Harare, Zimbabwe (News of the South)-South African jazz legend Hugh Ramopolo Masekela has died, aged 78.

 

Masekela lost his battle with prostate cancer , for which he had been treated since 2008.

 

In October, he 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.

 

Masekela was born on 4 April1939 in Witbank. As a child, he began playing the piano, but a movie about jazz cornetist Bix Beiderbecke , Young Man with a Horn , inspired him to shift his musical allegiances.

 

Anti-apartheid activist Father Trevor Huddleston helped Masekela to acquire a trumpet and ensured he received tuition, resulting in his rapidly joining South Africa’s first youth orchestra, the Huddleston Jazz Band.

 

In the late 50s, Masekela joined up with Dollar Brand (later known as Abdullah Ibrahim), Kippie Moeketsi, Jonas Gwangwa, Johnny Gertze and alternately Early Mabuza or Makaya Ntshoko on drums, to form The Jazz Epistles, who regularly performed at the Odin Theatre in Sophiatown.

 

In 1959, Masekela joined the cast of Todd Matshikiza’s “all-African jazz opera” King Kong. The musical, which also helped launch the career of Miriam Makeba, received permission to perform in London in 1961.

 

With the Sharpeville massacre in mind and with jazz being seen as an expression of resistance, performances and broadcasts in South Africa were severely restricted.

 

 

Masekela took the opportunity, along with many other members of the cast, to remain in England, effectively going into exile, and enrolled at the London Guildhall School of Music, later moving to the Manhattan School of Music in New York.

 

Here he befriended musician and political activist Harry Belafonte, and his music increasingly began reflecting the harsh realities of repression and discrimination back home.
Masekela married Miriam Makeba in 1964, but the couple divorced in 1966.

 

Masekela had success in the United States with a pop-jazz tune, “Up, Up and Away”, in 1967.

 

He performed at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, alongside Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, before releasing Grazing in the Grass in 1968, which reached number one on the pop and R&B charts.
In 1970, he toured Guinea with Miriam Makeba and met Nigerian AfroBeat musician Fela Kuti and the Ghanian band Hedzoleh Soundz.

 

This led to his breakthrough album “Introducing Hedzoleh Soundz”, one of the most highly regarded Afro-jazz albums of the decade.

14

Comments

comments

About Author

Latest News

Portraz Reviews 2018 Telecoms Service Tariffs

By Beaven Dhliwayo. Harare – The Postal ..

Closer Look At Bomb Blast At White City Stadium Bulawayo

The government must deploy more security ..

England And Kane Set World Cup Record

By Islam Sabulino. (News of The South) – ..

England 6 Panama 1 – Stones, Linguard Sparkle As Kane Hits Treble

Milton Mashasha Sports Reporter. (News of ..

Like Us On Facebook

SUBSCRIBE: YouTube Channel

Whizz Kid 11 Year Old Joshua Ngoka Builds Computer

London, United Kingdom. – AN 11-YEAR-OLD ..

Forget Motivational Stories: Write Your Own

By Pearson Mbendera I have read a lot of ..

Winky D Shines At First Ever Zim Dancehall Awards

By Daniel Muzana Zimbabwe`s Winky was the ..

Vast Outcry For The Prodigal Son

Milton Mashasha Sports Reporter in Byo,Zim ..

A Story Of Love As Kenya Mourns The Westgate Mall Massacre

By Anoziva Marindire   The Nairobi Westgate ..

Inconsistency Costs The Chevrons Against Afghanistan

By Perkins-Tino Bare. Harare, Zimbabwe. (News ..

Portraz Reviews 2018 Telecoms Service Tariffs

By Beaven Dhliwayo. Harare – The Postal ..

Closer Look At Bomb Blast At White City Stadium Bulawayo

The government must deploy more security ..

England And Kane Set World Cup Record

By Islam Sabulino. (News of The South) – ..

England 6 Panama 1 – Stones, Linguard Sparkle As Kane Hits Treble

Milton Mashasha Sports Reporter. (News of ..

White City Stadium Now Deserted After Bomb Blast

Bulawayo.- (News of The South)- White City ..

Bomb Blast At White City Stadium During President Mnangagwa’s Address

From Mabasa Sasa in Bulawayo. Zimbabwe. – ..

Murderer Kombian Returns To The Docks

Ghana`s notorious robber, Johnson Kombian, ..

Leaked Alangizi Video: Defending Alangizi, My Testimony

By Musamba Mumba Too much crap has been said ..

Eritrea Human Rights Abuses Highlighted At UN Review

Geneva – Eritrea was on Monday accused ..

Zimbabwe Communist Party Blasts Opposition Parties

By Munesu Chigada Harare, Zimbabwe (News ..

Mandatory Circumcision of Inmates In Prisons

By By Mutinta Moono Hanyama (Zambian Eye) ..

Industry Lacking Policy Synchronisation

By Wisdom Mumera (News Of The South) – ..