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Google Honors South African Jazz Legend, Activist Hugh Masekela

He would’ve been 80 years old today.

Google Honors South African Jazz Legend, Activist Hugh Masekela
(Photo credit: Google)

Google has become known for celebrating renowned figures through colorful doodles on its homepage. If you scrolled through the search engine on Thursday, you may have noticed the addition of acclaimed South African jazz legend Hugh Masekela.

Widely regarded as the father of Jazz in South Africa, Google chose to celebrate Masekela on what would have been his 80th birthday.

Google announced its decision to honor Masekela in a blog post. “Today’s Doodle celebrates the world-renowned South African trumpeter, singer, bandleader, composer, and human rights advocate Hugh Masekela.”

Providing insight into Masekela’s start in music, Google said, “Born 80 years ago today in the coal-mining town of Witbank, South Africa, Masakela got his first horn at age 14.”

He left South Africa at the age of 21, beginning a 30 year exile from his native land.

In 1968, Masekela scored his first No. 1 record in the U.S. and a Grammy nomination for his single “Grazing in the Grass.” The single was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame last year.

A leader in the anti-apartheid movement, Maekela released the 1986 single “Bring Him Back Home,” written in honor of Nelson Mandela. It became an anthem in the country’s anti-apartheid movement.

Upon Mandela’s release from prison, Maekela returned home to South Africa for the first time in more than 30 years.

The master trumpeter released more than 40 albums over the course of his five-decade long career.

Masekela died from prostate cancer in January 2018.

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