Hugh Masekela’s legacy lives on through music

By Citylife Arts Writer

World renowned trumpeter Hugh Masekela Maybe dead, but his legacy lives on.

Assupol and The Hugh Masekela Heritage Foundation celebrate Bra Hugh’s cultural legacy on the 4th anniversary of his passing, January 23rd 2022, with  The Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival 2021  online on at 8pm. 

The 23rd of January 2022 marks four years since the passing of internationally beloved South African musician and cultural activist Hugh Masekela. This year, the Hugh Masekela Heritage Foundation and Assupol celebrate his legacy, with the annual Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival on at 8pm.

“My biggest obsession is to show Africans, and the world, who the people of Africa really are.” Hugh Masekela once said. With a line-up that features music, dance and spoken word, this year’s audience will be treated to performances by Msaki, Langa Mavuso, Mandisi Dyantyis, Berita, Muneyi, Gcina Mhlophe and Tsogang Bana Dance Group, as well as tributes to two of Bra Hugh’s great musical compatriots and collaborators Sibongile Khumalo, with her daughter Ayanda Khumalo, and Tsepo Tshola, with local artist Mandla Ntlaks. Expect to be delighted by an eclectic mix of hits and Masekela bits.   The show is hosted by comedian Kagiso Lediga who once presented a TV show called The Bantu Hour with Bra Hugh. 

Inspired by Bra Hugh, this year’s festival theme of “Looking Ahead…And What We Bring With Us”, reflects the basic template he set for the festival’s line-up; a strong lean into African tradition, the innovative voice of the African streets and the African soul, and an eclectic African syntax that defies the locked boxes of genre and type. As always, the Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival will showcase Bra Hugh’s eclectic and broad vision of culture, music and heritage. 

“We believe that legacy and heritage are two treasures that should be preserved for future generations to benefit from. Keeping the Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival as a virtual event enables more people across local and international borders, to share in South African and African cultures, music and heritage. Assupol has been a proud sponsor of the Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival for 8 years and we celebrate the legacy of Bra Hugh that remains accessible for generations to come.”  Says Velmah Nzembela, Head of Group Corporate Affairs, Assupol

“This will be our second foray into the online presentation of the Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival. Our 2020 presentation, influenced by the pandemic, offered a brand-new avenue to explore in terms of presentation and audience. With live events still impeded by pandemic constraints, a growing international digital footprint, and a post-New Year audience seeking family friendly fare, it makes sense to keep our digital stake vital and evolving.” Says Hugh Masekela’s daughter and event co organiser Pula Twala.

“January 23rd, 2022 will mark the 4th anniversary of my uncle Hugh’s passing. It seemed appropriate, in keeping with the tremendous creative energy that marked his phenomenal life, that we celebrate his passing with some spark, some echo of that incomparable creative spirit of collaboration, tradition, innovation, heritage, music and laughter. The Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival has proved to be a lasting emblem to Bra Hugh’s vision of an enduring homage to, and the enduring existence of, African heritage and identity.”  Says Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh’ nephew and festival co-organizer, on the choice of 23rd of January for the transmission of the Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival.

The Hugh Masekela Heritage Foundation, established by Bra Hugh in 2015, and a reflection of his lasting commitment to preserve and promote African heritage, tradition and identity, is proud to be, with the committed support of Assupol, part of the Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival, and its core values of the growth and promotion of African heritage and culture, and our ever-evolving diversity, to, and through, a cross-generational, cross-cultural audience.  

Date:  Sunday 23rd January 2022

Time: 8pm (CAT)


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