Uphill task to keep Hugh Masekela's memory alive

23 January 2019 - 09:29
By Thuso Magano
Jazz legend Hugh Masekela's death has sparked advertising friction.
Jazz legend Hugh Masekela's death has sparked advertising friction.

A year after the passing of South African legendary trumpeter Bra Hugh Masekela, his family and foundation said they were still trying to fill the void he left as they work to ensure that his legacy lives on.

Masekela died on January 23 2018 after succumbing to prostate cancer.

Bra Hugh's nephew Mabusha Masekela said although it had been a tough year without him, he is glad that the icon was released from the pain caused by the disease.

"I stayed with him most of my life because he raised me like his son, I miss his presence and humour," he said.

Although there won't be any big celebrations on Wednesday to commemorate the first anniversary of his death, those who were close to him said they hold him in their hearts and celebrate his life by mostly playing his music.

Rosie Katz who is the administrator of the Hugh Masekela Heritage Foundation, which was started by the musician, said it had been hard without the father of South African jazz and they miss him sorely.

"It has been a hard year without him but we had to keep strong and celebrate his legacy, his dream and passion," Katz said.

"Working with him was a gift and I think his vision of promoting African culture and heritage was a strong one; we are grateful that he established the foundation."

The foundation said it was not planning elaborate commemoration.

It is, however, working on a television documentary which Masekela was narrating before he passed on. The documentary, which focuses on a series of songs and dance moves across Africa, is expected to be aired next year.

The documentary is not about Masekela or popular musicians, but looks at ordinary people who are still preserving their cultural music and inter-generational stories as the young and old share traditional stories of Africa.

Both Katz and Masekela's nephew, Mabusha, said they would ensure that the upcoming generation knows what the musician stood for.

Mabusha said he would remember his uncle for the person that he was, his words of encouragement and how he loved and valued his culture.

"He always said that one must be proud of oneself and where one comes from".