Hugh Masekela: UKZN Honours The Legendary Trumpeter In The Most Fitting Way


Legendary musician and trumpeter, Hugh Masekela has been awarded an honourary doctorate in the field he has been making magic in for so many years.

The iconic trumpeter was awarded an honorary doctorate in Music by the University of KwaZulu-Natal on his birthday this week.

There’s no doubt that Masekela has done remarkably well in the entertainment industry. Thus, it’s only fair that he would be recognised and his talent as a world-class performer and entertainer applauded.

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Addressing academics at UKZN, Masekela maintained his stance about the preservation of African cultural heritage.


“I request you to consider issues that pertain to restoring the excellence of African heritage without abandoning the best elements we inherited from the West,” he says.

He lamented that the mother tongues will soon go into extinction as there’s not importance attached to them. As a result, African literature books are left in the basements and warehouses all over the continent because Africans don’t take their languages seriously.

“First of all, let us examine the history of our continent.

“It will lead us to understand that these borders we live in are only 131 years old, and were created through colonial military onslaught on Africa. .”

Again, Masekela pointed out the need for indigenous music and dance to have buildings where they can be studied in Africa. This would make African music a tough competition for the ballet companies and symphony orchestras.

Masekela’s love for African heritage and culture led him to wage war against weaves and straightened hair on African women. Consequently, he doesn’t allow any African woman with an artificial hair around him.

Hugh Masekela fondly called Bra Hugh, is an internationally celebrated trumpeter, composer, flugelhornist and a bandleader. Masekela who was born in 1939 in Witbank town South Africa has become an inspiration to several generations of South Africans through the works he has done with his addiction to music.

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Masekela started playing trumpet at the age of fourteen. His first trumpet was given to him by Archbishop Trevor Huddleston who had asked Uncle Sauda, the then leader of then, Johannesburg “native” municipal brass band to teach him to play the instrument.

By the 80s, he was already known in many parts of the world for his outstanding talent. He also achieved many milestones and won many awards.