Dr Hugh Masekela, this son of Africa has spawned a generation of musicians who have contributed to the teaching and practical knowledge of jazz and popular music in South Africa and globally.
The multi-talented flugelhornist, trumpeter, bandleader, composer, singer and defiant political voice who despite having a highly successful international career remained deeply connected to Africa.
In recognition of Hugh Masekela’s outstanding contribution to the music industry, the University of KwaZulu-Natal awarded him its highest honour, Doctor of Music (honoris causa) in April 2017.
Speaking during the UKZN graduation ceremony, Masekela asked the audience to consider several issues through which the excellence of African Heritage could be re-introduced into their lives, without abandoning the good inherited from the Western world.
Masekela spoke about the restoration and resilience of African Heritage, linking ethnic languages with praise poetry saying it was the universal genealogy of all African people.
‘Volumes of African-language history and literature books lie covered with dust and ticks in basements and warehouses all over the continent and parts of Europe. African artisanship lies dormant but awe-inspiring as are our arts and crafts, design and architecture,’ said Masekela.
His legacy will live on and he will be remembered for his huge contribution to the country’s political struggle through music.
On behalf of the University community, I extend our heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and the multitude of fans across the world.