Hugh Masekela

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Hugh Masekela (Hugh Ramopolo Masekela, popularly known as Bra Hugh) (1939-2018) [1] was a South African trumpeter, flugelhornist, cornetist, composer, singer, arranger and producer, and arts manager.


Born 4 April, 1939, he died in Johannesburg on 23 January 2018, aged 78.

World renowned as trumpeter, Masekela was one of the arrangers and performers of the music for the original King Kong (musical) which was directed by Leon Gluckman, and staged by the Union Artists at the Wits University Great Hall in 1959. Stanley Glasser (Spike) was the musical director, Arthur Goldreich did the design and Arnold Dover did the choreography for this musical. Also starring Nathan Mdledle in the lead role, band vocalist Miriam Makeba, Joe Mogotsi and Peggy Phango (1959). He went into exile, becoming famous overseas. At one time married to Miriam Makeba, he lived in Britain for thirty years (1960-1990), with a period when he lived in Botswana and produced records for the South African market. He also supplied additional songs for Mbongini Ngema’s Sarafina which opened at the Market on 12 June 1987 before touring extensively abroad.

On his return to South Africa in 1990 he for a short while became the Director of the Performing Arts Council of the Transvaal (199*-199*).


Tucker, 1997.

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