S. Africa’s Sowetans pay tribute to jazz legend Hugh Masekela

SOWETO, SOUTH AFRICA (JANUARY 28, 2018) (REUTERS) – Hundreds of South Africans from Soweto gathered on Sunday (January 28) for a memorial event paying tribute to the “father of South African jazz”, Hugh Masekela who died from prostate cancer last week at the age of 78.

Speaking from the stage, Arts and Culture minister Nathi Mthethwa said Masekela, trumpeter and singer who used his music in the fight against apartheid, was the flame that had burnt bright in the darkest hour of segregation.

In a career spanning more than five decades, Masekela gained international recognition with his distinctive Afro-Jazz sound and hits such as “Soweto Blues”, which served as one of the soundtracks to the anti-apartheid movement.

His son, Sal, who joined musicians, friends and family at the memorial, recalled memories of being dragged around the jazz clubs of Manhattan by his father aged just five.

Masekela’s song “Bring Him Back Home (Nelson Mandela)”, written while he was in living in exile, called for the release of the-then imprisoned Mandela and was banned by the apartheid regime.