Chairperson of SPIN Foundation and Jazz Day SA Movement Motsumi Makhene:
On this occasion of Bra Hugh's passing, the Spin Foundation, on behalf of the South African International Jazz Day Movement and its ambassadors, celebrates a life well lived and an artist abundantly expressed.
Our heartfelt condolences to the Masekela extended family, the Hugh Masekela Foundation and the SA music fraternity.
Many attributes have been expressed about Bra Hugh: the king of SA Jazz; an International Jazz icon; the father of SA Jazz; a brother who lived to the fullest; a teacher; a historian; a story teller; a legend etc. To the Spin Foundation, as its music Patron and international International Jazz Day Ambassador, he leaves the legacy of a selfless emissary to the Monk Institute and its President Mr. Herbie Hancock, fighting to bring International Jazz Day to Africa.
With heavy hearts, we can only say: thank you, rea leboga, siyabonga...heitha!!
Bra Hugh, although some say you represent the end of an era, the Spin Foundation sees you as the beginning of the age of Mbaqanga - a medley of rural and emerging urban migrant heritage that you so eloquently paint with the brush of S'timela. And somewhere in your irritation about the divided Africa, your music encouraged all to belong, especially Chileshe from Malawi.
You always remarked about the gem Alexandra Township was, with its colourful vibrations of weekend performance of rural music, dance laced with eclectic fashion - a cultural resistance and petition that asserted the African identity you so cherished. Out of those ingredients, Marabi, Khwela, Mbaqanga, Gouma and many other urban expressions of the Sophia Towns that you symbolise in you African urbanity.
The world misses you already, but your work continues in our quest to weave contemporary Jazz as part of a common humanity. Jazz reminds us that our past is not a mistake but a Song of Migration in perpetual search of life's essence.
Your spirit continues to live among celebrated international jazz diplomats of world peace and social justice.