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Bra Hugh’s Thuma Mina calls to We, The People of South Africa


Hugh Masekela’s Thuma Mina – (Send Me) – The People’s Version will be released across all digital platforms on Friday, September 11, in Heritage month.  Thuma Mina is a call to the people of South Africa to stand up collectively for change.   

In the song Thuma Mina (Send Me), Hugh Masekela pens the lyrics “I wanna be there when the people start to turn it around”, which rings true to the very first words in South Africa’s Constitution, “We, the People”.

The people of South Africa are facing tremendous challenges in the face of COVID-19,  such as severe poverty, a compromised economy, lack of access to healthcare and education, corruption and gender-based violence. Together, with a little help from some friends, Constitution Hill in partnership with the Hugh Masekela Heritage Foundation, have joined forces to produce a collaborative re-working –The People’s Version –  of the late, great Masekela’s anthemic Thuma Mina. The People’s Version strives to mobilise the citizens of South Africa into action, in support and empowerment of one another.

“It is not the size of the problems we must take into account, but rather our will, the people’s will, to create and manifest solutions, and our preparedness to scale those solutions across our diverse South African communities,” says Dawn Robertson, CEO of Constitution Hill.

A host of celebrated South African musicians, affectionately dubbed The Masekela All-Stars, collaborated on this noble vision to foster social cohesion and empower the people. Vocalists include the legendary Abigail Kubeka and Vusi Mahlasela, with the younger generation of stars represented by Thandiswa Mazwai, Zolani Mahola and J’Something. Bra Hugh’s nephew Selema Writes, adds a new fresh and fitting rap, that calls on South Africans to take action against gender-based violence.

Graced with the talents of Masekela’s last touring band, Johan MthethwaFana Zulu, Cameron WardGodfrey Mgcina and Leeroy Sauls, a horn section from the  Marcus Wyatt-led Bombshelter Beast, arranged by SAMA award winner Zwai Bala and produced by Grammy Award winning South African producer JB ArthurThuma Mina – The People’s Version, brings a vibrant, upbeat, can-do twist to Bra Hugh’s original – a burst of Hugh-inspired energy around which to organize, support and empower each other –  South Africans facing forward with indomitable spirit and innovation.

The music video includes a host of local heroes who have already heeded the call and selflessly served vulnerable fellow South Africans through the crisis. The video will go out with a practical call to download, share and live the values of our Constitution.

And now, a movement of active citizens, championed by Constitution Hill and The Masekela All-Stars, is forming under the banner of ‘We, the People’ to motivate, inspire and harness the power of each and every South African to come together and build a society steeped in human dignity, equality and freedom for all.

Rooted in the preamble of our Constitution, Thuma Mina – The People’s Version, is a call to take personal responsibility – to “improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person”, and to stand together as we do it. It is a clarion call to dispel our despondency and disillusionment, and instead stand together and find solutions to the challenges we face.

Dawn Robertson, CEO at Constitution Hill Development Company, explains the significance of the Thuma Mina call-for-change coming from Constitution Hill, “Constitution Hill serves to champion social cohesion in South Africa. It is the home of the voice of the people and the vessel of our beloved Constitution. The call –Thuma Mina – is to encourage our citizens to live the values of our Constitution and come together in the face of crisis with the strength of the culture of Ubuntu. Now more than ever, we need to call out to each other to come together and play our part.”

The ‘We, the People’ movement is inspired by the first three words in our Constitution which is the vision document for South Africa. “It demands of us to roll up our sleeves and to do the work to make the vision real. We must honour those who made the sacrifice by playing our part. Together we can build a united and democratic South Africa able to take its rightful place as a sovereign state in the family of nations! If not now, when? If not me, who?,” says Constitution Hill Trust trustee Robert Brozin.

This call reflects the original intent of Bra Hugh. At the time of Thuma Mina’s first release, the HIV/Aids pandemic was ravaging the county and the government was in deep denial. This was his call to the people, for the people. The newly added rap lyrics address the other South African pandemic, namely gender-based violence, as prevalent now as it was then.

In its original release Thuma Mina, was Bra Hugh’s call for the people to take charge of our constitutional values and rights – values he was personal witness to on 10 December 1996. As President Nelson Mandela signed our Constitution into law in Sharpeville. On that same stage Bra Hugh performed igniting  the South African spirit.

Arundhati Roy remarks, “Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.” Thuma Mina – The People’s Version is but one, powerful, step through that portal into a South Africa we always believed to be beyond our grasp, only because we left it in the hands of others and mistaken our power for theirs.

Together the people of South Africa, with commitment, discipline and love, can create solutions of support and empowerment through, not just the current pandemic, but also an as yet undisclosed future of prosperity, good will and well-being.

The call then, and the call now, is for the people of South Africa to embrace the values of our constitution, step up and be the catalyst for a people’s movement that will “start to turn it around”. Sharing resources, healing, building and nurturing a South Africa that belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity. It’s time for each and every South African to ask: “If not now, when? And if not us, who?” It is time for We, the People to take the lead.

The project was facilitated by Flame Studios, the state-of-the-art recording studio hub currently being built in the ramparts of the historic Old Fort at Constitution Hill. Studio director Lance McCormack explains: “This was the perfect inaugural project for Flame Studios, fulfilling our purpose to give new voice and agency to the people of South Africa while transforming a heavy and foreboding space with the power of music, creativity and passion.”

For more information go to

hashtags #WeThePeopleSA #MasekelaAllStars #ThumaMina #SendMe



 Constitution Hill

Constitution Hill is not only the home of the Constitutional Court, it is also a living museum that serves as a lekgotla where people can come together to address their concerns and discuss burning issues. It is a global beacon for human rights, a vantage point that gives an understanding of our society in transition and a place to celebrate the diversity of our nation.

Hugh Masekela Heritage Foundation

The Hugh Masekela Heritage Foundation exists to preserve and promote African heritage and to contribute to the restoration of African identity through the creation of cultural information facilities, the support and incubation of heritage arts, and the dissemination of this information and cultural inheritance throughout the African Diaspora and the world.

Flame Studios

Flame Studios is a state-of-the-art recording hub being built beneath the ramparts of the Old Fort on Constitution Hill, Johannesburg. These studios are a contemporary expression of the new spirit and direction of the Constitution Hill precinct, a place designed to amplify the voices of South Africa’s new generation of musicians, artists and storytellers. Operated as a not-for-profit, Flame Studios will be available for commercial hire, while focusing intently on developing local talent through accessible facilities and mentorships. Meeting a world-class standard, Flame will also provide a platform for international talent to collaborate with the South African music industry.

Comments from artists

Zolani Mahola

“You can send me. I want to be there for my people. Thuma mina.”

“Josh called me up to collaborate…it was an immediate yes. I said I’ll be there. It was my first COVID flight.”

“You are of this country. You have a tremendous role in making it the country that you want it to be.”

“That hard-fought constitution is alive and well. It’s not just a piece of paper. It’s something that must be lived and breathed by all of us. Standing here (at Constitution Hill), it’s amazing to see how the past, the present and the future are all coming together.”

“I feel like I am part of a long line of really strong people who used their voices. Like Bra Hugh and Mandela who filled these halls. And I’m also connected to these young people who don’t feel like they have a voice, I would like to say to them – you do have a voice – we need you to make this work, to build our perfect vision.”

Leeroy Sauls

“He (Hugh) was more about the message than the music.”

“In these times, we’ve got to show empathy and patience to each other. We’ve got to lend a hand, lend an ear. We can be there for each other.”

“We love him (Hugh) and just want to spread love and good vibes.”

Zwai Bala

“Just like the message, the new arrangement is all about paying it forward.”

“The new arrangement references church songs, struggle songs, marching bands through Alexandra – we want you to get that feeling – to say: ‘Yes, this is our song.’”

“It’s got a very live community song vibe. Makes you just wanna sing and dance along. It reminds us that we are still together.”

Thandiswa Mazwai

“The new energy, impetus, push (of the arrangement) gives you the energy to just go out and do something.”

“(When I first heard the song) I felt like this was a message that I could follow.”

“It’s infectious. Makes you want to be more and do more for your community. Love can change things. That’s what this song is about. If we embody that message, we can be there for one another.”

“All that is bad about the world is coming to a climax now. It’s a moment to reflect and come back to ourselves, and see how we can change the world. New worlds have to be imagined now.”

“This place (Constitution Hill) represents what has happened and what we hope to be. It is so powerful to film our hope of how we want to transform the world here. This is the place that can make that happen. The Constitution lives here. The Constitutional Court lives here. This is the place where we can change the world for the better. Let’s reimagine what these walls can create.”

Abigail Kubeka

On discussing the song with Hugh Masekela when it was first released: “It’s about time that you realise that this industry isn’t just about us; it’s about the people. We have to include the people in what we are doing. Something came into my mind to say, we are sending you – to the people to spread the gospel. All these years, we have been doing this for ourselves, for our own enjoyment – now we have to move to the people.”

On being asked what Bra Hugh would think of this new version of Thuma Mina. “He’s smiling in his grave. (Saying:) ‘That’s it. I did it and I’m doing it again!’”

Selema Writes

“When you hear the song – know that you can be there for somebody else. What is humanity without connection?”

“A call for us to forget about our egos; stretch out your hand to your sister, brother and ask them: ‘Is there anything I can do for you? I am here for you.’”

“Music should be a tool that eases people’s hearts.”

Mabusha Masekela

“People come out for Hugh. That’s one thing I’ve realised.”

“Hughie always stood up for the oppressed. For poor people.”

“Now we can take care of each other.”

“Reach out and be a human being on a round planet – where there is no top or bottom.”

Lindo Langa
Video director and grandson of Pius Langa – Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court

“It feels like coming home to do this project.”

Josh Georgiou
Hugh’s manager

“Spread the laughter. Spread the knowledge. That’s the way we can empower people. Every day in our lives.”

Godfrey Mgcina

“Everybody needs everybody now. You need someone to lift you up. You need to lift someone up. We all need to be in the mode of saying – send me.”


Tony Allen & Hugh Masekela Lead Photo 1 (low res) - credit Brett Rubin & Bernard Benant

Having first met in the 70s thanks to their respective close associations with Fela Kuti, Tony Allen and Hugh Masekela talked for decades about making an album together. When, in 2010, their touring schedules coincided in the UK, the moment presented itself and producer Nick Gold took the opportunity to record their encounter. The unfinished sessions, consisting of all original compositions by the pair, lay in archive until after Masekela passed away in 2018. With renewed resolution, Tony Allen and Nick Gold, with the blessing and participation of Hugh’s estate, unearthed the original tapes and finished recording the album in summer 2019 at the same London studio where the original sessions had taken place. According to Allen, the album deals in “a kind of South African-Nigerian swing-jazz Afrobeat stew”. Allen and Masekela are accompanied on the record by a new generation of well-respected jazz musicians including Tom Herbert (Acoustic Ladyland / The Invisible), Joe Armon-Jones (Ezra Collective), Mutale Chashi (Kokoroko) and Steve Williamson.

Out March 20th on CD, 180g heavyweight LP and digital, via World Circuit Records.

Preorder or pre-save the album now and listen to first track ‘We’ve Landed’:


A Celebration of a Life Well Lived

Ramapolo Hugh Masekela

4 April, 1939 – 23 January, 2018

 (Johannesburg, South Africa, 25 January 2018) It with profound gratitude that the family of Hugh Masekela and the Hugh Masekela Heritage Foundation acknowledge the outpouring of condolences and tributes paid to the late artist and activist from members of the public and the media – your loving words, the sweetness of your messages, the heartfelt posts on social media, commemorative front-page stories and countless radio and TV tributes, are all received with the utmost appreciation.

The support and encouragement we have received from Bra Hugh’s larger community across the continent, worldwide, and the Local, Provincial and National Departments of Arts & Culture, have been equally heartening, and have strengthened us in this difficult time.

The week ahead represents a time for all of us to say our final goodbyes to Bra Hugh – as such, there are events planned where media and members of the public are invited to commune, share memories, and bid farewell to this incredible artist, composer, activist and exemplar of Pan-African excellence.

The three public events will roll out as follows:


Hugh Masekela Heritage Park

The Hugh Masekela Heritage Park is an audiovisual celebration of Hugh Masekela’s life, chronicling his six-decade tenure as an artist and social, political and cultural activist. A temporary visitors centre of sorts, the Heritage Park will feature visuals, footage and audio that reflect Masekela’s rich and inspiring life journey.

Venue: Zoo Lake, Parkview – Johannesburg

Date: Friday, 26 January – Thursday 1 February, 2018

Time: 10h00 – 18h00 daily.


Heitada Alex! – Going Home 

A commemoration of Hugh Masekela’s life, hosted in Alexandra township, the home where he began his incredible journey in music. Friends, the artistic community and family will share their memories of this musical titan.

Venue: Sankopano Community Centre, Corner 12th Ave & Selborne St  – Alexandra, Johannesburg

Date: Friday, 26 January 2018

Time: 13h00


Hugh Masekela Musical Memorial

The final public tribute to Masekela, the event is a musical celebration of this legends life, featuring a range of artists he collaborated with, influenced and loved.

Venue:  University of Johannesburg – Soweto Campus, Chris Hani Rd, Soweto.

Date: Sunday, 28 January 2018

Time: 12h00



**The funeral service will be held as a farewell for family, relatives and close friends  **


Twitter, Instagram & Facebook – @Hugh Masekela



Released on behalf of the Hugh Masekela Heritage Foundation by Dreamcatcher



Marang Setshwaelo – 011 447 5655 / 082 559 1802



Sbu Mpungose 011 447 5655 / 072 522 9675




The World Celebrates Hugh Masekela


Image (673) Image (674)


Condolences from Empassy of Japan


The Guardian
Tributes paid to South African musician and activist Hugh Masekela

Paul Simon, Miriam Makeba, HM
1987: Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba and Paul Simon
Photograph by Phil Dent/Redferns

South Africans have paid tribute to Hugh Masekela, the legendary jazz musician and activist, who died on Tuesday aged 78.

The South African president, Jacob Zuma, said the nation would mourn a man who “kept the torch of freedom alive”. The arts and culture minister, Nathi Mthethwa, described Masekela as “one of the great architects of Afro-Jazz”. “A baobab tree has fallen,” Mthethwa wrote on Twitter.

A statement from the trumpeter’s family said Masekela “passed peacefully” in Johannesburg, where he lived and worked for much of his life, on Tuesday morning.

“A loving father, brother, grandfather and friend, our hearts beat with a profound loss. Hugh’s global and activist contribution to and participation in the areas of music, theatre and the arts in general is contained in the minds and memories of millions across six continents,” the statement read.

Relatives described Masekela’s “ebullient and joyous life”.

Masekela had been suffering from prostate cancer for almost a decade. He last performed in Johannesburg in 2010 when he gave two concerts that were seen as an “epitaph” to his long career and played at the opening ceremony of the football World Cup. Masekela toured internationally until 2016.

South African social media was flooded with tributes to “brother Hugh”, whose career and work was closely intertwined with the troubled politics of his homeland.

The singer Johnny Clegg described Masekela as “immensely bright and articulate … an outstanding musical pioneer and a robust debater, always holding to his South African roots.”

Masekela was born in Witbank, a mining town in eastern South Africa, and was given his first trumpet by the anti-apartheid activist archbishop Trevor Huddleston, who formed a pioneering jazz band in Soweto in the 1950s that became a launchpad for many of South Africa’s most famous jazz musicians.

Masekela went on to study in the UK and the US, where he had significant success.

As well as forming close friendships with jazz legends such as Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Charles Mingus, Masekela performed alongside Janis Joplin, Otis Redding and Jimi Hendrix in the 1960s.

He returned to Africa where he played with icons such as Nigeria’s Fela Kuti, and in 1974 he helped organise a three-day festival before the “Rumble in the Jungle” boxing clash in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman.

In 1976, the man who became known as the father of South African jazz composed Soweto Blues in response to the uprising in the vast township. He toured with Paul Simon in the 1980s while continuing his political engagement, writing Bring Him Back Home (Nelson Mandela) in 1987. The song became an anthem of the anti-apartheid struggle.

James Hall, a writer and broadcaster who spent time with Masekela in the 1990s, said he “could have prickly personality” at times “due to the tension and frustration of being away from his own country for so long”.

Masekela was briefly married to Miriam Makeba in the 1960s and remained on good terms with the South African singer after their divorce. “They had a wonderful friendship and were very, very close,” said Hall, who co-wrote Makeba’s autobiography.

Masekela refused to take citizenship anywhere outside South Africa “despite the open arms of many countries”, said his son, Selema Mabena Masekela, on Tuesday.

“My father’s life was the definition of activism and resistance. His belief [was] that the pure evil of a systematic racist oppression could and would be crushed. Instead he would continue to fight.”

After more than 30 years in exile, Masekela returned to South Africa in the early 90s after the release of Nelson Mandela from prison and the end of apartheid.

Masekela had many fans overseas. “Hugh Masekela was a titan of jazz and of the anti-apartheid struggle. His courage, words and music inspired me … and strengthened the resolve of those fighting for justice in South Africa,” said Jeremy Corbyn on Twitter.


Hugh Masekela: ‘A disarming smile, sharp wit, and music that seemed sculpted from gold’

Fellow musicians remember instrument shopping, eating Chinese food and – even – getting on the wrong side of the legendary trumpet player


Soweto Kinch, saxophonist

Hugh Masekela was that rare combination of musicianship and integrity: he created music that perfectly encapsulates a period in time, a movement for freedom and the spirit and hopes of a people. But, however much his music bristles with protest, in person he was always so calm and collected, and although his stately manner let you know you were in the presence of greatness, he was always approachable.

He had a disarming smile and a sharp wit, and often wisecracked about the irony of me, a “London boy”, being called Soweto, but I have no doubt that he valued the name my parents had given me, and understood his own role in bringing the story of the Soweto Uprising to international attention.

He achieved the holy grail of being technically accomplished but also the creator of a wholly original style of trumpet phrasing. His way of repeating rhythmical motifs, his driving sense of beat and his unique tone were infused with distinctive African qualities, making music that was instantly recognisable as his own. On stage, he was completely grounded – he never over-played, or needed prove anything. We travelled to Paris, Budapest and London for 2006’s Jazz Odyssey tour, and, night after night, with an economy of both movements and notes, he’d produce music that seemed sculpted from gold. Just hearing a few notes I could imagine what the shebeens of 1950s Sophiatown might have felt like. He’s birthed generations of artists in South Africa and beyond, determined to fuse jazz and other genres with a very personal experience and culture.

I learnt from Masekela’s music and his words, but also from how he chose to live his life. Examples of his principled stance on things were born out by his life choices. He never returned to live in an ethically compromised “New South Africa” as the reality of inequality and economical hardship had strayed so far from the ideals. He always made time for fans – staying behind after shows to meet them, many of whom, like him, had been in long exile from Apartheid South Africa. And, like the greatest bandleaders, his spirit, generosity and warmth infused all the musicians in his band. I’ve rarely played with a group who were so keen to swap stories, share music and encourage each other. I always left our musical encounters feeling emboldened to follow my own direction.

Yazz Ahmed and Leigh McKinney by Yasmeen Ahmed
Hugh Masekela, Yazz Ahmed and Leigh McKinney
Photograph by Yasmeen Ahmed

Yazz Ahmed, trumpeter

In 2015 I was invited to play at a private party where, unbeknown to me, Hugh Masekela was the guest of honour. I performed a version of Scarborough Fair from the balcony overlooking the guests, and, afterwards, Hugh made his way up the stairs to introduce himself. He was charmingly complimentary about my sound, and very curious about my flugelhorn, and asked if he could try it. He brought the room to a hushed silence as he started to play.Naturally I knew Masekela as one of the great trumpet players of the jazz world but, perhaps because I had just turned seven and was still living in Bahrain when Nelson Mandela was released, I didn’t know about his importance as a protester and campaigner. But I began to understand what a great man he was later that same evening, as he spoke about his life, his struggle and his music. I was inspired by his passion and particularly struck by the choice he made to play music that was personal to him and his South African heritage.

Masekela had been so impressed by the few notes he played on my horn that he decided he wanted to buy one for himself, and later that month we went together to the Eclipse Trumpet factory in Luton to chose him a flugelhorn. It was lovely spending time with him, playing to each other and getting geeky about all things trumpet. He even signed the wall in the factory, a tradition started by the master instrument maker Leigh Mckinney, who delivered Hugh’s newly made flugelhorn to him at the Love Supreme Festival just a few days later.

Later that year I got to see him performing at the Barbican where he sang and played his heart out, telling more stories about his incredible life. He filled the hall with his joyful sound, accompanied only by a pianist, and held the audience in the palm of his hand.


Jason Yarde, composer, arranger, saxophonist

The world has lost one of its greatest musical communicators, human rights activists, and biggest smiles. Everywhere I went in London on Tuesday I seemed to hear Hugh’s music. Dare I say the only positive side-effect in the passing of the greats is that the airwaves generally improve for a period of time as we remember the extraordinary music left behind?

I first worked with Hugh Masekela back in 1995 as a member of a group called the London Afro Bloc. We were essentially the backing band for both him and another musical giant, Manu Dibango, who were performing as part of Africa Expo. I’ll never forget the “WTF?” look on Hugh’s face when we met for our first and only rehearsal on the day of the performance and the true stripped-down, no-harmony-instrument-in-sight nature of our lineup was revealed. He was clearly expecting something else and let his concerns be known in no uncertain terms. Mr Dibango smoothed things out and everything went ahead fine, but I was left with the impression that Mr Masekela was certainly not someone you’d want to upset.

Some years later I was asked to arrange some music for a concert that would feature Gary Crosby’s Big Band Jazz Jamaica Allstars and a choir alongside Masekela’s voice and horn. I reminded him that we had worked together nine years before. He remembered the occasion, if not me. “I was a different person then” he said. He’d clearly been through some transitions and dark times but had come through the other side – with the help of Tai Chi and family, he told me.

We spent many days together, working on arrangements, rehearsing singers, he ordered us Chinese food (there was no time to cook), and we travelled across East London visiting schools. On every occasion, his commitment to the song, to inspiring the kids, and to instilling in everyone the importance of doing a great job was unwavering.

The next time we worked together the ante was upped once more. When invited to perform his first full orchestral concert with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican one of the conditions he set out was that I would be responsible for all the musical arrangements. Added to this the orchestra commissioned me to write a Flugelhorn concerto for Masekela to play with the orchestra. For me, he is one of a handful of trumpet players who ‘owns’ the sound of the Flugel in the same way Miles Davis ‘owned’ the sound of the Harmon muted Trumpet. My concerto, All Souls Seek Joy, was premiered in 2007 and was partly shaped by my response to spending time in South Africa and being overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of the place.

That same programme featured also Stimela, Masakela’s anthem telling the story of the train taking migrant workers to the deep, dirty work in the mines. You can hear years of struggle alongside immense hope and joy in his voice. No matter how many times I heard his impression of train whistle it always went straight to my heart.

Masekela managed to cram such a multitude of lives into his 78 years. He was the man child who discovered the trumpet just at the right time and chose that over certain trouble. He was endorsed by jazz legends Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie. And then the politics – how could any musician in South Africa, especially a black one growing up with Apartheid, not be a political figure? Of course he pushed against this terrible agenda over many years in exile. And then there is the romance – he and Miriam Makeba were the original black music power couple way before the Jay-Z/Beyonce era.

It’s traditional to say rest in peace on these occasions and Bra Hugh truly deserves the rest, but I dare say if he’s able this unquenchable spirit will at least on occasion do his stage shuffle and blow his horn.


More from The Guardian:

Masekela’s life and career – in pictures

Hugh Masekela obituary: jazz pioneer who fought the evil of apartheid

10 Key Performances, from Afrobeat to Apartheid Anthems



AFRIMA Celebrates the Life of African Music Icon, Late Hugh Masekela

The International Committee of AFRIMA (All Africa Music Awards) celebrates the life of an African music icon and activist, Hugh Masekela as he passed on peacefully at his country home, Johannesburg, South Africa after a protracted battle with prostate cancer on January 23, 2018 at the aged 78.

Masekela was nominated for three nominations at the 2017 AFRIMA Awards in the categories of ‘Best Male Artiste in Southern Africa’ for his recent single ‘Shango’, ‘Album of the Year’ for his recent album ‘No Borders’ and for the ‘Best Artiste in African Jazz’. These three nominations show that the legend waxed strong till his last breadth. Masekela was scheduled to be at the host city, Lagos, Nigeria, for the 2017 AFRIMA Awards in November but was unable to make it due to his ill health in spite all his efforts.

The President and Executive Producer, AFRIMA, Mike Dada, stated that “it is a huge loss for the  continent and African music. Masekela’s music had the depth, the lyricism and the instrumentation that place the legend in the class of world music classics with a definitive signature of its African sound. The music icon will be greatly missed but his music and struggle for free and prosperous Africa will always be in our hearts and minds.”

Masekela gained global recognition with his distinctive Afro-Jazz sound and hit song-Soweto Blues. He creates music from his Africa’s experiences andis known for excellent use of trumpet, flugelhorn, trombone and cornet instruments.

Born in April 4, 1939 and ventured into music as a child when the anti-apartheid chaplain, Archbishop Trevor Huddleston gave him a trumpet as a gift. He found escape from the racial chaos in South Africa in his days with music. He later joined the Johannesburg Native Municipal Bras Band, Uncle Suada.In later years, Masekela studied the art of music in London’s Guildhall School of Music and the Manhattan School of Music, New York.

The legend had released 49 Albums from the 1966 to 2016 and featured legends like Paul Simon, Lady Smith Mambazo, Mariam Makeba and others. He was nominated for the Grammy Awards for Best Contemporary Pop Performance – Instrumental in 1968 for his single ‘Grazing in the Grass’, an anti-apartheid piece which sold 4 million copies among other nominations.

AFRIMA will pay tribute to Hugh Masekela in a glorifying spectacle at its fifth edition scheduled to hold in November 2018.


Family Statement

HM 2017_2

It is with profound sorrow that the family of Ramapolo Hugh Masekela announce his passing. After a protracted and courageous battle with prostate cancer, he passed peacefully in Johannesburg, South Africa, surrounded by his family.

A loving father, brother, grandfather and friend, our hearts beat with profound loss.  Hugh’s global and activist contribution to and participation in the areas of music, theatre, and the arts in general is contained in the minds and memory of millions across 6 continents and we are blessed and grateful to be part of a life and ever-expanding legacy of love, sharing and vanguard creativity that spans the time and space of 6 decades.  Rest in power beloved, you are forever in our hearts.

We will, in due course, release details of memorial and burial services. Hugh Masekela was someone who always engaged robustly with the press on musical and social political issues. We laud the press for respecting his privacy through his convalescence, and during this, our time of grief. Our gratitude to all and sundry for your condolences and support.

Released on behalf of the Masekela family by Dreamcatcher



Marang Setshwaelo – 011 447 5655 / 082 559 1802



Sbu Mpungose 011 447 5655 / 072 522 9675





Assupol presents the 4th annual Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival

HMHF Story Image

The 4th annual Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival returns to its Soweto home at Rockville’s Elkah Stadium on 4 November 2017. This not-to-be-missed festival, presented by Assupol, features a wide range of musical flavours including Riky Rick’s Hip Hop hits and Papa Penny’s Tsonga disco, headlined by Oliver Mtukudzi.

Though he is not performing as he is resting after undergoing cancer treatment, the line-up is curated by Bra Hugh who is passionate about the power and potential of our nation’s cultural diversity. “We are becoming a society that imitates other cultures, yet we have the biggest diversity of heritage in our country. This festival is about celebrating that,” says Masekela, who this year was honoured with a Doctorate in Music by the University of KwaZulu-Natal on his 78th and birthday and was also honoured with another doctorate of music by Wits University.

This eclectic approach will be evident on stage on 4 November when fresh artists on the rise, who released albums this year, will also perform: Afro Folk singer Bongeziwe Mabandla; Indie band Bye Beneco; Soul Reggae funksters Johnny Cradle and Jazzy songbird Zoe Modiga. There will also be a performance by a Traditional Basotho Group and BCUC, a percussion heavy Indigenous Funk crew who have been catching the ears of international and local festival goers of late.

“Don’t miss this joyful family afternoon and early evening get together, Oliver and I together is spectacular, plus you’ll be bowled over by the seasoned artists and new names in the industry. Be there or be square!” Says Bra Hugh.

The Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival is a day of family fun, with entertainment available for all ages.  Tickets are R100 at Computicket, R150 at the gate and R50 for pensioners. Gates open at 11:00 am on the 4th of November.

Bridget Mokwena-Halala, Assupol Life CEO, said: “Music, entertainment and good food are an integral part to this inventive festival and we are at the same time, both honoured and excited to be part of it again. It showcases some of our brilliant local talent which promises an even more memorable experience than the previous year. This event is testament to Assupol’s commitment to the community it serves.”


About the event

Event              Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival

Date               Saturday, 4 November 2017

Venue            Soweto Cricket Oval (Elkah Stadium), 107 Lefatola Street, Moroka, Soweto



Oliver Mtukudzi

Papa Penny

Riky Rick

Bongeziwe Mabandla

Zoe Modiga

Bye Beneco


Johnny Cradle

Basotho Traditional Group


Follow the Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival on social media

Twitter            @hmhconcert

Facebook       Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival




Born 22 September 1952 in Harare, Tuku (as he is affectionately and respectfully known by his many fans), the ‘soul-dripping voice of Zimbabwe’ as he has so aptly been described, has a career that has spanned 40 years, and is only now reaching its peak. An amazing body of work with no less than sixty original album releases (nearly all of them best-sellers)! Also to his credit are several collaborations and compilation releases.

It is his dedication to the live music scene in Zimbabwe – continually playing to enthusiastic audiences in even the remotest parts of the country – and his socio-politically topical messages that have earned him the massive place he holds in people’s hearts today. He is without question, the biggest Zimbabwean artist presently both there and abroad.  In the past years, his popularity has risen exponentially in the Southern African region, indeed the entire continent and the world at large. Together with his long-standing band, The Black Spirits, he regularly ventures across borders into Botswana, South Africa, Swaziland, Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique. In the past two years, the group has toured the UK, USA, New Zealand, Australia and Europe extensively.

Tuku has, in fact, been so innovative that his music is now widely referred to as ‘Tuku Music’ being quite distinct from any other Zimbabwean styles. This is not to say that there are no recognisable influences in his work – the traditional forms of the mbira, the South African mbaqanga style, and the popular Zimbabwean music style called jiti, all affect it deeply  – but these, like katekwe, the traditional drumming patterns of his clan, the Korekore, are very much absorbed into an art which is now indubitably his own.



Riky Rick is a rapper, producer/entertainer based in Johannesburg, South Africa. His latest album, Family Values, was certified platinum by RISA and was in the Top 20 African albums of 2015. He has won numerous awards for his music, most notably the MTV AFRICA AWARD FOR BEST MUSIC VIDEO, a Loerie Award for his short film, Exodus and two awards at the South African Hip Hop Awards.

Born in 1987, Riky Rick’s music style has been influenced by early Kwaito and Hip Hop. Borrowing from these influences, he has managed to carve a lane for himself as one of South Africa’s most electrifying performers and rap artists that the continent has ever seen. His raw and eclectic style has found the perfect synergy between South African township life and international appeal.

Beyond music, Riky is one of the most loved and respected personal brands, lending his face and creativity to major campaigns for Ben Sherman, Puma, Russian Bear Vodka and Woolworths. He recently won Most Stylish Male in performing Art at the prestigious South African Style Awards held in November 2016.



Born in Kulani Village, Giyani, Limpopo Province in the year 1962, Papa Penny, who was too poor to attend school, went to Johannesburg to look for a job. After a period in the mines, his search for a job led him to a recording studio where he was working as a cleaner. At this studio in Johannesburg in 1994, Afro-beat producer Joseph Shirimani was approached by Papa Penny. He just sang a song for Shirimane and that’s when he heard this unusual voice and melodies.

Together, Shirimani and the cleaning man wound up cutting several songs, including ‘Shaka Bundu’. That song, an example of Tsonga (or Shangaan) Afro-disco, updated traditional African music with synthesizers, electric guitars and Disco or House beats. Released in 1994, ‘Shaka Bundu’ went on to sell 250,000 copies in South Africa and made Papa Penny a star.

Now, 23 years later, the song, along with a whole album of Papa Penny music, has also been unleashed in the States – much to the surprise of the man who sang on it. Currently, Papa Penny has a reality show on Mzansi Magic, called Ahee Papa Penny.



When Bongeziwe Mabandla surfaced with his debut album in 2012, he was hailed as the new face of Afro-Folk, effortlessly able to entwine Xhosa lyrics with traditional music and folk stylings to create something uniquely captivating.

That the Eastern Cape artist can move into territory occupied by Africa’s most gifted singer-songwriters (Baaba Maal; Ismaël Lô for instance) is visible in his second album, 2017’s Mangaliso, his first through a new deal with Universal Music. The 10-track record is a sumptuous listen that spotlights Mabandla’s artistic growth into one of the most purposeful and gifted artists working in South Africa today.

In support of Mangaliso, Mabandla is playing live – this time augmented by Correia-Paolo on guitar and samples as well as Mike Wright (Zebra & Giraffe) on drums. Watching the trio perform is nothing short of captivating and it’s no surprise to find that Mabandla’s international bookings for 2017 are gathering pace. Already, he’s travelled extensively over the past few years, playing Primavera Sound in Barcelona and Africa Festival in Germany. Mabandla has played all local festivals and also toured Australia, Asia and Canada, substantially expanding his audience through a series of critically-acclaimed live performances

Born in Tsolo, a rural town in the Eastern Cape, Bongeziwe Mabandla displayed all the signs of a passion for art and music from an early age. After studying drama at AFDA, a film television and performance school in Johannesburg, his 2012 debut Umlilo earned two South African Music Awards nominations in 2013, for Best Newcomer and Best Adult African album.



Johnny Cradle is a Johannesburg, South Africa based three-piece band. Laz provides the DJ scratch samples and FX, Tebogo J Mosane drums the drums and backs the vocals, Sakie leads the vocals, bass the moog and plays the keys.

With roots in Mdantsane and Umtata in the Eastern Cape and Ga-Rankuwa in Gauteng, it’s no wonder these 80s grown-ups have a diverse influence behind their township slang Xhosa/ English lyrics driven by heavy bass, almost Hip-Hop electronica drum rhythms, DJ cuts reminiscent of golden era Hip-Hop and Bluesy Rock electric guitars.

Johnny Cradle’s self-titled debut album was released in 2017 and shows off the trio’s knack for deep haunting back beats, landscape guitar lines, bullying moog infused bass lines and socially conscious manifestos. Taut and lean, Cradle’s debut boasts a collection of songs that are cerebral as much as they are danceable.



Bye Beneco is a SAMA nominated Indie band from Johannesburg. Their sound has stemmed from a multitude of musical styles.

This eclectic dream-Pop ensemble has a magnetic energy that elevates their music. The sound stems from various styles, with evocative vocals at the essence of their songwriting.

Forever changing and evolving, the band refers to their opus as somewhat of a musical ADD with Africa being their biggest influence. Bye Beneco have recently released their latest single, ‘Jungle Drums’ accompanied by a new music video. Their new EP, ‘Ghetto Disko’ is out now!



Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness (BCUC) moves the audience – both physically and emotionally – with an explosion of passion, funk and rhythm. With their music, straight from the ancestors, BCUC wants to question the common worldview on modern Africa. The basic ingredients of BCUC’s sound are the traditional whistle, percussion and a rocking guitar. Topped by the raw combative voice of Jovi, flowing rap by Luja and Hloni, the sweet and clear vocals of Kgomotso, and chants of all four vocals together. They baptised their unique sound as ‘indigenous Funky Soul’.

BCUC takes the audience along on an intriguing journey to the secret world of modern Africa. They want to rectify western assumptions and show the post-apartheid South Africa from a young, contemporary, different perspective. In 11 languages, BCUC discusses the harsh reality of Africa where especially the unemployed worker forever stays at the bottom of the food chain. And also, they tap into the elusiveness of the spirit world of ancestors that fascinates them. Africa portrayed by BCUC is not poor at all, but rich in tradition, rituals and beliefs.

“We see ourselves as modern freedom fighters who have to tell the story of Soweto’s past, present and future to the world.” – Jovi Nkosi, singer of BCUC



Zoë Modiga who released her debut, Yellow: The Novel, in 2017, was born in Overport, Durban and raised in Pietermaritzburg. Her love for music at a very young age encouraged her to attend the National School of the Arts in Braamfontein, Johannesburg where she studied classical piano, clarinet and vocals. She is currently completing her degree in Jazz vocals at the South African College of Music at the University of Cape Town (UCT).

Zoë was in the TOP 8 of The Voice SA, Season 1, sang “Amazing Grace” under the film scoring of Kyle Shepherd in Oscar nominated movie, Noem My Skollie and won the SAMRO Overseas Scholarship Competition for singing in 2015.

Over the past few years, with some experience behind her, this singer-songwriter’s talent has opened a number of doors in the music industry. She has featured on tracks by The Kiffness; the Frank Paco Art Ensemble and Seba Kaapstad. Zoe has been fortunate enough to be part of celebrated festivals such as the Aardklop Festival, Artscape Youth Jazz Festival, the UCT Jazz Festival, Joy of Jazz, the Amersfoort Jazz Festival and The Cape Town International Jazz Festival.

Be Pioneers of African Heritage Restoration

hugh 2

Hugh Masekela Honoured by Wits University

WITS University

Music icon Hugh Masekela tells graduands to “go out there and kick some booty’.

Wits University today conferred on honorary Doctor of Music degree on Bra Hugh Masekela in the Great Hall, the same stage where he performed as a 19-year-old member of the orchestra in the opening concert of Todd Matshikiza’s landmark jazz opera King Kong.

“I am deeply honoured and honesty humbled,” Masekela said in his acceptance speech.

He implored graduands to become the “new pioneers of African heritage restoration at a time when we seem to be leaning on the brink of being wholly swallowed by most Western culture and several Middle Eastern and Eastern civilizations to the exclusion of our own traditions”.

Masekela says there are innumerable alarming reasons that African society needs to heed for the revival of African heritage restoration, such as the gradual demise of the mother tongue in almost all African countries. “A decade or two from now, African society will be the first in human history to have abandoned its native tongues in preference to those manipulated by colonial rule if we do not soon reinstitute our own languages back into our homes, schools and social interaction with each other.”

He told graduands to learn and teach “our own history” instead of the European education that still consumes us – something that has left us convinced that our heritage is “backward, savage, pagan, primitive, barbaric and uncivilized”.

“We have long relegated our magnificent vernacular literature to the dust and insect-infested floors of crumbling old warehouses in favour of imported writings, hip hop, rap and other forms of trending fashions that distance us as far as possible from our rich traditional legacy.

“We need to study, learn, and teach our traditional music, dance, oral literature and more in our own academies and future educational institutions where we can revive and redevelop what has been lost from the positive content of our glorious history without abandoning the best of what the West has brought to our otherwise void-encrusted lives,” he said.

Masekela also called for a return to the trader society, the great manufacturing civilization Africa once was, and to “cease being consumer fodder”.

“The time is now for Africans to rediscover and regenerate the existing wealth of their artisanship and original design talents and skills so that we can begin to manufacture furniture, linens, cutlery, crockery, bedding, clothing, interior décor materials and fabrics and other household goods for retail and export not exclusive of traditional architecture and construction to replace the frenzied purchase of commodities from other lands.”

“Go out there and kick some booty,” he said resulting in a thundering applause from graduands.



No Borders Picks Up SAMA

No Borders News

Love SA Entertainment
Simon Hodgson

Last night, 26 May saw the first night of SAMA23 taking place at Sun City.

The night belonged to Khaya Mthethwa. The former Idols SA winner picked up two trophies for his album The Dawn in the Best Contemporary Faith Music Album and Best Live Audio Visual Recording categories.

It was a good night for gospel as the late singer S’fiso Ncwane won the Best Selling Digital Artist for his album Ngipholise Nkosi; and gospel ensemble Joyous Celebration’s Joyous 20 DVD, earned them the Best Selling DVD gong.

The stage is set for a showdown between two of the most nominated artists as Kwesta and Amanda Black took home one award apiece. Kwesta triumphed in the Best Collaboration Award category with his monster hit Ngud’ while Amanda collected the Best R&B/Soul/Reggae Album for her release Amazulu.

They go into the main awards show tomorrow night with four nominations each.

In a SAMA first, Nigerian reggae/dancehall singer Patoranking won the inaugural Best African Artist.

Other notable winners from tonight are Hugh Masekela for Best Adult Contemporary Album for No Borders; the young dynamic duo Soul Kulture for Best African Adult Album for Ngeliny’ilanga; and Nduduzo Makhathini with Umgidi Trio and One Voice Vocal Ensemble for Best Jazz Album for Inner Dimensions.

In the technical awards, Sjava’s Isina Muva won the Best Produced Album of the Year; Arno Carstens’ Aandblom took Best Engineered Album of the Year; while Best Music Video of the Year went to Miss Pru for Ameni.

Here is the full list of winners. The main awards show will be live on SABC 1 tonight at 8pm.

Best Adult Contemporary

Hugh Masekela – No Borders

Best African Adult

Soul Kulture – Ngeliny’ilanga

Best Alternative Music Album

Native Young – Kings

Best R&B/Soul/Reggae Album

Amanda Black – Amazulu

Best Contemporary Faith Music Album

Khaya Mthethwa – The Dawn

Beste Pop Album

ADAM – Hoogtevrees

Best Jazz Album

Nduduzo Makhathini with Umgidi Trio and One Voice Vocal Ensemble – Inner Dimensions

Best Classical and/Instrumental Album

Charl du Plessis Trio – Baroqueswing Vol. II

Best Traditional Music Album

Dr Thomas Chauke Na Shinyori Sisters – Shimatsatsa No 34: Xiganga

Best African Artist

Patoranking – Patoranking

Best Live Audio Visual Recording

Khaya Mthethwa -The Dawn

Best Collaboration

Kwesta – Ngud’

Best Music Video of the Year

Miss Pru – Ameni

Best Produced Album of the Year

sjava – Isina Muva

Best Engineered Album of the Year

Arno Carstens – Aandblom 13

Best Remix of the Year

Vic – Wena Wedwa (MusicCraftMAN Mix)

Best Selling DVD of the Year

Joyous Celebration 20

Best Selling Digital Artist

Sfiso Ncwane – Ngipholise Nkosi

Best Selling Album of the Year

My Hart Bly In n Taal – Refentse

CAPASSO Best Selling Digital Download Composer’s Award

Sfiso Ncwane – Ngipholise Nkosi

Bra Hugh withdraws from US Shows April / May 2017


Press Release

Hugh Masekela was advised by his physician not to travel to the US following a recent fall in Morocco in which he dislocated his right shoulder. The injury was not initially thought to be too serious, but after further assessment it emerged that the fall aggravated old shoulder and back injuries which Hugh sustained in 1993, (when he suffered ruptured tendons and ligament damage in both shoulders after falling through a hole in the stage during a performance at the JHB City Hall).

The medical advice was therefore to remain in SA in order to undergo an immediate operation to repair the back tendons, and then extended rest, in order not to risk any future permanent damage.

He will thus not be allowed to perform for at least 4 weeks

This affects the following shows:

The 27 April Jazz Epistles Performance at Town Hall, New York, NY will continue with Abdullah Ibrahim and Ekaya with Lesedi Ntsane.

The 29 April Jazz Epistles Performance at the New Orleans Jazz Festival will continue with Abdullah Ibrahim and Ekaya with Lesedi Ntsane.

Lesedi Ntsane is a talented young South African trumpet player, who recently graduated from the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York. Bra Hugh recommended Lesedi Ntsane as an exciting musician of amazing ability for whom he has tremendous respect.

The 30 April Jazz Epistles Performance at the Atlanta Jazz Festival has been cancelled.

The 4 May Tribute to Louis Armstrong at the New Orleans Jazz Festival will continue as scheduled, featuring Nicholas Payton, James Andrews and Dr Michael White.

Bra Hugh is deeply disappointed that he cannot perform at these shows and hopes to be back on stage by the end of May. He looks forward to seeing his loyal US fans when the Jazz Epistles return in 2018.