Jazz songstress and activist Simphiwe Dana said of the late Hugh Masekela: "He has given this country and continent quite a lot. He has left a staggeringly huge deficit in the industry," as she responded to the sad news of Masekela's passing.
Trust Bra Hugh to quietly slip away on my birthday. We were meant to do a whole album together. For years we tried to get it together but it never worked out because he was traveling a lot.— Firebrand (@simphiwedana) January 23, 2018
In a career spanning more than five decades, Masekela gained international recognition with his distinctive Afro-Jazz sound. Although devastated by the news of "Bra Hugh's" passing, Dana says she is in a thanksgiving mood – as she was able to live in a time where legends like Hugh Masekela could influence her work as a jazz artist and the industry at large.
Sadly, the collaborative project with Masekela that was on the cards for Dana is now impossible, but she says that the opportunity to work with him would have been a dream come true.
He lived his life to the fullest. So I'm not too sad, and I'm happy he is no longer suffering. And I will remember him always, especially on this day, the day of my birth and the day of his passing. He is leaving us a legacy so vast, a music book so big.— Firebrand (@simphiwedana) January 23, 2018
Music as activism
Dana called the legend "brave" for using music as a form of activism. As an activist herself, Dana says that music legends such as Bra Hugh and Miriam Makeba laid the foundation for musicians today to speak out on social issues.
She says that the workings of Masekela – both musically and politically – encouraged musicians to "use our voices in a manner that brings our people with us".
You have done well with your life Bra Hugh. Your name will never be forgotten. Fly free son of the Soil. Fly free 🦅 pic.twitter.com/kfkPQRw0tB— Firebrand (@simphiwedana) January 23, 2018