Archive for apartheid

R.I.P. Hugh Masekela (1939-2018)

Posted in Jazz with tags , , on January 23, 2018 by telescoper

I woke up this morning to the very sad news that South African jazz trumpeter Hugh Masekela had lost the long and courageous battle he had been fighting against cancer and has passed away at the age of 78. Hugh Masakela did a huge amount to establish a uniquely South African jazz tradition and much of his music was a response to the struggle against apartheid. Although some “serious” jazz fans have criticised him for `selling out’ in his forays into pop – for which he simplified his playing style considerably – this approach definitely succeeded in bringing many new people to his music. His was exactly the same approach as Louis Armstrong, actually, and I for one don’t begrudge either his commercial success.

I was fortunate to hear Hugh Masekela live many years ago at Ronnie Scott’s Club. He had a wonderful stage presence, and played a typically eclectic mix of music and it was a wonderful night that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

Here’s a clip of him playing and singing that gives an idea of what the man and his music were like and just how much he will be missed.

R.I.P. Hugh Masekela (1939-2018).

Goodbye Dolly

Posted in Cricket, Politics with tags , , on November 19, 2011 by telescoper

This is turning out to be a sad month for cricket fans, for today saw the death of legendary all-rounder Basil D’Oliveira. “Dolly”, as he was affectionately known, was born in South Africa but was unable to play first-class cricket there because of the apartheid regime’s policy of racial segregation; as a “Cape Coloured” he wasn’t allowed to play what was basically a whites-only game. He emigrated to England in 1960 and was subsequently picked to play for England and quickly established himself as an excellent player at Test level. Selected basically as a batting all-rounder, and usually coming in between 5 and 7 in the order,  his  average was over 40, and he scored 5 centuries in 44 Test matches in a career that lasted from 1966 to 1972. These are impressive figures, especially considering that his Test career didn’t even start until he was in his mid-thirties.

His selection (as a late replacement) for the England side that was to tour South Africa in 1968 precipitated the D’Oliveira Affair, which led to South Africa being ostracised from international cricket until the end of apartheid in the 1990s. Although this episode must have been personally distressing for him, D’Oliveira behaved with great courage and dignity throughout and won many admirers on and off the field, and the warmth of the tributes being paid in today’s media demonstrate the high regard in which he was held by cricketers, fans of the sport, and  by campaigners against racism.

Rest in peace, Basil D’Oliveira (1931-2011), one of the true gentlemen of cricket.