23/01/2018 13:23 SAST | Updated 23/01/2018 13:41 SAST

Simphiwe Dana: Bra Hugh Laid The Foundation For Activism In Music

The jazz singer says working with Masekela would have been a dream come true.

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.

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.

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JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA SEPTEMBER 29: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT): Legendary musician Hugh Masekela during an interview about his new album on September 29, 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Five years after releasing his last album, Masekela is back with an album he describes as educational and honest. (Photo by Tebogo Letsie/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

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".

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