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Photo by Brett Rubin.

Hugh Masekela Is Being Honored With a Memorial Pavilion Designed by David Adjaye

The pavilion and garden, spearheaded by the artists's family will honor the South African legend's Pan-African spirit.

Yesterday would have been the South African jazz legend Hugh Masekela's 80th birthday and to mark the momentous occasion, and honor his life, his family has commissioned the building of a memorial pavilion in his honor by celebrated Ghanaian architect David Adjaye (OBE).

The memorial pavilion and garden will be "a place to gather, reflect and celebrate the life and impact of Hugh Ramapolo Masekela," read a statement from the family.

"African monuments are a place of gathering and reflection, they help us edify the significance of our ancestors, our heritage and culture," says Adjaye about the cultural significance of the design. "Monuments act as a reminder of our duty in the present to honour the past, they spur us to make a better future," he adds.

READ: 20 Essential Hugh Masekela Songs


The unique design is also meant to recognize Pan-Africanist heritage, which Masekela was a major proponent of through his collaborations with fellow African artists across the diaspora. The pavilion will borrow from African burial practices, which often include the building of distinct structures where loved ones can congregate and reflect on those lost.

The pavilion will be inscribed with a message from his family, and will also house various symbolic stones that represent the many places Masekela travelled within the continent while he was in exile, as seen in the design mockups below.

Image courtesy of Adjaye Associates

Image courtesy of Adjaye Associates

"Our family could not be more honoured to have such an iconic son of the soil, Sir David Adjaye design this immutable memorial pavilion which beautifully reflects Hugh's openness and his love of Africa," says Ambassador Barbara Masekela on behalf of the family. "A true Pan-Africanist, we are touched that the design is by a world-renowned architect born in Ghana, another part of our beautiful continent Hugh regarded as home."

The pavilion will be unveiled by his family in June, in conjunction with Youth Month in South Africa.

This is not the only exciting news happening around the artist's legacy either. Yesterday, the Manhattan School of Music (MSM) and The ELMA Music Foundation, in partnership with the Hugh Masekela Heritage Foundation have also announced a new scholarship in the musicians honor. The Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship, dedicated to the "life-long advocate and embodiment of African identity, heritage, and expression," will allow for six South African students to study music on a full-ride at MSM, where the artist once studied. Applications will open in September 1.

"This scholarship not only honors the great artist's legacy," said Tarik Ward, Director, Music Programs, The ELMA Philanthropies. "But also nurtures the next generation of South African musicians and upholds his vision to preserve and promote African heritage, culture, and identity."

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20 Essential Hugh Masekela Songs

Here are 20 of the best songs from the South African jazz legend.

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Image courtesy of ARRAY.

What to Watch at Home During Coronavirus Shutdown: ARRAY's New Digital African Film Series

The film platform, from director Ava DuVernay, is hosting a weekly movie-viewing experience for the "global online community of cinephiles."

If you're looking for African films to dive into while at home during the coronavirus outbreak, a new digital series from award-winning director Ava DuVernay's film collective ARRAY is a great place to start. The multi-media platform and arts collective is launching its #ARRAYMatinee series, and each film will be available for viewing here.

#ARRAYMatinee is a virtual movie-viewing experience that will screen a string of the collective's previously released independent films from Africa and the diaspora. The weekly series begins on Wednesday, April 1 with a viewing of the 2015 South African coming-of-age film Ayanda. "Viewers will take a cinematic journey to the international destinations and cultures featured in five films that were released via the ARRAY Releasing independent film distribution collective that amplifies that work of emerging filmmakers of color and women of all kinds," says the platform in a press release. To promote a communal viewing experience, viewers are also encouraged to have discussions on Twitter, using the hashtag #ARRAYMatinee.

The five-part series will run weekly until May 13, and also includes films from Liberia, Ghana, and Grenada. See the full viewing schedule below with descriptions from ARRAY, and visit ARRAY's site at the allotted times to watch.

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