Bophela died of diabetes at the age of eighty-six. He formed jazz bands such as the Jazz Resurrection in the 1970’s.
He also played with jazz bands including Theo Bophela Trio and the Keynotes with other Durban-based musicians.
His younger son and family spokesperson, Barney Bophela, who also followed in his father’s footsteps musically, says his father inspired him greatly musically.
Barney Bophela currrently works with renowned musicians including Jonas Gwangwa, Letta Mbuli and Caiphas Semenya.
“Since I was young – younger ages – he used to play with colleagues from Johannesburg like Jimmy Makhasi and others from Cape Town – Mankunku Ngozi – so that gave me the inspiration to music, because I was also musically inclined but my father used to lock his piano when he was going for work. Then during the day when I came back from school, I used to get the key and open it nicely and play. Later he realised that I play the piano, then he stopped locking it and started giving me some clues musically,” explains Bophela junior