A long time friend, mentor and brother is how Oliver Mtukudzi described the late Bra Hugh Masekela and reminisced on the amazing times they had together in their 33 years of friendship.
Oliver arrived in South Africa on Monday to promote his upcoming album, but woke up to the devastating news on Tuesday morning that his friend Bra Hugh Masekela died following a nine-year battle with prostate cancer.
Speaking to TshisaLIVE, the Zimbabwean born legendary musician said his friendship with Bra Hugh was one of the most natural relationships he had.
“Birds of the same feathers flock together, so it was very easy for us to be friends. Because we thought alike, understood the purpose of what we do and we were doing it for the right reasons. He was the only artist who has paid me a visit, right in the rural home area where I come from. He came and he learnt about me and I about him.”
He said they shared the same views about most things and respected the different views they each had on many other matters.
The Neria hitmaker said Bra Hugh was not an entertainer, instead he was always teaching lessons even when he told jokes. He said he admired the way he lived his life without filter, embracing it for all it was.
He laughed as he remembered the first time they met, in 1984. He explained that he had been playing in a club when Bra Hugh just climbed onto the stage midsong and joined in with his trumpet.
“I had a show at a club and as I was performing, I saw this guy… who took out his flugelhorn and just came onto the stage and started blowing his sound into my song. I don’t like when people just walk on to the stage and do whatever they want, but when he started, I realised ‘ai his playing is complimenting my song so well and he sounds experienced’. After the song he just stepped off and left, but after my set I saw him and asked the club owner, ‘who is that guy?’. He said that is Hugh Masekela.
The musician said after that first encounter, they met countless times on stages across the world and it was inevitable that they would become brothers.
Oliver said more than losing a great friend, he was grateful to have found a friend in Bra Hugh and would cherish their memories forever.