By Sandra Rose  | 

Hugh Masekela

Legendary jazz trumpeter Hugh Masekela passed away on Monday from complications related to prostate cancer. He was 78.

The South African musician, who was a leading activist in the struggle to end apartheid, died "peacefully" in his Johannesburg home on Tuesday, his family told the BBC in a statement.

Masekela, who was known as the father of South African jazz, earned worldwide fame for hits such as his protest songs "Soweto Blues" and "Bring Him Back Home", which became an anthem for those protesting Nelson Mandela imprisonment.

Masekela also had a number one hit on the Billboard charts with his 1968 track "Grazing in the Grass". Over his storied career, the jazz legend worked with musicians such as The Byrds and Paul Simon, with whom he toured to support the album Graceland.

In a statement, South Africa's President Jacob Zuma said Masekela's death was "an immeasurable loss to the music industry and to the country at large. His contribution to the struggle for liberation will never be forgotten. We wish to convey our heartfelt condolences to his family and peers in the arts and culture fraternity at large. May his soul rest in peace."

Apartheid, which segregated black and white South Africans, came to an end in 1991, with Mandela elected as the country's first black president in 1994.


Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images

  • It’s a matter of Principle

    A man of consistently great deeds of life and music, for the liberation and struggle for humanity in general and his people specifically. I can only hope to leave a footprint that I tried to do better in life for someone, other than myself. He did and I am proud to have listened to his music with this in mind.

  • Ebony Starr


  • WutizstillHERE!

    I understand the stigma of going to the doctor and the fear because of the practice of slick using us for experimentation back in the day. Today we have a vast amount of BLACK Doctors who you can visit if that makes you more comfortable. Stop taking the wait and see approach to your health care.. Love you guys allow us to love you for a long time by staying healthy..

  • MsPam

    Amen ??

  • Mama Dee’s Wig Maker

    RIP Mr. Masakela

  • Soda

    Grazing in the grass is a gas, baby! Can you dig it?! RIP, sir.

  • hottlanta

    Betta say it. I remember seeing him in person. You gonna have me dusting off my albums this afternoon.

  • Lady_Elle

    RIP Mr. Masakela...

    I am a Fan!

    Grazing in the grass is a gas, baby! Can you dig it?
    Brings back memories... growing up.

  • Pamela

    Sandra who is Hugh Masakela?
    As a South African I know that our beloved jazz artist Hugh Masekela passed away today. There is no excuse for getting someone's name incorrect, especially someone as well known as Bra Hugh.

  • Pamela

    Mr Masekela. Please correct ASAP. Thank you.

  • Pamela

    Mr Masekela. Please correct ASAP.

  • Mama Dee’s Wig Maker


  • Vegas1989

    I agree with you. My mom is a retired nurse and worked in Urology..She lost her brother my uncle because he didn't get checked out...She tells my brothers, my husband and brother-in-law to get their Balls check.. Stop with all that foolishness. She tells them like it is. She has me cracking up but it is a serious matter..

  • Pamela

    You are welcome.

  • Hater

    Hamba kahle tate Hugh, RIP.
    Big tunes!

  • cristalle1

    Although I do not know his music well, I recognize a legend and his great contributions to the apartheid struggle and music. Rest in peace and I hope more generations continue to be influenced by his immeasurable talents.

  • facingrealit1

    I love Hugh Masakela - Grazing in the Grass - is so real so real so real so real so real - Can you dig it!

  • Quitedeliteful

    RIP Hugh Masekela!!!! My parents played his music all of the time. I love this man!!!

  • Quitedeliteful

    OMG!!!! This right here!!! I LOVE this and could listen to this all day...

  • WutizstillHERE!

    Good for her. I have dudes in my family who refuse to I just keep them in my prayers...smh

  • QuietStorm

    Hugh Masekela aka "Father of South African Jazz ....RIP ! Ur music will live on n on, especially "Grazing in the Grass" it!

  • SandraRose

    My apologies, hun.