If there’s anybody out there

Updated: 6 days ago

Today the sun shone bright and the heat was intense. On days like this not even a cold drink helps, not even the fan or a swim, but I heard this song blasting out of someone’s window in the neighborhood and it cooled me right down.

Hugh Masekela was born in Witbank on the 4th of April in 1939. Inspired by American movies and musicians like Louis Armstrong (who he would later meet), Miles Davis and Bessie Smith, he learned to play music as a youth with the help of apartheid activist Archbishop Trevor Huddleston.

In his early years he played with other South African greats like Zakes Nkosi and Kippie Moeketsi. He formed the iconic Jazz Epistles with Abdullah Ibrahim (then known as Dollar Brand) among others.

He left the country after the 1960 Sharpville Massacre and the increasing severity of the apartheid regime. With the help of Miriam Makeba and her New York cronies including Harry Belafonte, Hugh went to study and play music in New York. Makeba and Masekela worked together extensively and later married. They divorced in 1966 and Hugh moved to Los Angeles where his career thrived.

Today he is a household name and rightly so. He has made an impression on our music and politics and as the years go by, he remains the ultimate king of cool.

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