Coyote’s family at odds over tombstone

2011-08-27 18:54

Legendary singer Nana Coyote’s widow, Mantshadi Motijoane, has had no peace since the death of her husband just over a year ago as she has to deal with family drama, royalty issues and other legal battles.

The late singer, who was born Daniel Motijoane, passed away at Helen Joseph Hospital on July 5 last year in the arms of his wife of 13 years, following an illness.

But a year after his death, her eldest daughter has discovered that Coyote’s eldest son from another relationship is erecting a tombstone on his grave without her knowledge.

“My daughter came home one day asking if I knew about the tombstone being laid on Nana’s grave because she said she saw a Facebook conversation between her other siblings, Jason and Mamodupi, on the anniversary of Nana’s passing,” says Mantshadi.

“When I read the printout I saw they were discussing that my eldest son, Karabo, was planning to lay a tombstone on Nana’s grave ‘before spring’, something I knew nothing about.”

Mantshadi contacted the gravesite watchers she had asked to look after Coyote’s grave, who informed her that building had started on the site.

“Why would Karabo do this to me? Is it legal? We were fine and talking from before and after his father’s funeral and then I find this. What am I supposed to do? This is not making me happy at all.”

“He is my son, why doesn’t he consult with me about erecting a tombstone? Does that mean he doesn’t consider me alive?” asked the widow.

When City Press contacted Karabo he responded in an email saying the “family has spoken to my mom on several occasions regarding the tombstone”.

“My (step)mom had said she does not have any money and she is also aware that the rules of the cemetery state that a tombstone must be erected within a year. As his firstborn and having the means to erect the tombstone it is only fitting that I should honour my father as he would have liked,” he said.

Coyote was a founding member of the popular group Stimela.

In 1996 he met Mantshadi, who had two children aged eight and six at the time. The couple soon wed and now have two younger daughters aged 12 and four.

Now his widow says she is also “experiencing problems with accessing Coyote’s royalties just for child maintenance”.

“I cannot afford to go to court and am looking for people to help me get child maintenance because we are relying on the rent from one of the properties we owned with Nana. I am dealing with so much now at home and with recording ­labels and Samro.

“I feel like when Nana died he took my soul with him because I don’t know what to do,” she said.

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