He died on 23 January 2018 after a long battle with cancer.


Parliament statement


The chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture Ms Xoliswa Tom has learnt with sadness the untimely passing of Mr Hugh Ramopolo Masekela. Mr Masekela was a pioneer in the global music industry and his contribution, over decades, formed part of the fabric of the South African society.

“Although the Committee knew of the medical challenges he was experiencing, we remained hopeful through prayer that he will overcome this adversity as he had overcome many in his lifetime. We are thus saddened that he has lost his battle against cancer,” said Ms Tom.

His role in the fight against the brutal apartheid regime was immense and songs like “Bring Him Back Home” which advocated for the release of Nelson Mandela signify his love for his country and his role in the antiapartheid movement.

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Although he spent many years in exile as a result of the apartheid regime, through his music he remained grounded in Africa and ensuring the development and advancement of the continent. This was emphasized by songs such as “Stimela” which amplified the harshness of the migrant labour system on the family unit in the continent.

The Committee is certain that South Africans and the global music scene will miss the sound of his trumpet. “But we are consoled by the enormous contribution he has made that will be felt for decades to come,” emphasised Ms Tom.

The Committee extends its heartfelt condolences to the Masekela family. “We wish them strength in this time of loss and pain. We mourn with them because to us Bra Hugh was and will remain one of us,” Ms Tom concluded.

ISSUED BY PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES