Nana Coyote: the giant has fallen

MASERU — Popular Lesotho-born musician, Nana Coyote, has died.

Coyote, 55, whose real name was Tsietsi Daniel Motijoane, died at Helen Joseph Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Monday.

A friend of Coyote, Lloyd Lelosa, told the Weekender that the musician had complained of chest pains following a car accident three months ago.

“After the accident, he constantly complained of pain in his lungs. He was taken to Leratong Hospital where he was later transferred to Helen Joseph hospital in Jo’burg where he lost his life.

“I have not just lost a friend but a father. He was a great person who taught me a lot of things,” Lelosa said.

Lelosa, who worked with Coyote on his hit single, Take Your Love, said the musician had left behind a wife and five children.

Although Coyote was born in Lesotho, the artist found fame across the border in South Africa in the 1970s.

He began his music career in the 1970s while he was still a student in Qwaqwa, South Africa, before joining the musical band Black Five.

At the height of apartheid in South Africa, Coyote came back home in 1980 and joined Uhuru Band (now called Sankomota) where he worked with the likes of Lelosa and Ray Phiri.

In 1984, he went to Johannesburg to further his musical career. His biggest break came when a musical group called Ozila asked him to feature as a lead vocalist in one of their songs I’m suffering, which became a hit.

He later featured in a duet with Steve Kekana on the song, Take your love, which is regarded as one of South Africa’s all time classics.

Bhudaza Mapefane expressed shock at the passing away of Coyote.

“This is a very hard time for our industry. I don’t believe he is gone,” Bhudaza told the Weekender.

He said Coyote was a wonderful person whose focus was entirely on music.

“Nana was just too sweet. Music was his everyday bread. He would talk of nothing but music.

“During my brief visits in Jo’burg, we would meet and have long conversations about music. This is a great loss,” he said.

Burial arrangements are still to be finalised.

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