The story

The music of Hugh Masekela is the sound of South Africa. In a career that has spanned more than 50 years his songs have expressed both joy and indignation, exploring themes of inequality and hardship, protest and hope.

More than just an inspirational musician, Masekela was an inspirational campaigner against apartheid and is now helping to build a new South Africa.

Masekela was born on 4 April 1939, in Witbank, South Africa. He started playing the piano when he was six, but seeing Kirk Douglas play a jazz trumpeter in the movie "Young Man with a Horn" inspired him to switch instruments.

When he was 14, he was given his first trumpet by the chaplain at his school, renowned anti-apartheid campaigner Trevor Huddleston. Within six months Masekela got together with some school mates to form the Huddleston Jazz Band.

He went on to join Alfred Herbert's African Jazz Revue and the Jazz Epsitles, and played in the orchestra for the hugely successful South African musical "King Kong," whose cast included his future wife, legendary singer Miriam Makeba. Read full article »

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