Hugh Masekela's contribution to the struggle for liberation will never be forgotten

South African jazz musician Hugh Masekela

Legendary South African Jazz musician Hugh Masekela dead

Confirming his demise, Masekela's family in a press statement stated, "After a protracted and courageous battle with prostate cancer, he passed peacefully in Johannesburg, South Africa surrounded by his family".

News of Masekela's passing was reported on SA FM this morning.

"I have been in treatment for prostate cancer since 2008 when doctors discovered a small "speck" on my bladder".

Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa has confirmed the news.

He was also honoured with a "Hugh Masekela Day" in March 2011.

Tributes continue to pour in on social media.

I am sad to learn of the passing of legendary South African trumpeter, composer and singer, Hugh Masekela.

In the late 50s, Masekela joined up with Dollar Brand (later known as Abdullah Ibrahim), Kippie Moeketsi, Jonas Gwangwa, Johnny Gertze, and alternately Early Mabuza or Makaya Ntshoko on drums, to form The Jazz Epistles, who regularly performed at the Odin Theatre in Sophiatown. Condolences to the Masekela family. Considered the "father of South African jazz", we can scarce tell the story of South Africa without speaking of his enormous contributions to the liberation of black people through his jazz compositions. His other song Bring Him Back Home, released in a 1987 album, became a hit as it was an anti-apartheid protest song that demanded the release Nelson Mandela. Ntate Hugh Masekela was internationally renowned and locally loved and celebrated.

With the Sharpeville massacre in mind and with jazz being seen as an expression of resistance, performances and broadcasts in South Africa were severely restricted. May his soul rest in eternal peace.

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