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The World Mourns the Passing of Hugh Masekela

The legendary Afro-jazz musician and activist has passed on today following a brave fight with prostate cancer.

Hugh Masekela in his youth.

If you grew up in South Africa, around a generation of freedom fighters, you will know how important music was in the struggle for liberation. You may also know that no family get-together was complete without the sounds of "Bra Hugh", as he was affectionately called, gently playing in the background as grandparent and parents reminisced about their youth and how much they had to overcome to survive.

At 78-years old, Hugh Masekela lived a long rich life, full of awards and accolades, he shared African music with the world but beyond his illustrious music, was his dedication to freedom. Hugh Masekela was one of the very first internationally acclaimed South African jazz musicians who gained success for his Anti-Apartheid hits including Bring Back Nelson Mandela and the iconic Stimela.

Hugh Masekela performs on stage at the Monterey Pop Festival on June 17 1967 in Monterey, California. Photo: Michal Cochs

After a courageous fight with prostate cancer, he passed away on Tuesday morning, 23 January 2018 surrounded by his loved ones. He is described as "a loving father, grandfather, brother and friend".

With a career spanning almost 6 decades, his death comes as a sore loss for South Africans and the world. We will forever remember the charismatic, legendary trumpeter and his unmatched live performances.

Hugh Masekela in his younger years.

Below are some of our favourite quotes by him:

"My biggest obsession is to show Africans and the world who the people of Africa really are."

"It's obvious that the rest of the world loves high African culture - African culture, period."

"I think it is incumbent on all human beings to oppose injustice in every form."

"I've got to where am in life not because of something I brought to the world but through something I found - the wealth of African culture."

"I am a forward-looking person and live in the moment to build for the future."

"All my experiences removed geography from my world."

We wish his family and friends a peaceful healing process.  Rest in power, legend.


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