Chic African Culture Blog

Did you know?

1. No African country names begin with the letters F, H, I, J, O, P, Q, V, W, X, or Y.

2. Africa is surrounded by water but by definition Africa is not an island because Africa is a continent.

3. African tech startups raise billions of dollars annually, seven African start-ups were included in the World Economic Forum 2021 cohort of 100 Technology Pioneers.

Trumpeter Musician Hugh Masekela

Hugh Masekela was a world-renowned trumpeter musician and political leader who released over 40 albums.

Masekela trumpeter musical style was influenced by Miles Davis. Masekela performed at the Monterey Pop Festival alongside The Who. U2 front-man Bono said playing with Masekela was one of the highlights of his career.


Hugh Masekela world-renowned musician and political leader photo by afromusing

Trumpeter African Musician Hugh Masekela 20 Years of Freedom

Hugh Masekela was born 75 years ago in the town of Witbank, South Africa in 1939. Masekela began to hone his, now signature, Afro-Jazz sound in the late 1950s. In 1960, at the age of 21, he left South Africa to begin what would be 30 years in exile from the land of his birth.

On arrival in New York he enrolled at the Manhattan School of Music. This coincided with a golden era of jazz music and the young Hugh Masekela immersed himself in the New York jazz scene where nightly he watched greats like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Mingus and Max Roach.

Under the tutelage of Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong, Hugh was encouraged to develop his own unique style, feeding off African rather than American influences – his debut album, released in 1963, was entitled Trumpet Africaine.

In 1967 Hugh performed at the Monterey Pop Festival alongside Janis Joplin, Otis Redding, Ravi Shankar, The Who and Jimi Hendrix. In 1968, his instrumental single ‘Grazin’ in the Grass’ went to Number One on the American pop charts and was a worldwide smash, elevating Hugh onto the international stage

In 1990 Hugh returned home, following the unbanning of the ANC and the release of Nelson Mandela – an event anticipated in Hugh’s anti-apartheid anthem ‘Bring Home Nelson Mandela’ (1986) which had been a rallying cry around the world.

In June 2010 Masekela opened the FIFA Soccer World Cup Kick-Off Concert to a global audience and performed at the event’s Opening Ceremony in Soweto’s Soccer City. 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 Bono described meeting and playing with Hugh as one of the highlights of his career.

According to his biography, Masekela is currently using his global reach to spread the word about heritage restoration in Africa – a topic that remains very close to his heart.

Masekela says “My biggest obsession is to show Africans and the world who the people of Africa really are,” Masekela confides – and it’s this commitment to his home continent that has propelled him forward since he first began playing the trumpet.

February and March 2015, South African musical legends Hugh Masekela and Vusi Mahlesela embarked on a North American musical tour, 20 Years of Freedom. The tour celebrated the 20th anniversary of South Africa’s social equality and the end of apartheid.



About Trumpeter Musician Hugh Masekela 
Birth name
Hugh Ramapolo Masekela.

Born
April 4, 1939 in Emalahleni, South Africa.
Died
January 23, 2018 at age 78 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Genres played
Jazz, Mbaqanga and Afropop.

Instruments played
Trumpet, flugel horn, trombone, cornet and singer.

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Africa is surrounded by water but is not an island, here are a few African Island facts.

Madagascar is the 4th large island in the world and is located in the Indian Ocean supporting a unique biology, about 90% of its plants and animals are found nowhere else on earth.

Composed of 155 islands, Seychelles is Africa's smallest country. By far the largest island is Mahe, home to about 90% of the population and the site of its capital city of Victoria.

Cabo Verde has a strategic location 310 miles or 500 km from the west coast of Africa near major north-south sea routes; important communications station; important sea and air refueling site.

Africa is surrounded by water but by definition Africa is not an island because Africa is a continent. Continents can not be considered islands because of their size and also by historic definition since many people who study geography define islands and continents as two different things.

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Being African in America I have grown up learning about different ethnic cultures. My father and mother are historians of African culture and history and their influence expanded my activities to several best-selling cookbooks, magazine columns, self-branded products, and a popular African culture and food blog.

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