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The Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival is back!

After two years of reinvention as a virtual event, the Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival changes shape again, this time with a new name and in a new space.
Image by Brett Rubin: Hugh Masekela
Image by Brett Rubin: Hugh Masekela

HughFest, hosted by Assupol and The Hugh Masekela Heritage Foundation, will take place at Nirox Sculpture Park on 4 December.

“I won’t forget the day the sun came shining in!”, so sang internationally beloved South African musician and cultural activist Hugh Masekela, and in the four years since his passing, the Hugh Masekela Heritage Foundation has continued to hold high the torch of his biggest legacy obsession

Coming out of the acclaimed “Home Is Where The Music Is” exhibition, HughFest 2022 features an evocative lineup of music, dance and spoken word, vibrant with Bra Hugh’s legacy and vision of a cross-generational, cross-cultural conversation of ever-evolving African heritage, culture and ingenuity with its core values of empowerment, agency and well-being.

"Assupol has been a proud sponsor of the Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival for eight years. We celebrate the legacy of Bra Hugh, and we honour the diverse heritage that shapes our identity as Africans. Our involvement in HughFest ensures this heritage remains accessible for generations to come,” said Velmah Nzembela, head of group corporate affairs, Assupol.

This year’s lineup includes the downhome spiritual tones of Mandisi Dyantyis; a township collaboration, led by Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse with the immensely talented vocalist, Gugu Shezi; a cross-generational collaboration with the effervescent piano skills of Thandi Ntuli and the well-forged guitar mastery of Bra Themba Mokoena; and the candy stripe duo of Leomile, of Lesotho and Muneyi, of Venda. All of this wonderment will be accentuated, interwoven and wrapped in the magical bow of DJ Bob's Jazz Club.

"As always, the festival will showcase Bra Hugh’s eclectic and broad vision of culture, music and heritage.", says co-organiser Pula Twala, Bra Hugh’s daughter. "Including a heartfelt tribute to the recently and dearly departed poetry legend Don Mattera, and an exhibition of Drum magazine era images courtesy of Bailey's Archive. "

In its new persona as HughFest, the festival line-up continues to reflect Bra Hugh’s essential template; a strong lean into African tradition, the innovative voice of the African streets and the African soul, and an eclectic African syntax that defies the locked boxes of genre and type.

"For the past years, we have faced a global pandemic that kept us locked indoors. And now, with Assupol’s unwavering support, we can burst into Nature once again, with the sun and trees, wind and flowers, as we dance with our children.", says Bra Hugh's nephew and festival co-organiser Mabusha Masekela.

Taking inspiration from his audience-favourite 'In The Marketplace', Semopa, the Hugh Masekela Heritage Foundation and Assupol will curate and present HughFest, an open-air festival of music, dance, spoken word, exhibitions, food and drink, in a family-friendly atmosphere of healing, gratitude and celebration.

Butterflies and sunshine, flower garden colours of purples and yellows, sky sparkle and cornrow braids in the marketplace of our culture. Families and friends can come out once again to share and present our diverse heritage, laugh and dance with each other, and sing together a song of celebration and culture. And Nirox Sculpture Park, located in the Cradle of Humankind, is the perfect venue for our celebration, HughFest.

Doors open at 10am, and performances from 11am until 5.30pm. Tickets are available here.

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