July 19, 2021


3 min read

Tributes pour in for late Tšepo Tshola

Tributes pour in for late Tšepo Tshola

The late African Jazz guru, Tšepo Tshola

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“WHO is in a hurry for my death?” African Jazz guru Tšepo Tshola had asked earlier in January 2020, when fake news about his death went viral on several social media platforms.

But today, the propaganda has become a sad reality that has left the music industry and the world reeling with shock.

Tributes from all quarters have kept pouring in since the death of the music guru was announced on Friday.

The TY-born musician and producer died from COVID-19 related complications at the age of 68, the director of Letsela Entertainment - Stanley Letsela has confirmed in a statement.

Fellow musician and Tshola’s business partner Joe Nina said the music community is devastated by the news.

He said the late songwriter had phoned him a week prior to his passing.  

According to Nina, Tshola had wanted to attend fellow SA music legend, Steve Kekana’s funeral earlier this month, “not knowing he would also pass on a few days later”.

Kekana who died on July 1, also succumbed to COVID-19 related complications.

“He said he couldn’t be with us at the funeral because he was being quarantined with his family after they tested positive for COVID-19. I’m shocked because he sounded fine throughout our conversation even though he had been devastated by his friend and associate singer’s death (Kekana).”

Nina also revealed that he has “material” he had kept in the hope that one day he would get a chance to produce more appealing music with Tshola.

The deceased, he said was a unique artist who could not be imitated, adding that his throaty voice made his music more appealing and special.

“He also paved the way for us artists who followed in his footsteps, especially during the apartheid era in SA.”

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For her part, another SA legendary musician, Yvonne Chaka-Chaka passed her condolences to the Tshola family, saying she had collaborated with the late jazz giant in many songs and shared the stage with him at several major music festivals.

Tshola’s sudden death is indeed a heavy blow to the music industry, both local and international.

As a lead vocalist of Sankomota, in their famous track - “Now or Never” he sings the lyrics: “You’re waiting for your name to be called” and indeed his name has now been called.

“He might be gone, but his music will live forever with us. The last time I was with him, we were performing in Botswana and he was full of jokes as usual,” she said.

Affectionately known as ‘The Village Pope’, Tshola was born on August 15, 1953 in Teyateyaneng, Lesotho and later relocated to SA to pursue his music career. The award winning musician entertained audiences across southern Africa and Europe for more than 40 years, with hits like “Ho Lokile” and “Madambadamba” with his band Sankomota.


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