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Mosotho Chakela dies

The legendary Famo artiste Rethabile Mokete aka Khosi Mosotho Chakela

Jan. 6, 2021 4 min read

4 min read

PROMINENT Famo musician, Rethabile Mokete better known as Khosi Mosotho Chakela died on Tuesday morning at a Bloemfontein hospital in the Free State Province following a brief illness.

A family spokesperson Mokhatla Mohlala has confirmed the passing of the legendary artiste, however saying that the cause of death would soon be publicised by the family.

The late musician was part of a violent underworld of the Famo music industry that has seen several artists and members of rival groups killed over the past years.

People close to the industry say the groups were formed with good intentions of providing support to the Famo musicians. The idea, they say was that the musicians would help each other in times of sickness and death. The groups were meant for business purposes as well.

But as competition for a dwindling Famo market intensified among the musicians, serious animosity developed between the groups.

Soon they were fighting for almost everything from women, radio airplay, recording time and influence on the market.


Chakela who lived in Bloemfontein led a group called Terene. Although these groups are mainly based in Lesotho, their membership spreads across South Africa.

Within these groups, there are different camps and smaller factions that are headed by ambitious members of the rabble.

Deputy leader of Terene Nteei Tšehlana announced on a local radio station on Tuesday evening that his boss who had recently been making several trips between Bloemfontein and Gauteng with two companions had breathing complications.

“My leader’s blood pressure had shot high and he died while he was waiting for his COVID-19 test results. His two companions are still in hospital,” Tšehlana also said.

Chakela was born in 1963 in Matelile, Mafeteng. He rose to prominence with his first album named Manka le Phallang.  The album was released in 1999 by the Shear Record Company and it sold enough copies to achieve platinum status. 

The album has hits like "O ka nketsang", "Ha ke noa joala" and "Mosali".

The late artiste came to the spotlight again the following year with another hit album called Manka le phallang no.2. Thereafter, he consistently released hit after hit.

In 2006 Chakela was awarded a South African Traditional Music Award for best musician in the Famo music category.

Apart from his singing talent, Chakela was a successful businessman in Lesotho and South Africa. Among others, he owned a total of 13 liqueur stores, seven of which are located in Maseru.

Three others are in Leribe while the remaining three are in Chakela’s home town of Mafeteng.

He used his prominence as a musician to make strong political points. In his second album, he talked about Lesotho political leaders, which made him an eye opener to many.

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Mosotho Chakela and members of his Famo group Terene

In politics, Chakela was aligned with the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) and was also a strong ally of former Prime Minister Motsoahae Thabane.

The notorious musician was also implicated in the murder of Thabane’s estranged wife Lipolelo.

Police had issued warrants of arrest for Chakela, Seabata Sello and Molefi Matima for Lipolelo’s murder.

Lipolelo was gunned down on June 14, 2017 outside her Ha ’Masana residence on the outskirts of Maseru, two days before her husband’s inauguration.

Thabane’s current wife, ’Maesaiah was also charged and arrested for the murder but was later released on bail by the High Court.

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