More honours for Village Pope



Tšepo Tšola
Tšepo Tšola

Mohalenyane Phakela

LEGENDARY Afro Jazz maestro, Tšepo Tšola, has been honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 14th annual South African Metro FM Music awards, held in Durban last Saturday.

The Teyateyang-born musician, affectionately known as the “Village Pope”, has a career spanning over 40 years and is regarded as one of the best artists of his generation.

In an interview with the Weekender this week, Tšola said the award came as a pleasant surprise.

“I was shocked when it was revealed that I would be honoured as a life-time achiever in the South African music industry since the organisers are very good at keeping the winners list a secret,” said Tšola.

“The Lifetime Achievement Award is not one you get by nominations but by merit through hard work.”

Lesotho’s finest music export joined the industry in the early 1970s and became the front man of the popular Lesotho Afro Jazz band Sankomota. With Tšola’s gravelly voice, the group churned out hit after hit, to which generations sang along and danced.

In its formative years, Sankomota was led by guitarist, vocalist and arranger Frank Leepa, with Tšola as the lead vocalist, and composer, Moss Nkofo (drummer), Black Jesus (percussion), Moruti Selate, and Pitso Sera (guitar) among others.

As the group rode the crest of a two decade wave of success, they released such popular tracks as Now or Never, Bakubeletsa, Papa, Confusion and Pain, Stop The War, Fruits of Your Toil and the Sesotho folk song Obe.

Tšola would later on collaborate with other artistes, with his duet with the late Afro Pop sensation Brenda Fassie among the standout offerings. The song, Boipatong, was a call for peace at the height of skirmishes between the African National Congress and Inkatha Freedom Party in 1992.

He said the recognition from the Metro FM Music awards was a result of hard work and perseverance during his illustrious career, adding that it was well deserved.

“Forty five years in the music industry is not child’s play,” he said.

“I believe hard work and dedication have paved the way for my success.”

Tšola said he hoped to inspire his compatriots to work harder to attain success.

“Hard work, harmony and humbleness have their rewards,” he said.

“I, therefore, urge Basotho to put their heart and soul in their endevours.”

Although this is the Beulah Land hitmaker’s first Metro FM award, Tšola already has a number of awards under his belt which include the SATMA, Legends Award and another Lifetime Achievement Award from Ultimate Music.

Tšola also revealed that he is currently working on his tenth solo album, details of which he refused to divulge except to say it would be released in August.

“The new offering will be a surprise,” he said, chuckling.



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