JOHANNESBURG, January 25 – Though the funeral of South African jazz legend Hugh Masekela will be closed to the public and the media, his family on Thursday announced a series of events to celebrate his life and times.
Masekela lost his long battle against prostate cancer on Tuesday. He was 78, and a worldwide celebrated composer, trumpeter, and activist.
Masekela’s son, Selema “Sal” Masekela, thanked the public for showing support to his family during their time of grief, saying that they had been strengthened by tributes and messages of condolences coming in from around the world.
“We have been completely blown away by the manner in which people from all over the world have expressed themselves, the manner in which my father’s music touched them and how he made a difference in their lives. Everyday that we turn on the TV, the radio or computer, we are blown away, and it has given my family an immense amount of strength. So we thank the people for sharing those stories and we hope they continue sharing them,” Sal said.
“The week ahead represents the time for all of us to say our final goodbyes to Bra Hugh, and as such we have events that are planned where the media and members of the public are invited to come out and to share their memories and bid farewell to my father.”
First up will be a Hugh Masekela Heritage Park, a curated audio-visual celebration of Bra Hugh’s life chronicling his six decades as an artist, socio-political and cultural activist which will be hosted at Zoo Lake’s Park View Golf Club in Johannesburg from Friday to February 1.
A “going home celebration”, more like a memorial service, will be held at Sankopano Community Centre in Alexandra Township on Friday 26 January where family, friends, and the artistic community will share their memories of Masekela. Alexandra Township is symbolic because that is where Masekela began his musical journey in the 1960s.
The final public tribute will be the Hugh Masekela Musical Memorial, a musical celebration of his life which will feature different artists with whom Masekela had collaborated. It will be held at the University of Johannesburg, Soweto Campus, in Soweto on Sunday January 28.
His son said the Masekela family had decided that Bra Hugh’s funeral would not be open to the public, in line with one his final wishes.
“The funeral service for the family, relatives and close friends, is going to be a private event.”
The family of legendary South African jazz musician, Hugh Masekela, announced on Thursday that his funeral will only be open to family members, close friends and industry colleagues.
Family member Lesetja Masekela said having a private funeral service was fulfilling one of the wishes that “Bra Hugh” had stated before he died.
Lesetja said the Hugh Masekela Heritage Foundation had organised a number of festivities around the country to celebrate the life and times of “Bra Hugh”, as Masekela was affectionately known.
“We are yet to decide on the date of his funeral, the date will be communicated some other time. But the funeral service will only be opened to family members and close friends. Yes, it was his wish to have a private funeral. The public and the media is welcome to attend any and all the other ceremonies,” Lesetja said.
Lesetja said government had approached the family about bestowing an official funeral for Masekela, but the family remained adamant that it would give him the private funeral he had requested.
Masekela lost his long battle with prostate cancer on Tuesday after he was diagnosed in 2008. He was 78.
He had been very private and kept a low profile since his condition worsened in October 2017, even cancelling scheduled performances and staying at his home on doctor’s orders.
Masekela’s doctor, Yastira Ramdas, said that the jazz legend had been a courage patient who put up a brave battle against the illness, and had left a strong message for men to get tested for prostate cancer frequently.
– African News Agency (ANA),