Caxton Central
2 minute read
4 Apr 2019
2:51 pm

Google commemorates Hugh Masekela with birthday doodle

Caxton Central

The search engine today honours the late great South African jazz icon on what would have been his 80th birthday.

Alberton Record, along with the rest of the world, is celebrating the birth of music legend Hugh Masekela, who would have turned 80 years old today. Born on April 4 1939, in Kwa-Guqa township in Witbank, Masekela was best known as an international jazz trumpeter, composer, and singer whose music was instrumental in spreading an anti-apartheid message around the world.

Masekela started learning to play the trumpet when he was 14, quickly mastered it and joined the Huddleston Jazz Band, South Africa’s first youth orchestra. In the midst of the oppression faced by black South Africans in the 1950s and 1960s, Hugh Masekela’s music took on the role of reflection on and protest against the situation.

ALSO READ: VISUALS: The life and times of SA jazz legend Hugh Masekela

Following the Sharpeville massacre of 1960, the talented young man left South Africa to study music in London. Masekela would later move to the US and marry legendary jazz vocalist Miriam Makeba. He was known for recording hits such as Grazing in the Grass, and collaborate in scoring the Broadway play, Sarafina.

After 30 years in exile, Masekela returned to South Africa in 1990, following the release of Nelson Mandela from prison, where he continued to solidify his rightful place as the Father of South African jazz. By the time Masekela released his 2004 autobiography, Still Grazing: The Musical Journey of Hugh Masekela, he had 40 albums under his belt and had explored funk and mbaqanga in addition to jazz. Hugh Masekela was a recipient of many honours, including three Grammy Awards, one MTV Award, and two honorary doctorates.

On January 23 2018, Masekela lost his battle against prostate cancer, but his legacy lives on.

Visit to see the doodle.

South Africans have taken to Twitter to honour the jazz legend:

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