All Africa Music Awards to pay tribute to jazz legend Hugh Masekela

Hugh Masekela and Oscar

Hugh Masekela, the South Africa jazz legend dies at 78.

"After a protracted and courageous battle with prostate cancer, he passed peacefully in Johannesburg, South Africa, surrounded by his family", the statement said.

South African president Jacob Zuma honoured Masekela with the highest order in South Africa: The Order of Ikhamanga in 2010.

"Bra Hugh's music played a significant role to enhance, consolidate and strengthen global solidarity against the regime".

The legendary musician, who became recognized as the Father of South African Jazz after scoring a No. 1 US pop hit in 1968 with the instrumental "Grazing in the Grass", died early this morning in Johannesburg of prostate cancer.

Mkhize called on the current generation of musicians and others in the entertainment industry to be part of the broader struggle to overcome poverty, inequality and joblessness, especially among the poor and rural youth. Masekela's debut album, released in 1963, was entitled Trumpet Africaine.

Read the tributes that have poured in from politicians and musicians around the world.

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'I humbly ask you on bended knees to carry these thoughts with you as you go out into the world and perhaps think about how humiliating it will be 20 years from today when your children are asked who they really are and their response is "They say we used to be Africans very long ago". Masekela was also responsible for the record, Bring Him Back Home which was considered one of the unofficial anthems of the anti-apartheid movement.

"It is not enough to call Hugh Masekela a musician". He found escape from the racial chaos in South Africa in his days with music.

In 1959, Masekela joined the cast of Todd Matshikiza's "all-African jazz opera" King Kong. He also had a number 1 USA pop hit in 1968 with his version of "Grazing in the Grass".

Indeed, embracing his fierce commitment to an African-rooted consciousness is one of the ways the continent's creative community can honour this remarkable individual, who never wasted a chance to speak against injustices wherever he saw them.

In 1990 Masekela returned home, following the unbanning of the ANC and the release of Mandela. A year later, he published his autobiography, Still Grazing: The Musical Journey of Hugh Masekela (co-authored with D. Michael Cheers). The US Virgin Islands proclaimed "Hugh Masekela Day" in March 2011.

"Even in recent years, "Bra Hugh" continued to fly the flag for South Africa in worldwide festivals, and his home country including the performance at the Grammy Awards in 2013", Minister Mthethwa said.

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