Babsie Tshabalala at Zoo Lake in Johannesburg, where visuals and audio documented Hugh Masekela’s rich and inspiring life. Masekela died on Tuesday from prostate cancer. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha/African News Agency (ANA)
Fans may still be mourning the passing of jazz icon Hugh Masekela, but those who gathered at a memorial park on Friday united in celebration of his life and legacy.

This was the sentiment behind the Hugh Masekela temporary "memorial park", which invited people from all walks of life to pay tribute to the musician and activist at a temporary site at Zoo Lake in Joburg on Friday.

The musician, composer and singer died at the age of 78 on Tuesday surrounded by his family at his Joburg home following a long battle with prostate cancer.

Although many were still filled with sorrow, they swayed to the beat of some of Bra Hugh’s award-winning hits, which boomed from a speaker placed on an impromptu stage.

An elderly couple, out for their morning jog, stumbled across the event and decided to join in on the audiovisual celebration of Masekela’s life, which chronicled his six-decade tenure as an artist and social, political and cultural activist.

While enjoying the summer breeze against the backdrop of the lake, others also took time to view the framed photos of Masekela.

One of the pictures that caught the eye featured a younger Masekela with his mother.

Petrus Mashiane, who turned up in a three-piece suit with a top hat, said he came to honour the musical legend.

He said he knew Masekela from the early 1990s when he used to visit his Hillbrow nightclub.

“Today, I took time off from work to celebrate the loss of our beloved brother.”

Mashiane said he put on his finest suit as he regarded it as a fitting way to pay his respects.

“I have dressed this way because at that time, Hugh and the others used to dress like this while they danced to jazz music.”

Memories of Masekela brought tears to Mashiane’s eyes.

“If I talk about Bra Hugh’s music, I could go on the whole day.

"His music rejuvenates me. I’m 64 today but when I listen to his music I feel young.

“It makes me cry because Masekela is a soldier in music, he sings like a politician but he was such a nation builder.”

Saturday Star