Heartbreak over gospel great’s death

2010-07-13 16:04

Still reeling from the loss of legendary musicians Busi Mhlongo and Nana Coyote in the space of a month, South Africa has lost another musical great.

Oleseng Shuping (46), a giant of the South African traditional gospel genre, succumbed to pneumonia at 5am yesterday at Akasia Private Hospital in Pretoria.

While on a trip to Kimberley in 2006, Shuping was involved in a car accident that claimed one of his lungs and left him paralysed from the neck down.

“Every winter, we knew he would be hospitalised because his body and his lung could not handle the cold,” said family spokesperson Lebelo Maleka.

Maleka said Shuping’s death had devastated his wife, Masobeng.

“She is traumatised by her husband’s passing. We went to see him on Friday and she lost hope because she could see that this man was leaving” said Maleka.

Maleka recalls the last time he saw Shuping alive.

“On Friday I went to see him at the hospital. He was no longer responding to anything. All he could say was ‘pastor, I thank you’, and he cried as I was leaving. I told him I would see him on Sunday but I did not get a chance. On Monday I got an sms early in the morning that said he had passed away.”

A stalwart of the South African traditional gospel music scene, Solly Moholo, remembers Shuping well.

“I’m the one who introduced him to Cool Spot Studios, where he released the album Se Gopole Boikgantsho Baka,” says Moholo.

“We are heartbroken for losing him but I believe God has taken him out of the misery he was in for four years. All I can say is that he was a good role model for up and coming musicians and we’ve lost a good talent.”

Shuping’s memorial service will be held at Akasia Town Hall in Pretoria on Thursday at 11am and his funeral service takes place at the same venue at 7am on Sunday.

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