Nomsa Motale writes a heart felt piece about the supreme jazz legend Hugh Masekela.
“I’ve got to where I am in life not because of something I brought to the world but through something I found – the wealth of African culture.” -Hugh Masekela
I must have fallen into a trance, a perfect dream full of golden sounds and all I could imagine was my grandmother’s golden grey hair strands, her beautiful smile and how she would close her eyes everytime she heard the trumpet sounds from Hugh Masekela’s Stimela.
I must’ve been 16 years old, and I still vividly remember how my mother would giggle, raise her hands and dance along to Thanayi. She found Thandiswa Mazwai and Hugh Masekela collabortion beautiful and thrilling, or it must have reminded her of all the weddings and ceremonies she attended.
The unforgetable Stimela was not only an phenomenal song, but a brilliant poem that moved our hearts and into our eardrums, making us ponder all the hardships and struggles. This song was (and will always be) the ultimate national anthem that resonates African heritage. The beat of the song and the instruments created moonlights in a dark sky.
That’s when I thought to myself this man is not only a musician but a magician. He possessed some kind of enchantment; his vocal chords must have had diamond ingraining because, every time he sang, it felt like Africa was united and all the wounds from the past were slowly healing. His performances were mindful and exhilarating – a delight to watch
“I don’t think what I do is influenced by suffering. I come from a talented people who are prolific in music and dance.” -Hugh Masekela
His music healed and restored many hearts; penetrating to our souls and made us imagine all the wonderful things we are capable of. Bra Hugh, as we love to call him, used music as a tool for activism and showed us that our African DNA is a gift.
“My biggest obsession is to show Africans and the world, who the people of Africa really are!” -Hugh Masekela
He will be missed, not only for his incomparable talent, but for his courage and strength. We lost an icon but we know that he will never be forgotten
May his music be played in the homes of our next generations. May his music continue to be played in the background at traditional ceremonies where our uncles gather, dance and laugh. May it be played whilst uMama or uGogo cook iDombolo in the kitchen and sing along to his powerful lyrics.
Thank you Bra Hugh for reminding us that even though the struggle may continue, we all have a part to play. And you definitely played yours.
Rest in power.