TO MOST people, Theo Bophela was a great jazz musician but to his family, he was also a kind, caring and loving man.
The 86-year-old jazz guru died at his home in Inanda, north of Durban, on Monday after a long illness and suffering from diabetes, his son Bongani (65) said there was nothing the madala loved more than his family.
“He was a good father to us and a kind man who was not afraid to provide leadership in our family,” he said.
Bongani said his father’s other great love was music.
“Even in old age, he always talked about jazz. He was working on a project he hoped would be ready before his birthday in March.”
He said his father had suffered from diabetes.
Madala Theo leaves behind four sons.
During his long career, he worked with Tom Ndaba’s Swingsters Band, the Chromatic Jazz Band, the Theo Bophela Trio and Quarters Jazz Resurrection Orchestra.
He was a band leader, composer, pianist, arranger and music director.
Madala Theo performed in Holland, Australia and New Zealand and wrote orchestral work that was performed by the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra.
Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa sent his condolences to the madala’s family.
“We send our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of legendary pianist Theo Bophela,” he said.
“His death is a great loss.”