South Africa 24.1.2018 06:55 am

Music was his weapon

Hugh Masekela performs at the Soweto Theatre as part of his 75th Birthday Celebrations, 10 September 2014. The University of Johannesburg in partnership with the wRite Associates hosed the first inaugural Hugh Masekela Annual Lecture on the 9th September 2014 and then the Concert. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

Hugh Masekela performs at the Soweto Theatre as part of his 75th Birthday Celebrations, 10 September 2014. The University of Johannesburg in partnership with the wRite Associates hosed the first inaugural Hugh Masekela Annual Lecture on the 9th September 2014 and then the Concert. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

‘He was the voice and conscience of South Africans through his music.’

As tributes poured in after the death of Hugh Masekela, political parties sent condolences to the legendary musician’s family and friends, recalling his role in the struggle.

Like many of the struggle icons, he was forced to go into exile in the 1960s because of his outspoken musical message against discrimination, the ANC said.

“As international pressure mounted on the apartheid government to release political prisoners in the 1980s, Bra Hugh, through his music, became the voice and conscience of countless generations of South Africans.

“His anthemic Bring Him Back Home, amongst his many works, spoke of the yearning the South African people had for freedom and liberation.”

As pressure ratcheted up on the apartheid government, Bring Him Back Home was released in 1987. Its lyrics courageously demanded the release of Nelson Mandela.

Describing Masekela as courageous and fearless, the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania said he had fought for political freedom and emancipation.

“We do not only regard Bra Hugh as an artist, but more importantly as a freedom fighter,” it said.

“Bra Hugh fought tirelessly for his country’s political emancipation. He awakened the world and raised consciousness about the atrocities in the country at the time. For that we thank him.”

The DA said some of Masekela’s songs, such as Thandayi and Stimela, had showed the difficult realities of life in the townships.

“Bra Hugh was a giant among his peers. His music touched the lives of true music lovers, irrespective of colour or creed.”

The Inkatha Freedom Party in Gauteng also referred to Masekela’s massive contribution to the liberation struggle by, as one example, galvanising the call for the apartheid government to free Mandela.

“He was not only an entertainer, but also an activist,” provincial leader Bonginkosi Dhlamini said.

“His memory and recordings will remain as testament to his magnificent talent that touched the lives of many in his motherland and beyond. Bra Hugh paved the way for future generations of Afro-Jazz artists. He will be sorely missed.”

– news@citizen.co.za

Details: What we know about Hugh Masekela’s passing

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