South African jazz musician Hugh Masekela dies at 78

Lawrence Kim
January 23, 2018

Known as the father of South African jazz, the trumpet master channeled the struggle against apartheid into soulful compositions that championed the experiences of ordinary South Africans.

South African TV host Khanyi Dhlomo tweeted: "Such devastating news about the passing on of SA's Father of Jazz Hugh Masekela".

The musician was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008 and underwent eye surgery in March 2016 after the cancer spread.

"We will, in due course, release details of memorial and burial services. Our gratitude to all and sundry for your condolences and support", it added in the statement released by PR firm Dreamcatcher.

Masekela was first diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008 and in October a year ago, he released a statement announcing his decision to call time on public performances.

Masekela was born on 4 April 1939 in Witbank.

Hits such as Soweto Blues, performed alongside Miriam Makeba - another South African great and his ex-wife, served as one of the sound-tracks to the anti-apartheid movement.

In 2010 Masekela opened the FIFA Soccer World Cup Kick-Off Concert to a global audience and later that year he created the mesmerizing musical, Songs of Migration with director, James Ngcobo, which drew critical acclaim and played to packed houses. Masekela also had an admirable run as a label owner, forming Chisa records in the 1960s which lasted into the following decade. At 78, Masekela was still performing his jazz sets around the country.

He is survived by his two children Sal Masekela and Pula Twala.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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