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Hugh Masekela passes on

Author: Staff reporter Updated: 09:45 24-01-2018

Legendary jazz musician, Hugh Masekela, has passed away after losing his battle to prostate cancer.

His family released a statement online saying “It is with profound sorrow that the family of Rampolo Hugh Maseka announce his passing. After a protracted and courageous battle with prostate cancer, he passed peacefully in Johannesburg, South Africa, surrounded by his family”.

Known by both his local and international audience as the "father of South African Jazz", Bra Hugh composed many of the songs which gave a voice to the masses in the fight against apartheid. Redefining the struggle in a sense, Masekela's work emphasised it was not only a battle for political equality, but one for cultural and social equality above all else.

Masekela left South Africa for the United States shortly after the Sharpeville Massacre in March of 1960, befriending artists such as Harry Belafonte and Paul Simon. He would go on to tour with the latter.

His spot among the divinity of South African music was emphasised to greater levels when he made the first ever cover of the short-lived Rolling Stone South Africa.

His hits such as Stimela, Soweto Blues and Thanayi, to name a few, became anthems and standards for most of the artists that followed the road carved out by him, bring about the emergence of Afro-Jazz.

The 78-year-old had been receiving treatment for his illness since 2008 and though treatment was thought to have been successful, he underwent surgery in March 2016 after finding out that the cancer had spread.

It was last year Masekela announced that another tumour had been discovered after he fell while on tour in Morocco in April.

He underwent emergency treatment in September and proceeded to cancel all music commitments to continue the fight against prostate cancer.

Masekela, was born on 4 April 1939 in Witbank in the township of kwaGuqa and is survived by his two children, Sal Masekela and Pula Twala. 

Published: 09:45 23-01-2018

Posted by on January 23, 2018.

Categories: Music

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Updated: 22:37 21-May-2018