A tribute to Tšepo Tshola



Maseru- Lesotho Tourism Festival (LETOFE) – A place of music, fun and people connections, years of memories have been created at the Thaba-Bosiu Cultural Village. 2018 was a tribute to Frank Leepa by Tšepo and his band. Now this year, so sadly yet gratefully, we will commemorate our friend and musical legend Tšepo, under the lifelike image of King Moshoeshoe I, guarding and guiding us.

Back in 1961, when five-year-old Tšoeu met Tšepo, who was seven at the time, an instant attraction was formed between them. Both were fun, loving, cheerful and musical. Oftentimes they entertained friends and family by singing solos and duets- using stool as the stage. Being mischievous, they played on the dusty Kingsway main road, long before today’s kind of traffic. The boys also employed the sandstone mountain of Maseru.

Tšepo said “Billy taught me to speak English and that is why I know it so well” and he taught him how to drive at Gibby’s Garage. Years later when Frank, Tšepo, Moruti, Moss and Pitso bonded to form ‘Uhuru’, Billy became their sound engineer and driver. Uhuru, meaning Freedom, was not welcomed by the apartheid government in South Africa, they were inciting the kids. The band was banned.

By changing their name to ‘Sankomota’ the band evolved. We loved to dance and sing along with their melodies, deep and rhythmic songs – during the painful 80s.

Recently, Covid-19 lockdowns have delayed plans for a song therefore we are recording more remembrances. Let us use the time we have, it is fragile. It is high time that we ask for stories from elders and peers, we have missed too many. History is being forgotten. Our new national museum and art gallery neatly completed, has a story booth.


In 2002, Tšepo agreed to narrate the documentary films ‘Mountain Roots’ for the World Summit (on YouTube) and ‘Setso sa Lithaba’. He composed the sound track (overnight) and allowed me to include some songs. Tšepo’s legacy is a treasury of audio visual records. I appeal for the documentary film of his music to be completed. Under the magic mountain (that grows) at night – celebrate – let’s dance and rejoice for him and them.


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