Ending on a high note: Goodbye Bra Hugh

Cape Town - Legendary South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela has died after a lengthy battle with prostate cancer.

The veteran trumpeter and ground breaking artist was 78. The star was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008. 

He went on to cancel all scheduled performances in October, as his health was deteriorating.  


Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa has confirmed the news.


BREAKING: South African music legend Hugh Masekela dies

Hugh Masekela


The family has released a statement following his death:


Hugh Masekela's life remembered in photos

Hugh Masekela


Simphiwe Dana says goodbye to Hugh Masekela in moving tribute:


South Africa says goodbye to Hugh Masekela

Hugh Masekela


TV personality Nandi Madida rememebers time spent with Hugh Masekela.


What is your favorite song by the Legendary Hugh Masekela? 

Tributes continue to pour in on social media.


A Legend: Tribute to Hugh Masekela

Hugh Masekela



Remembering Hugh Masekela: the horn player with a shrewd ear for music of the day (Via The Conversation)

"I don't want to be yesterday's guy."


President Zuma sends his condolences on passing of Mr Hugh Masekela

President Jacob Zuma has expressed heartfelt condolences on the sad passing of internationally acclaimed jazz artist, legendary trumpeter, cultural activist and liberation struggle veteran Mr Hugh Masekela, who has passed on at the age of 78.



COSATU remembers Hugh Masekela:


City of Johannesburg Press Statement by The Executive Mayor, Cllr Herman Mashaba


I am sad to learn of the passing of legendary South African trumpeter, composer and singer, Hugh Masekela. Ntate Masekela died today at the age of 78 after a battle with prostate cancer. 

I would like to send my sincere condolences to his family, friends and loved ones during this difficult time. 

Considered the "father of South African jazz", we can scarce tell the story of South Africa without speaking of his immense contributions to the liberation of black people through his jazz compositions. He was a personal favourite of mine, and ignited my love for jazz music. 

Well known for anti-apartheid songs such as "Soweto Blues" and "Bring Him Back Home", his skill and mastery of the trumpet, flugelhorn, trombone, cornet and vocals will continue give joy and upliftment to future generations. 

Ntate Hugh Masekela was internationally renowned and locally loved and celebrated. South Africa has lost one of its best. His music will continue to live on in our hearts as we remember him. 

May his soul rest in eternal peace.


WATCH: Hugh Masekela remembers getting a trumpet from Louis Armstrong (Read more here)


Rocking the Daisies pays tribute to Bra Hugh on Twitter


Sal Masekela pays tribute to his father in moving Facebook post:

It is with heavy heart that I confirm that my father, Hugh Ramapolo Masekela, has hung up his horn after a long battle with prostate cancer. It is difficult to comprehend that this moment is real. To me, my father has always been both ageless and immortal. Of the countless shows I had the honor of watching my dad perform, each felt like the first, each felt brand new.

At the age of 5 he first introduced me to the late night halls of Manhattan's The Village Gate and Mikell's, where he would steal the hearts and souls of innocents with a musical storytelling all his own, passionately and relentlessly transporting them to the farthest reaches of Africa with both voice and trumpet. It was these moments and his choosing to take me around the globe any chance he got, that would come to shape my entire world view.



"In 1954 Father Trevor Huddleston gave Bra Hugh Masekela his first trumpet from Louis Armstrong and asked Uncle Sauda to teach him basics, the rest became a colourful history."


Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula remembers Hugh Masekela as a "legend" and "national monument of pride."


Rest in eternal peace, Bra Hugh by Mmusi Maimane - Leader of the Democratic Alliance

The DA is deeply saddened by the passing of our national treasure, Hugh Masekela.

We extend our love and condolences to his family, loved ones and the South African music fraternity. His unmistakable sound will echo in our hearts forever.

Bra Hugh was more than just a Jazz musician, he was a musical genius and a fearless activist.

His music told the stories of our people and reflected the struggles of black South Africans opposing apartheid.

His music reflected the difficult realities of life in the township but also brought to life the vibrant spirit of Sophiatown.

His sound would later go on to inspire the sounds of musicians across the musical spectrum.

Bra Hugh was a giant among his peers. His music touched the lives of true music lovers, irrespective of colour or creed.

We all sang and danced to Thanayi and songs such as Stimela made us all contemplative.

Bra Hugh was a proud African and a true son of the soil. We are grateful for his immense contribution to South Africa and the continent as a whole.

Our nation owes you a great debt of gratitude, Bra Hugh.

Rest in peace, Bra Hugh. We will miss you!




The African National Congress has received with shock and sadness news of the passing of legendary anti-apartheid activist and musical genius, Hugh Ramapolo Masekela. 

Dubbed the "Father of South African Jazz, Bra Hugh was a towering figure, both at home and around the world, an ardent advocate for freedom and a rebelliously defiant voice against oppression and injustice. He passes on following a courageous battle against prostate cancer. 

Born in April 1939, Bra Hugh proved his musical ability at the young age collaborating with various legendary artists to craft music that reflected his experiences and portray the struggles of living under the yoke of apartheid rule in South Africa.

Like many of our struggle icons, he was forced to go into exile in the 1960s because of his music which was unsilenced in the face of discrimination. As international pressure mounted on the apartheid government to release political prisoners in the 1980s, Bra Hugh, through his music, became of the voice and conscience of countless generations of South Africans. His anthemic "Bring Him Back Home", amongst his many works, spoke of the yearning the South African people had for  freedom and liberation.

The African National Congress sends condolences to the Masekela family and the creative industry. We extend our sympathies to the people of South Africa on the loss of so legendary an icon. 

Indeed, a baobab tree has fallen. May his soul rest in peace.

Issued by the African National Congress


Sal Masekela on his father's death: It is difficult to comprehend

In a heartfelt and lengthy statement posted on his Instagram account, the son of Hugh Masekela, Sal Masekela shared his heartfelt pain following the death of his father.



Never-Before-Seen Photos By Masekela's Long-Time Photographer Reveal Life Of A Legend (Via Huffington Post)

Hugh Masekela's long-time photographer spoke to HuffPost on Tuesday morning to remember the life of the legendary musician, who had just passed away.

Brett Rubin, who grew up learning Masekela's music as a young musician himself, says the experience of working with him was often unreal.



'He hid his condition very well' - Simphiwe Dana sobs as she remembers her mentor Bra Hugh (Via You Magazine)

Simphiwe Dana couldn't hold back tears when she spoke about the late Hugh Masekela.

The award-winning artist woke up on her birthday to news that her friend and mentor had died after battling with prostate cancer since 2008.



Chicco Twala on Bra Hugh Masekela: "He's left a legacy in the industry" (Via Drum Magazine)

News of the death of legendary jazz musician Bra Hugh Masekela has left many of those closest to him grieving.

DRUM reached out to South African musicians Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Chicco Twala, both old friends of Bra Hugh's, about his passing.



In recognition of Hugh Masekela's outstanding contribution to the music industry, the University of KwaZulu-Natal awarded him its highest honour, Doctor of Music (honoris causa) in April 2017.

Speaking during the UKZN graduation ceremony, Masekela asked the audience to consider several issues through which the excellence of African Heritage could be re-introduced into their lives, without abandoning the good inherited from the Western world.

Masekela spoke about the restoration and resilience of African Heritage, linking ethnic languages with praise poetry saying it was the universal genealogy of all African people.

'Volumes of African-language history and literature books lie covered with dust and ticks in basements and warehouses all over the continent and parts of Europe. African artisanship lies dormant but awe-inspiring as are our arts and crafts, design and architecture,' said Masekela.

He asked the audience questions about whether there should be places of learning where knowledge embedded in these initiatives could be pursued, while questioning whether African heritage really was primitive, heathen, backward and barbaric?

'I humbly ask you on bended knees to carry these thoughts with you as you go out into the world and perhaps think about how humiliating it will be 20 years from today when your children are asked who they really are and their response is "They say we used to be Africans very long ago".

'Or do you already speak only European languages in your homes?' said Masekela.


SA writer Mbongeni Ngema remembers #HughMasekela pic.twitter.com/yfeyggUoRg

— TheJuiceSA (@TheJuiceSA) January 23, 2018



Tribute Message: Hugh Masekela (M-Net)

It is with great sadness that M-Net has learned of the passing of musical legend Hugh Masekela, a leader and stalwart of the music and entertainment industry worldwide.

His legacy, contribution and influence on the music world will be long remembered and treasured.

"Hugh Masekela told the South African story in an inimitable way. Through his music, the fight for democracy reached audiences all over the world, and to us, he was the voice of hope during dark times. Hugh was recognised by the greatest musicians in the world. He played alongside jazz legends, incredible contemporary and chart-topping musicians, and is one of a few to have been at the famous Rumble in the Jungle. I havesome very precious personal memories as he was a close family friend and a major inspiration to me as a young musician," says Yolisa Phahle, CEO General Entertainment, MultiChoice. 

Today, South Africa, the rest of our continent and the world remember a man who touched lives in a magical and meaningful way.

M-Net and MultiChoice will be honouring his legacy with the following specials on Mzansi Magic Music (DStv channel 321):

The Best of Hugh Masekela Special at 12:00. (this will be available on Catch up from 18:00 tonight) Friends of Hugh Masekela at 13:00. Hugh Masekela Live at the Market Theatre at 14:00. (this will be available on Catch up from 1800 tonight)

These specials will be repeated over the next few days.