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People Are Sharing Their Touching Tributes To Hugh Masekela

People Are Sharing Their Touching Tributes To Hugh Masekela

Hugh Masekela, the legendary South African jazz musician and human rights campaigner, passed away Tuesday in Johannesburg, at the age of 78, after battling prostate cancer.

A native of the Rainbow Nation, Masekela's jazz stylings became the soundtrack to the anti-apartheid struggle, with his 1977 hit 'Soweto Blues' becoming an anthem for black liberation in the country.

Tributes poured in from across the world, as fans and admirers paid their respects to the 'Father of South African Jazz' who charmed audiences and listeners for more than 50 years.

An extraordinary life

Hugh Masekela was born in 1939 in the town of Witbank in Mpumalanaga, the eastern province of South Africa. He was inspired to pick up the trumpet after watching the film 'Young Man With a Horn', based on the life of the jazz musician Bix Beiderbecke.

At the age of 14 he persuaded his teacher, anti-apartheid campaigner Father Trevor Huddleston, to buy him a trumpet, and promised he'd stay out of trouble in return.

In 1960, at the age of 21, he went into exile after the unrest following the Sharpeville Massacre in which South African police killed 69 protestors.

With mentors such as the legendary Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie, Masekela developed his unique Afro-Jazz style, and went on to spectactular success.

In 1967 he rubbed shoulders with Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Otis Redding, performing at the Monteray Pop Festival. He topped the US charts with 'Grazing In The Grass' the following year, and become a worldwide sensation.

He would return to his native South Africa in 1990, with the release of Nelson Mandela, whose released he called for in the 1986 anthem 'Bring Home Nelson Mandela'. South Africa is where he would remain until his death.

Many fans focused on how his music made them feel and what memories it evoked.

It is clear that though Hugh Masekela may be gone, his music and the actions and people he inspired will remain.

What are your memories of Hugh Masekela's music? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below and on our Twitter.

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