Hugh Masekela bounces back from surgery to direct new stage production

Musician and cultural activist Hugh Masekela was honored with an Honarary Doctorate at the University of Witwatersraand in Johannesburg for his contribution in music and his activitism during apartheid. Photo Thulani Mbele
Musician and cultural activist Hugh Masekela was honored with an Honarary Doctorate at the University of Witwatersraand in Johannesburg for his contribution in music and his activitism during apartheid. Photo Thulani Mbele

Despite undergoing a medical procedure two months ago‚ legendary musician Hugh Masekela is back on his feet and doing what he loves – making music.

 This time Bra Hugh‚ as he is affectionately called‚ steps into the director’s seat for a theatre play titled‚ Gone Native – The Life and Times of Regina Brooks.

 She is a white woman who defied apartheid and in 1955 asked to be re-classified as a coloured woman‚ which would enable her to live with her coloured child Thandi. This was after she was arrested for staying in Orlando‚ Soweto‚ with a black man‚ policeman Richard Kumalo.

During an interview Masekela said Regina’s story fascinated him since he was a youngster and meeting her decades later brought him joy.

“The story of Regina Brooks always fascinated me. It happened when I was a teenager‚ in 1954 when I was 15. We all had a crush on her because she was so beautiful. And we all hated Richard Kumalo because he was a cop.

“So‚ I was always interested in her story‚ so one day about eight years ago‚ I told a friend of mine‚ Alf Kumalo. I asked him‚ ‘do you remember Regina Brooks? I would love to meet her and maybe create a project like either a documentary or film or just something. Then he took me to her‚ and I was so happy to meet her and she told me she knew me from back when I was starting out.”

Masekela said Brooks told him she hoped he would fulfil his promise of telling her life story because so many people promised to‚ but never did.

 The veteran musician recently had to cancel all his shows following a surgery to repair tendon and ligament damage in his shoulder. However‚ he said even though he’s been advised to slow down‚ he is still involved in a lot of projects.

“I haven’t done too badly in life‚ so I have the luxury of choosing what I want do. I am more spread out. I am getting into television and cinema‚ but it is all heritage-driven. I am completely heritage-captured‚” he said.

The musical stars Marietjie Bothma and Ayanda Nhlangothi. Rehearsals have been under way for two weeks.

Masekela said the music to complement the story came easy to him because he had lived in the time and place of the story.

“I am a scholar of music and particularly South African music. I know the music‚ the mood and style of that time. The era in which her story happened was a ‘music rich’ era‚” he said.

Gone Native: The Life and Times of Regina Brooks will be performed at the Soweto Theatre from August 8-20.

 

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

X