Hugh Masekela Gallery launched at the finale of Design Indaba Festival 2018

Design Indaba and the Zeitz MOCAA honoured the late legend in a stunning tribute on the Conference stage.
Hugh Masekela
Hugh Masekela

On the final day of the Design Indaba Conference 2018, multitalented performer and Design Indaba 2018 speaker Lebo Mashile announced that the second floor of equally iconic Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) will be named the Hugh Masekela Gallery.

The venerable Design Indaba Conference alumnus and South African jazz legend, the late, great Hugh Masekela sadly passed away at his Johannesburg home on 23 January 2018.

A globally renowned musician, Masekela was lauded as the “father of South African jazz” and during his lifetime touched the lives of millions of fans across the globe.

To honour his legacy and the contribution he made to the global creative zeitgeist, Design Indaba and Zeitz MOCAA have come together once again, but this time to pay homage to the legend in a stunning tribute at the finale of the Design Indaba Conference 2018.

“I believe it is fitting that a cultural icon such as Hugh Masekela is honoured by yet another cultural icon such as Zeitz MOCAA, which has rapidly garnered global renown and several awards for architecture since its launch,” explains Naidoo.

“The Design Indaba has been at ground zero in growing the creative industries in the new democratic South Africa. We want to be relevant to our city, and its challenges and needs.. .. and we want our platform to be an exemplar in presenting the best of our city and country, to the world.

We are cultural, creative and business envoys – and feel privileged to represent the city. That is why we would rather be the conduit for this important moment in South African cultural history, than its focus,” he continues.

The gesture is both a tribute and a call to action. As the President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa posited in his maiden State of the Nation Address, it is up to all South Africans to be the catalyst for social change in the country. “Send me,” he said, referencing Masekela’s Thuma Mina.

Masekela’s rallying call in #ThumaMina is a fitting ending to the Design Indaba Conference whose sole mandate is to create a better world through creativity.

“Hugh Masekela was a giant within the arts and culture space,” CEO of the V&A Waterfront and co-founder of Zeitz MOCAA, David Green. Hugh’s songs and music told the world who African people were and it is entirely fitting that this, the museum whose main purpose is to tell African stories through African art, should name the gallery after Hugh Masekela.”

For the unveiling, Bra Hugh, as he was affectionately known, was represented by sister Barbara Masekela, the South African poet, educator, and activist. She was present at the Design Indaba Conference 2018 and was invited on stage to accept the tribute to her late brother on behalf of the Masekela family.

The relationship between Design Indaba and Zeitz MOCAA runs deep. It was Design Indaba founder Ravi Naidoo who acted as a catalyst for the project and enabled the appointment of global “starchitect” Thomas Heatherwick, the visionary behind the repurposed Silo building, now home to a world-class collection of contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora.

The newly named “Hugh Masekela Gallery” is now officially open to the public.

Watch the Talk with Lebo Mashile

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