Google doodle celebrates Jazz legend Hugh Masekela

South Africa’s jazz legend, Hugh Masekela has been celebrated by Google with the unveiling of celebrated icon’s Doodle as he turns 80 today.

Hugh Masekela, a jazz musician is known as the “father of South African jazz” who was also an anti-apartheid activist.

Masekela was a rare artist who succeeded in fusing politics with his music, making his songs and performances compelling and timeless.

He passed away in Johannesburg last year at the age of 78 after a decade-long fight with cancer.

Masekela was born in KwaGuqa Township, Witbank, South Africa to Thomas Selena Masekela, who was a health inspector and sculptor and his wife, Pauline Bowers Masekela, a social worker.

As a child, he began singing and playing piano and was largely raised by his grandmother, who ran an illegal bar for miners. At the age of 14, after seeing the film Young Man with a Horn (in which Kirk Douglas plays a character modelled on American jazz cornetist Bix Beiderbecke), Masekela took up playing the trumpet.

His first trumpet was bought for him from a local music store by Archbishop Trevor Huddleston, the anti-apartheid chaplain at St. Peter’s Secondary School now known as St. Martin’s School (Rosettenville).