Zakes Bantwini has joined mourners in paying tribute to late jazz musician, Theo Bophela who died at his home in Inanda, KwaZulu-Natal this week.
Theo’s death was confirmed by his sons, Scelo and Bongani Bophela in a statement issued by the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) on Tuesday. The star died of a longterm illness on Monday at the age of 86.
“Baba Theo is the first person who taught me a piano, he taught me the foundation of music and musical notes. He was my first teacher and when I heard about his passing I realised that he had a lot of wisdom to share with artists. Music in the future will never be the same without him.”
He recounted the time that Theo became emotional after teaching him a song.
“He was showing me how to play a certain song at the piano and said he would be proud if I could play the song the same way he did. Two years later, I played him that song exactly how he played it to me. He was very emotional and proud of me,” Zakes added.
Speaking to our source after the news was confirmed, musician Zakes Bantwini said that he was saddened by the death of his mentor.
Theo rose to prominence in the 1950s and 1960s, working with Tom Ndaba’s Swingsters Jazz Band, Chromatic Jazz Band, Keynotes Jazz Group and the Theo Bophela Trios & Quartets Jazz Resurrection Orchestra.
He performed in several countries around the world and wrote orchestral works for the KZN Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra with Ngwelo Afrika Jazz group.
SAMRO said they would make a contribution to Theo’s family to assist with the cost of his funeral.