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Legendary South African jazz artist Hugh Masekela has passed away

The “father of South African jazz” was a vital voice in South Africa's anti-apartheid movement

  • Patrick Hinton
  • 23 January 2018
Legendary South African jazz artist Hugh Masekela has passed away

Hugh Masekela has died aged 78. A statement from his family says he “passed peacefully” in Johannesburg “after a protracted and courageous battle with prostate cancer”.

Known as the “father of South African jazz”, Masekela had a long and successful career, releasing numerous albums.

He was heralded as a key figure in the anti-apartheid movement, with tracks such as ‘Soweto Blues’ and ‘Bring Him Back Home (Nelson Mandela)’ protesting the institutionalised racial discrimination inflicted upon black South Africans.

His 1984 record ‘Techno-Bush’ featured the track ‘Don’t Go Lose It Baby’ which spent two weeks at number two in the US dance chart and is still a regular selection for DJs today.

South African President Jacob Zuma has released a statement on Masekela’s passing, commenting his death is “an immeasurable loss to the music industry and to the country at large" and that “his contribution to the struggle for liberation will never be forgotten.”

His family wrote: "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 six continents.

"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 six decades."

The statement also says details of the memorial and burial services will be announced “in due course”.

Patrick Hinton is Mixmag's Digital Staff Writer, follow him on Twitter

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