“My biggest obsession is to show Africans and the world who the people of Africa really are, and this Festival remains a great showcase of our traditional and modern musical talents. It’s always a great party!” – Hugh Masekela
This 80th Birthday Edition of The Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival is an enhanced mirror of past festivals while keeping with Bra Hugh’s eclectic and broad vision of South African and African culture, music and heritage, which has always been at the heart of this festival.
This fifth instalment is a significant and important juncture in the life of the festival. The first since Bra Hugh’s passing, held in what would have been his 80th year, as well as debuting at the historic Soweto Theatre Amphitheatre, the festival continues to evolve as a magnet for diverse South African performers and audiences.
At this year’s festival Thandiswa Mazwai will pay tribute to her friend and mentor Hugh Masekela with selections from his lesser-known repertoire, accompanied by the Hugh Masekela Band. In addition, the festival will feature Sjava, Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse, Madala Kunene, Thabang Tabane, Bombshelter Beast, Sun Xa Experiment, Luma and the BaTswana dance ensemble New Moon.
Festival organizer Mabusha Masekela, “This year’s centrepiece is a specially curated presentation of Hugh’s 6 decade-long musical output featuring the unique talents of Thandiswa Mazwai and Bra Hugh’s last touring band. With a nod to the obvious impossibility of this proposition, the aim is to get a taste of Hugh’s variety, while still anchored in his roots. The combination promises to be inspirational.”
In addition to inaugurating the brand-new Soweto Theatre Amphitheatre the festival will offer a family ambiance with a children’s area, a variety of food and drink, as well as arts & crafts for sale. Complementing this overall atmosphere, inside the Soweto Theatre will be the Hugh Masekela NO BORDERS Tribute Installation. The installation features memorabilia, records, recordings, trumpets and photographs of a life, loved and lived.
Presented by Assupol and Semopa Entertainment, The Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival will mark a high point of this year of celebratory events, reflecting Bra Hugh’s final and lasting commitment to African heritage, tradition and identity. The festival is envisioned as a platform to grow and promote heritage and culture to and through a cross-generational, cross-cultural audience with a stage that represents ALL the diversity of South Africa, the continent, and indeed, the globe.
“The Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival is a worthy celebration of the legacy of the iconic African giant, Bra Hugh. The Boy Is Still Doing It and Grazing!” – Sipho “Hostix” Mabuse
“Assupol has been serving the hard-working people of South Africa with financial products and services, for 106 years. As a proudly South African company with a rich heritage of serving those who serve, we are pleased to support the promotion of heritage, through music and culture at the 80th birthday edition of the Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival.” – Velmah Nzembela; Head of Brand and Communications, Assupol
For Thandiswa Mazwai it will be bittersweet. “I obviously love Bra Hugh’s music, but I’m very sad that he is no longer with us. I am afraid I might cry on stage. I have been a huge fan of Hughey since I was 14. My fist performance with him was with my high school choir. Our friendship was one of the most important relationships of my life, nothing could prepare me for doing Hughey’s music without him, so this is a very special show for me.”
Drummer in the Hugh Masekela band, Leeroy Sauls, notes how important this festival is in keeping Bra Hugh’s legacy alive: “I remember us walking to a soundcheck at Carnegie Hall in New York and him telling me ‘If we don’t preserve our heritage and keep our traditions and culture alive, they will say we were once called African!’ Unity in diversity is what he believed in. He was a man of integrity and a firm believer in Ubuntu, we miss you Dr Hugh!”
Date: Saturday 9 November 2019
Venue: The Soweto Theatre Precinct, Corner Bolani Link and Bolani Road, Jabulani, Soweto
Gates Open: 12 noon
Ticket Prices: R200 pre-sale
R250 at the Gate
R50 for Pensioners at the Gate
Free for Children under 6
Tickets Online: www.xtixs.com