Hugh Masekela's family want a simple tombstone to honour him

22 February 2018 - 12:45 By Kyle Zeeman
Hugh Masekela died last month in Johannesburg.
Hugh Masekela died last month in Johannesburg.
Image: Gallo/Getty

Hugh Masekela's family requested a simple tombstone to honour the late jazz legend, in keeping with the star's wishes.

TshisaLIVE understands that as funeral preparations were underway late last month, the government approached several tombstone companies on behalf of the family to ask them if they could build a simple tombstone for the legend.

Hugh died in his Johannesburg home on January 23 and was cremated in a private ceremony. Gauteng MEC for arts and culture Faith Mazibuko said government wanted to erect a tombstone in the Stimela hitmaker's honour at a special section of Westpark cemetery reserved for popular figures and struggle icons.

"We spoke to the family after his death and they told us that they wanted a very basic tombstone. They wanted something like a simple slab with his birth date and death date. Nothing fancy. I know that there was talk of a giant trumpet or elaborate design, but they said it was his wish that it be simple," Nthato Nkwabi of Khaabo Tombstones told TshisaLIVE.

He said discussions around the tombstone ended after the funeral.

"I can't say we have been in talks with the family because it was just a discussion. We have not heard anything more. We would be honoured to build the tombstone if approached," Nthato added.

Bataung Memorials‚ who built tombstones for Dumi Masilela, Robbie Malinga and Joe Mafela said they had been contacted by the arts and culture department with a similar brief.

"The government called us on behalf of the family and said they wanted something simple. We didn't discuss a brief and we haven't been in talks since. We want to give the family space to mourn and when they are ready, we will offer our services." the company's CEO Lebohang Khitsane said.

Speaking to TshisaLIVE  at a memorial for his father, Sal Masekela said he did not want to comment on a tombstone being erected, but was grateful for the request to name certain buildings in the country after Hugh.

"The thought of his name being honoured on streets and names in this country is incredible. We would be absolutely honoured."

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