Legendary Jazz Giant Bra Hugh Passes Away

hugh masekela

Sadly, legendary Jazz musician Bra Hugh Masekela has passed away. The veteran musician died peacefully at his Johannesburg home, surrounded by friends and family. He was 78.

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Minister of Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa confirmed his passing this morning through a tweet, which read: “A baobab tree has fallen, the nation has lost a one of a kind musician with the passing of Jazz legend bra Hugh Masekela. We can safely say bra Hugh was one of the great architects of Afro-Jazz and he uplifted the soul of our nation through his timeless music”.


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Bra Hugh had been battling prostate cancer since 2008. His death is a great loss to South Africa and the music industry the world over, being widely recognised by South Africans as nothing short of a national treasure.

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Born Hugh Ramopolo Masekela on April 4, 1939, the multi-talented musician is considered the father of South Africa Jazz. He wrote popular anti-oppression songs such as Soweto Blues and Bring Him Back Home. Having showed signs of tremendous musical ability at a very early age, Hugh began playing the trumpet – which would become his signature instrument – at the age of 14. TshisaLive reports that his first trumpet was given to him by Archbishop Trevor Huddleston, himself a renowned anti-apartheid activist.

In a statement released this morning from the office of the President, Jacob Zuma said: “The nation mourns one of its most recognisable signature talents… It is an immeasurable loss to the music industry and to the country at large. His contribution to the struggle for liberation will never be forgotten. We wish to convey our heartfelt condolences to his family and peers in the arts and culture fraternity at large. May his soul rest in peace.”

Bra Hugh will never be forgotten and will continue to live through his 40-plus albums. #RIPBraHugh