A 'pavilion' fit for a legend

The late Hugh Masekela's tombstone will be unveiled on Saturday.

But it's not the conventional headstone that dominates local cemeteries, instead a "pavilion" has been erected in his grave in Johannesburg.

Designed by Sir David Adjaye, the monument is also in celebration of his 80th birthday which was on April 4. The "pavilion" and garden is the result of a partnership between Ravi Naidoo of the Design Indaba Trust and Adjaye Associates working with stakeholders, including Johannesburg City Parks.

The design is inspired by African burial rituals and practices.

According to a statement from the family, in keeping with African tradition, the design offers the Masekela family, Africa and the world a place to gather, reflect and celebrate the life and impact of Masekela.

"The perforated pavilion rooftop design mimics local flora, capturing the light and breeze while shadows from the canopies of surrounding foliage are reflected across the floor," read the statement.

Adjaye commented: "African monuments are a place of gathering and reflection, they help us edify the significance of our ancestors, our heritage and culture. Monuments act as a reminder of our duty in the present to honour the past. They spur us to make a better future."

Speaking for the family, Barbara Masekela said they were touched that the design was by a world-renowned architect from Ghana, which Masekela regarded as home.

"Our family could not be more honoured to have such an iconic son of the soil, Sir David Adjaye, design this immutable memorial pavilion which beautifully reflects Hugh's love of Africa.

In 1968, Masekela reached the top of the Billboard 100 charts with his single Grazing in the Grass.

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