Bra Hugh pulls no punches

THE MAN: Hugh Masekela interacts with up-and-coming youths.
THE MAN: Hugh Masekela interacts with up-and-coming youths.

ON TODAY'S MTV Base at 8.30pm the young people of South Africa talk to trumpeter and South African music luminary Hugh Masekela.

Masekela engineered his big break in music on his sickbed at St Peters in Sophiatown many years ago, when Father Trevor Huddleston gave him a trumpet that used to belong to the legendary Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong.

His obsession with the instrument not only saw him experience a miraculous healing, but he also became a member of the esteemed Trevor Huddleston band.

The move opened doors for him with the elite bands of the 50s. With numerous albums already under his belt, "Bra Hugh" has become a must-feature on any festival promoter's programme.

Despite his ripe old age of 72, "Bra Hugh" can still get down and boogie with the best of them. His has been a fascinating musical journey.

He is a muso in touch with the latest music trends, thanks to collaborations with the likes of Thandiswa Mazwai, Ghana's Becca, Black Coffee, Lira and Zwai Bala, among others.

Masekela first picked up the trumpet at 14 and was part of the legendary Sophiatown-era in South Africa before going into exile in the United States.

He also lived in West Africa, toured the world and released countless international hits.

Among them was his No 1 hit in the US in 1968, Grazin In The Grass, which was nominated for a Grammy.

Hugh's voice and music were instrumental in the struggle against apartheid.

He returned from exile after struggle icon Nelson Mandela was released from jail in the 90s. In 2003 he released his best-selling autobiography, Still Grazing:The Musical Journey of Hugh Masekela.

The book told the story of his drug and alcohol addiction, his life as a musician and his love life, including his marriage to late singer Miriam Makeba.

Engaging with Masekela on MTV Base Meets . with MTN are Zimbabwean rapper Zubz, South African blogger, columnist and fashion store owner Milisuthando Bongela, Nigerian musician Adey Omotade, stand-up comedian and student, Mojak Lehoko, and Congolese stylist and journalism student, Patricia Muauka Muembo.