President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has paid tribute to the late South African music legend, Hugh Masekela, calling him a statesman of African music.
Saraki in a statement wednesday by his media aide, Yusuph Olaniyonu, said with Masekela’s death at the age of 78, the world had lost a boundless creative spirit, “one who made immense contributions to the body of African arts, especially music”.
“Song is the literature of South Africa,” the man himself said, and he wrote a significant volume of that literature, Saraki noted.
According to Saraki, Masakela’s music was part of the soundtrack of the anti-Apartheid struggle. “With his trumpet and voice, Masekela gave expression to life under the Apartheid regime and heralded the release of Nelson Mandela and majority rule,” Saraki observed.
“He paid dearly for this activism, spending more than three decades of his life in exile. Yet he never stopped playing, and he never stopped smiling. He worked with Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and his son, Femi Kuti; met and collaborated with some of the world’s best performers including: Miriam Makeba, Harry Belafonte, Louis Armstrong, Angelique Kidjo and Paul Simon,” he added.
The Senate President called Masekela’s classic album, Grazing in the Grass “a touchstone”.
He condoled with the South African nation and music lovers around the world on the passing of the musician, who he described as irreplaceable.