Masekela Pavilion, Johannesburg Memorial, South African Architecture, Images
Masekela Pavilion in Johannesburg
Memorial Building for Bra Hugh in South Africa – design by Adjaye Associates Architects
14 Jun 2019
Location: West park Cemetery Beyers Naude Drive, Johannesburg, South Africa
Architects: Adjaye Associates
On the 4th of April 2019 Bra Hugh, as he is affectionately known throughout South Africa, would have turned 80 years young. With just over a year since his passing, the Masekela family has unveiled a memorial pavilion designed by renowned architect, Sir David Adjaye.
Iconic African trumpeter, revered Pan-Africanist, cultural and creative industry activist, Hugh Ramapolo Masekela’s passion and contributions to South Africa’s liberation, as well as, commitment to the realization of a truly post-colonial African landscape, remain indelible parts of a shared history and memory among people of African heritage throughout the Diaspora.
Through his music, bound by masterfully curated lyrics, Bra Hugh told the African story with agency and grace. A multi-faceted and endlessly curious artist and musician, Hugh Masekela mastered the art of creating melodies that became purveyors of the human narrative; stories of love, romance, friendship and pursuit of happiness whilst at the same time, addressing pointed political realities experienced by his people on (and off) African soil.
A quintessential cultural pioneer, Hugh Masekela joined the likes of Abdullah Ibrahim (then known as Dollar Brand), Jonas Gwangwa and South Africa’s revered alto saxophonist Kippie Moeketsi in the Jazz Epistles, who in 1959 recorded the first album by a South African jazz band, Jazz Epistle Verse 1.
Exiting South Africa following the June 16 Sharpeville Massacre, Hugh Masekela’s over 6 decade career is a kaleidoscope of achievements; the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, the 1968 Billboard 100 #1 single “Grazing In The Grass”, a prodigious studio recorded catalogue of over 40 releases, innumerable genre-bending collaborations, the 1987 political foot stomper ‘Bring Him Back Home (Nelson Mandela)’, the triumphant Paul Simon Graceland Tour, and Mbongeni Ngema’s 1988 Broadway musical Sarafina!. Through his countless live performances across the globe his vibrant yet gallant human spirit continues to resonate with fans from Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York and Tokyo, to Frankfurt, London, Monrovia and Auckland, to Lagos, Accra, Kinshasa, Soweto, Port Elizabeth, and the Cape Flats.
The memorial pavilion, spearheaded by the Masekela family, is the result of a partnership between Mr. Ravi Naidoo, of the Design Indaba Trust and Adjaye Associates who together, are working with South African industry experts and stakeholders including Johannesburg City Parks. The pavilion and garden will be unveiled by the family in honour of beloved Hugh Ramapolo Masekela at the beginning of South Africa’s ‘Youth Month’ in June 2019.
In keeping with African tradition, the design offers the Masekela family, Africa and the world, a place to gather, reflect and celebrate the life and impact of Hugh Ramapolo Masekela. Speaking about the significance of this design and monument, Sir David Adjaye says, “African monuments are a place of gathering and reflection, they help us edify the significance of our ancestors, our heritage and culture. Monuments act as a reminder of our duty in the present to honour the past, they spur us to make a better future’’.
This sentiment was shared by Hugh Masekela who said of himself, “I am a forward-looking person and live in the moment to build for the future”.
The 4th of April, which marks Hugh Ramapolo’s 80th birthday, posits a moment for Africa and the world to reflect the future he may have imagined.
Masekela Pavilion, Johannesburg – Building Information
Pavilion is of precast concrete.
Benches are of a selection of African granites
Photography: Brett Rubin
House in Morningside images / information received from Nico van der Meulen Architects
Location: West park Cemetery Beyers Naude Drive Johannesburg, South Africa
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