Citizen Reporter
3 minute read
30 Oct 2019
12:29 pm

Celebrate jazz legend’s legacy at Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival

Citizen Reporter

This year’s festival will also signal the official inauguration of the brand-new Soweto Theatre Amphitheatre.

Hugh Masekela entertains guests during the CAF African Footballer of the Year Award in Lagos, Nigeria in 2015. Picture: Pius Utomi Ekpei /, AFP

Singer-songwriter, flugelhornist, composer, trumpeter and bandleader – these are just some of the words used to describe the legendary talents of the late South African musician Hugh Masekela.

So much more than just a mainstay on the local and international jazz scene, Masekela, who died in January 2018, was also a defiant political voice and a respected advocate for equal rights on the African continent.

He used his music to not only unite people but also let his messages of hope and equality resonate with his audiences. To this end, Masekela (aka Bra Hugh) created the annual Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival.

“My biggest obsession is to show Africans and the world who the people of Africa really are, and this festival remains a great showcase of our traditional and modern musical talents. It’s always a great party,” Masekela once said of the event.

Hugh Masekela. Picture Official Hugh Masekela Site

Festival organiser Mabusha Masekela says this year’s centrepiece is a specially curated presentation of Hugh’s six decade-long musical output featuring the unique talents of Thandiswa Mazwai and Bra Hugh’s last touring band.

Together with the Hugh Masekela Band, Mazwai will be paying tribute to her friend and mentor, Hugh Masekela, with selections from his lesser-known repertoire.

“With a nod to the obvious impossibility of this proposition, the aim is to get a taste of Hugh’s variety, while still anchored in his roots. The combination promises to be inspirational,” added Mabusha Masekela.

In addition, the festival will feature Sjava, Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse, Madala Kunene, Thabang Tabane, Bombshelter Beast, Sun Xa Experiment, Luma and the BaTswana dance ensemble New Moon.

Thandiswa Mazwai. Picture: Getty Images

Speaking ahead of the event, Hotstix Mabuse said: “The Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival is a worthy celebration of the legacy of the iconic African giant, Bra Hugh. The boy is still doing it and grazing!”

This year’s festival will also signal the official inauguration of the brand-new Soweto Theatre Amphitheatre.

As splendid as previous years, the festival will offer a family ambience with a children’s area, a variety of foods and drinks, as well as arts and crafts for sale.

Complementing this overall atmosphere, inside the Soweto Theatre will be the Hugh Masekela No Borders Tribute Installation. The installation features memorabilia, records, recordings, trumpets and photographs of a life, loved and lived.

Sipho Hotstix Mabuse performs at the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz 2019. Picture: Nigel Sibanda


Date: Saturday, November 9

Venue: The Soweto Theatre Precinct, corner Bolani Link and Bolani Road, Jabulani, Soweto

Gates open: Noon

Ticket prices: R200 pre-sale, R250 at the gate, R50 for pensioners at the gate and free for children under the age of six

Book tickets online at, or at Spar, Jet, Edgars and CNA stores.

Important: No drugs, weapons, alcohol, recording equipment, gazebos, braais, glass, coolers, cans, beach umbrellas or steel cutlery will be allowed.

(Compiled by Hayden Horner)

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