Writer, lyricist, composer, director, and theatre producer Mbongeni Ngema says he hopes that Tsepo Tshola can be honoured posthumously for the role he played in the South African industry.

The 68-year-old succumbed to COVID-19 complications on Thursday.

Ngema says he and Tsola shared great moments both in South Africa and abroad.

He laments a lost opportunity between them, saying while they have been having talking about a collaboration, they never got on to it.

“We’ve lost a great musician and a son. A beautiful human being to be around,” he says.

Mbongeni Ngema pays tribute to The Village Pope:

One of South Africa’s music legends, Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse, says Tshola’s death has left him shattered.

Mabuse says he’s short of words.

“I don’t even know how to respond to this. Tsepo’s passing has just left me shattered. And in an empty space. I could not even imagine that you could be gone so soon. You sang my friend, you sang for us Tsepo. Ho lokile. Tsamaya hantle moloane wa ka,” he says.

The Village Pope, as he was affectionately known, will be remembered for some of his many hits,  including Ho Lokile and Stop the War.

Tsola’s background

Tshola  was  born in Lesotho in 18 August 1953, however, he also had a South African citizenship.

He grew up in a musical family with both his parents involved in choirs and joined Lesotho Blue Diamonds as a vocalist in 1970. 

He co-founded and co-led Sankomota with late Frank Leepa, which was later disbanded. 

He relocated to London in the 1980s. 

Among his prominent awards  is the Metro FM Lifetime Achievement. His last album was released in March 2016 .

 His popular songs include Ho LokileMbube, You Inspire Me and Ntate.

He lost his wife almost 30 years ago and have never been remarried.

The musical icon had two children. 

Tributes pour in for the legendary jazz musician: