Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta mourns Jazz Legend Hugh Masekela
25 January, 2018, 01:27 | Author: Devin Moran
"His outstanding contribution and exceptional track record in the liberation struggle of our country as well as his enormous contribution to the transformation of the arts in South Africa, the African continent and the world, bares testimony to the calibre of person he was - a true Living Legend indeed", Minister Nathi Mthethwa said in a statement.
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.
It's music that is understood most keenly by the people it is produced for, and it is why Masekela's music has been handed down, song by song, album by album, from generation to generation.
The family issued a statement on Tuesday saying, "After a protracted and courageous battle with prostate cancer, he passed peacefully in Johannesburg, South Africa, surrounded by his family". Formed just before Masekela left apartheid South Africa for exile in May 1960, the band's only record, Jazz Epistle Verse 1, stands up as a gritty timeless classic, still unmatched in its vital transcendent expression. In 1968, his instrumental single "Grazin" in the Grass' went to Number One on the American pop charts and was a worldwide smash, elevating Hugh onto the global stage.
In 1990, Hugh Masekela finally returned home to South Africa after the release of Nelson Mandela and the overthrow of the apartheid regime. He said he started treatment after doctors found a "small "speck" on his bladder, and had surgery in March 2016 after the cancer spread. He said another tumor was then discovered and he had surgery.
Masekela supported many charities and was a director of the Lunchbox Fund, a non-profit organization to provide daily meals to students in Soweto township.
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