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Hugh Masekela was a father figure to me – Isaiah Katumwa


Isaiah Katumwa (L) on stage with Hugh Masekela during Isaiah Katumwa’s show in 2015. PHOTOS BY ABUBAKER LUBOWA

Following the death of legendary Hugh Masekela earlier today after a long battle with prostate cancer, Isaiah Katumwa, a celebrated Ugandan Jazz musician, has spoken about the deceased whom he meet in 2015 through a mutual friend.

Read: Hugh Masekela, South Africa’s father of jazz dead

Katumwa told us that he was surprised that Masekela knew him on their first meeting. “I meet Hugh Masekela in 2015 after he was brought down here for a performance. One of my friends was the organizer but Hugh personally told him he wanted to see me and when he came, we connected immediately,” Isaiah said.

He adds that since then, they became very close friends and kept talking all the time. From just being a role model, Masekela influenced his musical career and also became a father figure to him.

“He became a mentor, an idol and a father figure to me. What hurts me so much is that he called me a few months ago and advised me to start singing because he knew I could do it. Sadly, he hasn’t been able to listen to the songs I’ve recorded.”

Besides that, Isaiah also adds that for a musician at Masekela’s level to assure him that he’s good meant so much to him that it helped him build his confidence.


Hugh Masekela died at the age of 78 years and he was a South African trumpeter, flugelhornist, cornetist, composer and singer.

He last performed in Uganda last year during Isaiah Katumwa’s show at Kampala Serena Hotel.

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