Sat Sep 23 00:33:40 SAST 2017

Hugh Masekela and the 'war' against weaves

By Xolani Dlamini and Patience Bambalele | 2015-09-11 14:03:01.0

Iconic trumpeter Hugh Masekela has taken his hatred for weaves to the extreme after he ordered for reinforcement of security to shield him from weave-decorated women.

The musician was performing at Eyadini venue in Umlazi, Durban south, at the weekend when he demanded that women with weaves or extensions should not be allowed near him.

He upped his security detail with bouncers to ensure the women were kept at arms' length.

Mjey Zama, Eyadini owner, confirmed that Masekela was protected by a large number of bouncers as he had asked. "Usually, we provide bouncers for any musicians performing in our area. But Bra Hugh appealed for more bouncers to protect him from women with weaves," he said.

Zama revealed that Masekela was escorted by bouncers to the stage and the VIP lounge after performing.

On Saturday, Masekela took to the stage with his famous song Thanayi. He, however, did not receive a warm reception from the crowd, unhappy that he had refused to take pictures with women in weaves and extensions.

One of the revellers, Nomusa Khuboni, said that Masekela was the "most rude and backward person".

"He was being irritable and condescending. What concerns him if we wear weaves [and] want to take pictures with him?" she asked. "He is a renowned musician. He needs to compromise for the sake of his fans.

"My friend who wore extensions insisted on taking a picture with him, and he replied that he didn't take pictures with girls who have that kind of hair."

Another fan, Khanyisile Khomo, lambasted Masekela, saying what he did was "disgusting and unprofessional".

"We live in a democratic country, and women have the right to do whatever they like with their hair. He must learn some manners."

In his defence, Masekela denied that he asked for more bouncers to protect him. "Why would I want to be protected? I can protect myself against these women," he said.

"As someone who runs a foundation (his own) that seeks to restore culture and identity, I refused to take photos with people with weaves. And I tell them that myself."

In an interview with Sowetan last year, Masekela lamented that black women spent over R100-billion on hair products enhancing a fake look.

He said it was "difficult" for him to pose with women in weaves because he preached heritage and would not want to be seen with "people who don't look like heritage".

He said as a superstitious man he was uncomfortable with others wearing another person's hair, some of whom might be dead.

"From a spiritual heritage perspective, it feels awkward. I feel bad for them because they wear it with so much pride. When Steve Biko spoke about consciousness it was politicised, but it's the same thing."

Masekela said he was speaking to Sowetan under medication from a hospital bed that he wouldn't disclose. On Monday, a lecture in his honour was presented by singer Sibongile Khumalo at the University of Johannesburg's Soweto Campus.