College of Human Sciences

Last Post sounds for legendary muso

Then Unisa Registrar Louis Molamu hoods jazz giant Hugh Masekela after he was awarded an honorary doctorate in Musicology by the university in 2009.

Unisa is saddened by the death of Hugh Ramapolo Masekela, who passed away on 23 January 2018 at the age of 78 after a long battle with cancer. He received an honorary music doctorate from the university on 21 September 2009, not only for his remarkable musical talent and achievement, but also for his role in reviving the African spirit of the nation.

Bra Hugh, as he was known, was undoubtedly one of Africa’s most prolific artists. He inspired musicians throughout the world and made a huge contribution to the development and growth of music on the African continent.

His distinctive music, a blend of traditional and modern African melodies, as well as Caribbean and Latin American jazz and rock, was inspired by, and, therefore, portrayed both the joy and passion and the pain, sorrow, and struggle of his people left behind while he was in exile.

On accepting his degree from the university, Masekela said that he had been approached a number of times before by Unisa. “I would always tell them that the time was not right. This year they told me that I was 70 years old now and I did not have much time left,” he quipped. He dedicated the occasion to his late parents, especially his father, who had always wanted him to have a degree. “My father always would say my younger sister had a number of degrees and I had none, so this is the fulfilment of his dream.”

*Compiled by Sharon Farrell