Legendary muso Samson Mthombeni departs

Musicians shattered as legendary Samson Mthombeni dies

Benson Ntlemo

One of the legends o1f Xitsonga traditional music Samson Mthombeni has died.

Boti Langutela, as the popular muso called himself, died at Elim Hospital on Sunday at the age of 75.

Samson “Boti Langutela” Mthombeni

The music legend who has been a musician for over four decades performed throughout the country with other legends such as the late Khatisa Chavalala, General MD Shirinda, Daniel Baloyi, to mention a few.

Family spokesperson Wrighton Mthombeni confirmed the death.

“It is true, he had passed on and as the family we had a meeting today. We looked at what he has done and decided that he has done so much for the community and we have to celebrate the life that he lived to the fullest, “he said.

He and other musicians contributed to the cultural awaken during the apartheid days and this was against the odds.

This was during the  height of exploitation by record companies.

Mthombeni recorded his first works with Radio Tsonga, the station now known as Munghana Lonene FM.

Songs such as Bombo Ra Tika and Xinengani xa Nwampfundla endeared him to music fans. But they were recorded for the like of music as record companies were giving them small percentages for their works. That is why it was a breath of fresh air when he went to perform in the United Kingdom some years ago invited by a South African who is based in London.

He performed in some shows and when he came back he said he recorded a song Dynamos Vafana va  moya which he said he composed on the plane.

“While on the plane I was thinking back home about a team based in Giyani that was beating the likes of Chiefs and Pirates and I thought of composing a song on them,” he said of the team that was owned by Pat Malabela.

Following the announcement of his death ANC MP Joe Maswanganyi issued a statement bemoaning the loss.

“It is a pity that our music legends are passing on one by one. It was the late Khatisa Chavalala, then General Shirinda and now Mthombeni amongst the pioneers of music,” said Maswanganyi.

It was during Maswanganyi’s tenure as MEC for sports, arts and culture in Limpopo that Mthombeni went outside South Africa for the first time.

Capricorn FM station manager James Shikwamabane also posted the message on Facebook eulogizing the late musician. Shikwambane was the manager of Munghana Lonene and Mthombeni won many awards with the station.

Rixaka Forum representing Xitsonga speaking intellectuals also sent condolences to the family and said Mthombeni’s death is a big loss to the nation.

The chairman of the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa in the Vhembe district Prince Gulukhulu Mathebula also sent messages of condolences to the family.

The Khatisa Cultural Heritage Foundation that continues the legacy of the late female legend Khatisa Chavalala also sent messages.

Spokesperson Elizabeth Chavalala said Mthombeni was there when the late Khatisa was buried and she regretted that the foundation would not be able to avail itself at the funeral because of the situation in the country. Mthombeni is survived by his wife Nwa Gezani and seven children.

Mthombeni will be buried at Bungeni in Makhado on Saturday.

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