Hugh Masekela Annual Lecture In Kampala

Ugandan Musician & Jazz Master Saxophonist, Isaiah Katumwa delivers the Inaugural Hugh Masekela Annual Lecture Beyond South African Borders

“My biggest obsession is to show Africans and the world who the people of Africa really are.”

Hugh Ramapolo Masekela

Highly successful septuagenarian music legend Hugh Masekela remains a shining light in the world music stage. A gifted trumpeter, lyricist and author, Masekela’s 76th birthday will be celebrated through a lecture delivered by Ugandan musician and jazz master saxophonist Isaiah Katumwa.

The wRite associates and the International University of East Africa in Kampala (Uganda) are proud to announce the inaugural Hugh Masekela Annual Lecture to be held this month outside South Africa. The lecture will be at the International University of East Africa, Kampala on 9 May 2015. The Hugh Masekela Boutique Concert, featuring Isaiah Katumwa will be held on 8 May at the Serena Hotel in Kampala.

Born on 4 April 1939 at Kwaguqa in Witbank, Hugh Masekela has been part of South Africa’s and Africa’s music scene since the 50s and remains one of the world’s distinctive voices in the popular music and jazz genres.

At age 14, after seeing the film Young Man with a Horn (in which Kirk Douglas plays a character modeled after American jazz cornetist Bix Beiderbecke), Masekela started playing trumpet donated to him by the anti-apartheid activist Archbishop Trevor Huddleston.

Part of the Huddleston Jazz Band in his teens, Masekela together with Dollar Brand (Abdullah Ibrahim), Kippie Moeketsi, Johnny Gertze and Makhaya Ntshoko formed the Jazz Epistles.

Following the 21 March 1960 Sharpeville Massacre, Masekela left the country. He later enrolled at the Manhattan School of Music in New York where he studied classical trumpet from 1960 to 1964.

In exile, he, alongside Miriam Makeba, Dorothy Masuku, Jonas Gwangwa and others, played a major role in using the arts as an instrument of protest against the injustices and human rights abuses of apartheid South Africa.

“Given the need to foster African unity and fraternity, especially with the sporadic so-called xenophobic attacks we are witnessing”, says Hugh Masekela, “the staging of the Hugh Masekela Lecture in Uganda couldn’t have come at a more strategically opportune moment in our vehement rejection thereof”.

The Hugh Masekela Lecture will be complemented by the Hugh Masekela Music Dialogue on 9 May and the Masekela & Katumwa Boutique Concert on 8 May.

“Bra Hugh’s iconic status as a musical, arts and human rights activist in Africa and the world remains inspiring and worthy of celebration in Africa and beyond,” said Morakabe Seakhoa, the Managing Director of the wRite associates and Project Director of the Hugh Masekela Annual Lecture and Colloquia.

Seakhoa said the Hugh Masekela @ 76 celebration aims to create a platform for heritage, cultural, academic, art, and social discourse to celebrate, as well as reflect on Masekela’s philosophy, work and contribution to Africa’s liberation and socio-economic betterment.”

Professor Olubayi Olubayi, Vice-Chancellor of the International University of East Africa, says the university is delighted to partner with the wRite associates in honouring Masekela.

“Hugh Masekela’s legacy is in line with the university’s vision to foster ideas that are rooted in African epistemology, and also address the critical needs and aspirations of Africans. IUEA has no doubt that arts and culture have a pivotal role to play in contributing to the continent’s sustainable growth and development.”

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Released on 3 May 2015, by the wRite associates, in partnership with International University of East Africa, Kampala, Uganda.