South Africa on My Mind with Hugh Masekela’s Passing

I read about Hugh Masekela’s passing today. I read this obituary early this morning. I have been a fan of his music for a long time and remember getting to see the Graceland concert in Paris in 1987 when he played with Paul Simon. I remember singing “Bring Back Nelson Mandela” his song to free Mandela and bring him home to Soweto. It was so moving and seems ancient now when we think of all that has happened in South Africa. Mandela was freed and in 1994 became President and the rest is history. Mandela is one of my heroes in life. I keep a quote from him on my desk at all times to remind myself not to give in to fear and to be courageous.

“I learned that courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it….The brave man (or woman) is not he (she) who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Mandela.

I actually just got to see an amazing performance of Alvin Ailey at Christmas where they danced Masekela Language, a piece set to his music which they rarely perform and I hadn’t seen in some years. According to Ailey’s site, it is “Ailey’s searing portrait of oppression (which) draws parallels between the era of South African apartheid and the race-induced violence in Chicago during the 1960s. As trumpeter and composer Hugh Masekela’s driving music propels the dancers through a string of theatrical tableaus, the commanding choreography speaks of passivity, militancy, despair and defiance anywhere, at any time.” It was very compelling. Seeing Ailey is one of my yearly Christmas rituals and without dating myself, I’ve been going since I’m a wee lass in the 1970s so basically all my life.

I know this is a wine blog but as an avid music fan and a reader of obituaries, I often find news of people and think about their meaning in my life and on my journey. Tomorrow I will write about wines from South Africa but for today, the post is about Masekela and Mandela.

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