Masekela’s death was “an immeasurable loss to the music industry and to the country at large … His contribution to the struggle for liberation will never be forgotten.
Masekela fled apartheid South Africa in 1960 and did not return until after the release of Nelson Mandela in 1990. Keeping up his international touring schedule into his 70s with energetic shows, his concerts at home often became mass sing-alongs.
Diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008, the world-acclaimed musician – affectionately known as Bra Hugh – spent the last months of his life encouraging men to go for regular cancer check-ups.
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