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Tsepo Tshola dies from Covid-19 related complications

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Jazz maestro Tsepo Tshola has died from Covid-19 related complications.

Tsepo Tshola
Tsepo Tshola perfoming at Kippies during the Cape Town International Jazz Festival. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/Independent Media

JAZZ maestro Tsepo Tshola has died from Covid-19 related complications.

The legendary musician reportedly died at a hospital in Lesotho on Thursday.

The news of Tsola’s death was confirmed by the music icon’s publicist Thanduxolo Jindela.

“Tsepo Tshola, Sankomota’s world-renowned ’Village Pope’ succumbed to a Covid-19 related illness this morning in Teyateyaneng, Lesotho,” said Jindela on behalf of the Tshola family.

With a career spanning over 40 years, Tshola first shot to the lime light in the 70’s when he became the lead vocalist for the legendary group Sankomota.

The band (originally named Uhuru) was formed in 1976 by several members, including Tsepo Tshola (lead vocalist, composer), Frank Leepa (guitarist, vocalist, arranger, composer), Moss Nkofo (drummer), Black Jesus (percussion), Moruti Selate, Pitso Sera (guitar).

When Samkomoka disbanded, Tshola started his solo career as other members had done. It was Tshola’s “Ho Lokile” song from the album Village Pope, released in 2009, that became a national anthem.

The song, which in Sesotho translates, ’It Is Well’, is still relevant to this day, considering the current state of the country with Covid deaths and violent protests.

One of the things that contributed to Tshola’s musical longevity was his dedication to working with artists from across the age and genre divide.

In an interview with IOL in 2019, Ntate Tshola explained that he was excited to pass his work on to his two sons, Kamo and Katlego.

“I’m passing it on to the kids. It’s also the meeting of different genres. My younger son is more interested in hip hop, while the older one is more versatile, so it’s a wide range of music. It’s magical,” he said at the time.

The music icon collaborated with Cassper Nyovest where he featured on the hit single “Superman”.

The success of the song proved that it attracted a diverse audience.

“I give my all into my music, my performances, and I’d like to believe that’s what attracts the young and the old.

“I don’t know if this will be perceived as arrogance, but I also believe I’m genre-free.

“My collaborations with young people also date back to working with Brenda Fassie, Thebe, and a whole lot of genres. It’s something that has also been fascinating to me,” he said.