Fans cel­e­brate life of Bra Hugh

Trib­utes, mu­sic at Zoo Lake ‘me­mo­rial park’ for SA jazz le­gend

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - KARISHMA DIPA

FANS may still be mourn­ing the pass­ing of jazz icon Hugh Masekela, but those who gath­ered at a me­mo­rial park yes­ter­day united in cel­e­bra­tion of his life and legacy.

This was the sen­ti­ment be­hind the Hugh Masekela tem­po­rary “me­mo­rial park”, which in­vited peo­ple from all walks of life to pay tribute to the mu­si­cian and ac­tivist at a tem­po­rary site at Zoo Lake in Joburg yes­ter­day.

The mu­si­cian, com­poser and singer died at the age of 78 on Tues­day sur­rounded by his fam­ily at his Joburg home fol­low­ing a long bat­tle with prostate cancer.

Al­though many were still filled with sor­row, they swayed to the beat of some of Bra Hugh’s award-win­ning hits, which boomed from a speaker placed on an im­promptu stage.

An el­derly cou­ple, out for their morn­ing jog, stum­bled across the event and de­cided to join in on the au­dio­vi­sual cel­e­bra­tion of Masekela’s life, which chron­i­cled his six-decade ten­ure as an artist and so­cial, po­lit­i­cal and cul­tural ac­tivist.

While en­joy­ing the sum­mer breeze against the back­drop of the lake, oth­ers also took time to view the framed pho­tos of Masekela.

One of the pictures that caught the eye fea­tured a younger Masekela with his mother.

Petrus Mashi­ane, who turned up in a three-piece suit with a top hat, said he came to honour the mu­si­cal le­gend.

He said he knew Masekela from the early 1990s when he used to visit his Hill­brow night­club.

“To­day, I took time off from work to cel­e­brate the loss of our beloved brother.”

Mashi­ane said he put on his finest suit as he re­garded it as a fit­ting way to pay his re­spects.

“I have dressed this way be­cause at that time, Hugh and the oth­ers used to dress like this while they danced to jazz mu­sic.”

Mem­o­ries of Masekela brought tears to Mashi­ane’s eyes.

“If I talk about Bra Hugh’s mu­sic, I could go on the whole day.

“His mu­sic re­ju­ve­nates me. I’m 64 to­day but when I lis­ten to his mu­sic I feel young.

“It makes me cry be­cause Masekela is a sol­dier in mu­sic, he sings like a politi­cian but he was such a na­tion builder.”


Bab­sie Tsha­bal­ala at Zoo Lake in Jo­han­nes­burg, where vi­su­als and au­dio doc­u­mented Hugh Masekela’s rich and in­spir­ing life. Masekela died on Tues­day from prostate cancer.

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