Hugh Masekela is a household name in South African music. He is a world-renowned flugel hornist, trumpeter, bandleader, composer, singer and a defiant political voice who remains deeply connected with the many social and political ills facing the country.
He was 21 when he left South Africa to begin what would be 30 years in exile from the land of his birth. Now, in his mid-70s, Masekela is still making a huge contribution and in 2010, President Zuma honoured him with the highest order in South Africa: The Order of Ikhamanga.
A year later he received a Lifetime Achievement award at the WOMEX World Music Expo in Copenhagen. The US Virgin Islands proclaimed ‘Hugh Masekela Day’ in March 2011, not long after Hugh joined U2 on stage during the Johannesburg leg of their 360 World Tour. U2 frontman Bono described meeting and playing with Hugh as one of the highlights of his career.
He is still currently using his global reach to spread the word about heritage restoration in Africa – a topic that remains close to his heart.