Rousing send-off for legend Tshepo Tshola
- His Majesty leads tributes to the late music maestro
LEGENDARY musician Tshepo Tshola has been laid to rest in Thaba-Bosiu, at a church cemetery designated for heroes.
The Teyateyaneng-born star, who was affectionately known as “The village Pope” for his hauntingly beautiful socially conscious music delivered in rich booming voice, succumbed to Covid-19 complications on 15 July 2021.
His Majesty, King Letsie III attended the burial along with Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro, Thaba-Bosiu Principal Chief Khoabane Theko, other government leaders, clergymen and ordinary members of the public. Also, in attendance were opposition South African political firebrand, Julius Malema, of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party, Free State MEC Limakatso Mahasa and the Batlokoa Chief Montoeli ‘Mota.
King Letsie III led the tributes, praising Tshola for supporting the royal family with prayers when they were going through troubled times.
“The Tshola family was blessed to have a son like Tšepo Tshola,” His Majesty said.
“We thank God for blessing us with this man of talent. Our hearts are very sore but as Christians, we have to accept and say it is well and let thy will be done Lord.”
Dr Majoro recalled Tshola’s electrifying performances which made him a highly sought-after entertainer and regular feature at the annual Lesotho Tourism Festival of music (LETOFE).
“We would wait for the new artistes to perform and when it was time for Tshola to take the stage, we would then appear and dance the night away.
“Today is a sad day in Lesotho, a day on which we bid farewell to one of our finest. He was a nightingale that sang selflessly and graced international stages. He made us proud and today he is no more,” Dr Majoro said.
Tourism, Environment and Culture Minister Ntlhoi Motsamai consoled Tshola’s family, saying, “we cannot erase your pain but we can help you shoulder the burden and to get back on your feet”.
“Life is better when we are together because we are stronger together. The nation is mourning the departed soul of Ntate Tshepo Tshola, a titan of the music industry. A legend, a towering figure has fallen. We have been robbed of a seasoned Afro Jazz artist, a jewel, one of a kind. We have been robbed of Lesotho’s finest breed who was incredibly talented and earned his fame as an internationally acclaimed artist.
“His legacy will forever remain for posterity and his name will be engraved in stone. This has been a period of much pain and sorrow. But amidst the sad reality and tears, we have taken time to reflect. We have come out to celebrate a life well- lived and to honour the legacy of Ntate Tshepo Mobu Tshola.
“He was born with music clenched tightly in his fist. Music coded his genes and flowed in his veins. He was born to sing and win. He worked very hard to become the best in what he did,” Mr Motsamai said.
Christian Council of Lesotho (CCL) representative, Reverend Teboho Molapo, said, “Tshepo Tshola never discriminated against anyone and treated everyone with equal respect.
“What many did not know is that besides the Commander of the Most Loyal Order of Ramatšeatsana award, Tshepo had also received the Honorary Bishop award in the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E) in Africa. He has done his part and like he always said, let’s take the baton and run, may we do that and continue with the journey,” Rev Molapo said.
South African producer Lebogang Morake, better known as Lebo M, also lauded the late Tshola for his “amazing talent”. He described Tshola as a rare gem who had been able to represent the Lesotho and South African musical cultures simultaneously.
On his part, Chief Theko said Tshola had led an exemplary life and thanked his family for allowing him to be buried at the Heroes Acre in Thaba-Bosiu. Tshola became the second Mosotho to be buried at that place after Tšeliso Ramakhula, the late historian and author.
Chief Theko said there were many other luminaries like the author, Thomas Mofolo, and singer Letsema Matšela who were buried in their home areas before the establishment of the Heroes’ Acre.
“It is an honour that the Tshola family has agreed to release their son to be buried away from his home,” Chief Theko said.
“For the longest time, we have not had a place designated for the burial of people who are considered to have lived their lives in a befitting way to be called heroes. We therefore thank the Lesotho Evangelical Church for agreeing to set aside land for this burial site.
“We would like to see many people from all walks of life being buried here who have worked for the betterment of our people and not those who have embarrassed us,” said Chief Theko.