HUGH Masekela, (78) the veteran South African trumpeter is due to undergo surgery this week to repair tendon and ligament damage in his shoulder, according to his manager, Josh Georgiou.
The operation has necessitated the cancellation of all shows and public appearances Masekela was expected to honour over the next two months.
Explaining the nature of Masekela’s injury to the press in South Africa, Josh said it appeared that when the musician fell at an event in Morocco last month, he aggravated an injury he had sustained in 1993.
“Hugh was in a lot of discomfort and we thought it might sort itself out but it soon became clear that we could not rush his recovery from the fall,” Josh said. “We spoke to doctors and decided that it was better to take it easy and get it sorted now than to rush it and irritate the injury further.”
It is envisaged that Masekela will need to take a recovery break of between six-to-eight-weeks after the operation, meaning that the latest he could return on stage is in August.
“We have had to cancel several shows and Hugh is extremely disappointed that he let his fans down. We are one hundred% sure that he will be fine by August‚” Josh added.
Masekela is still a major drawcard in the jazz scene across the world even after a 60-year career which started in the townships of apartheid South Africa.
In April this year the University of KwaZulu-Natal awarded Masekela an honorary doctorate in Music in recognition of his talents as a world-class entertainer and staunch campaigner for the preservation of African cultural heritage.
Addressing academics at UKZN Masekela bemoaned the fact that the study of mother tongues in Africa was not prioritised. Consequently, he said African languages and literature books lay covered with dust and ticks in basements and warehouses all over Africa because African languages are not taken seriously.
“I request you to consider issues that pertain to restoring the excellence of African heritage without abandoning the best elements we inherited from the West,” he said. “First of all, let us examine the history of our continent. It will lead us to understand that these borders we live in are only 131 years old, and were created through colonial military onslaught on Africa. Indigenous music and dance need to have buildings in Africa such as those of ballet companies and symphony orchestras in western countries.”