Zeitz MOCAA and Design Indaba announce gallery dedicated to the late great Hugh Masekela

Cape Town – Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) and Design Indaba announce the unveiling of a permanent gallery at the museum dedicated to the late Hugh Masekela.

Zeitz MOCAA approached Design Indaba founder Ravi Naidoo, who provided the catalyst for the repurposing of the silo building into a world-class museum that houses contemporary art from Africa and its Diaspora, with the idea of naming a gallery after Ravi Naidoo. Instead of accepting, Naidoo generously asked whether the honour could be bestowed on venerable Design Indaba Conference speaker alumnus and South African jazz legend, Hugh Masekela, who sadly passed away at his Johannesburg home on 23 January 2018. A renowned musician across the globe, Masekela was lauded as the “father of South African jazz”.

“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.

Architect Thomas Heatherwick, the visionary behind the repurposing of the grain silo into the museum and who had previously spoken at Design Indaba ahead of the Zeitz MOCAA project and when the architectural concept for the project was unveiled, returned to Cape Town for the 2018 conference and unveiling of the gallery. He was joined by V&A Waterfront CEO and co-founder of Zeitz MOCAA, David Green.

“Hugh Masekela was a giant within the art and culture space,” says Green, ” and he was described as one of the finest and most distinctive trumpet players in the world. Hugh’s songs and music told the world who people from Africa are 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.”

This lifetime accolade for Masekela has been bestowed in close consultation with various stakeholders, including David Green; Thomas Heatherwick; and Masekela’s family, represented by Bra Hugh’s sister Barbara Masekela. The South African poet, educator and activist 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 newly named Hugh Masekela Gallery is now officially open to the public