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'Bra Hugh is smiling,' Masekela family thanks Ramaphosa for a rousing 'Send Me' speech

The late music icon Hugh Masekela.
The late music icon Hugh Masekela.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

"My brother is smiling," these are the words of the late Hugh Masekela's sister following President Cyril Ramaphosa's state of the nation address (Sona) in which he paid homage to the music icon.

In his maiden speech on Friday night, Ramaphosa quoted an extract from the late jazz legend stirring song, Thuma Mina (Send Me) in which he sees himself as the messenger of a new beginning.

In quoting the song, Ramaphosa also signaled a 'new dawn and appealed to both public servants and the country at large to do their best in their duty of serving the nation.

He said: "I wanna be there when the people start to turn it around, when they triumph over poverty. I wanna be there when the people win the battle against AIDS, I wanna lend a hand. I wanna be there for the alcoholic, I wanna be there for the drug addict, I wanna be there for the victims of violence and abuse, I wanna lend a hand. Send me."

Newly-elected President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered the state of the nation address on February 16 2018.

Speaker Baleka Mbete told Members of Parliament that she received a letter from the family on Thursday requesting that she relay their message of gratitude to him.

"Do tell President Cyril how touched the Masekela's are by his tribute to Hugh. My brother is smiling. It was a brave and rousing speech. So much work to be done," said High's sister Barbara in the letter.

The song did not just trend on social media, Google Trends illustrated that the number of hits on the Thuma Mina album had shot up sharply on the search engine since Friday’s address.

Limpopo, Free State and North West had the highest number of searches. The song had not trended for at least the past two years before Ramaphosa made mention of it.

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