Kwela Tebza fight back over pennywhistle

2009-11-21 13:22

THE Kwela Tebza brothers and their immediate family have come out guns blazing after the musical trio was accused of stealing a ­specially crafted pennywhistle by their cousin.

Sibusiso Lerole told City Press last week that he had been looking for a pennywhistle that went missing from his father Aaron “Big Voice Jack” Lerole’s set. The pennywhistle in question was presented to him by the US-based Dave Matthews Band in 1998. Sibusiso claimed that it was the same instrument that his cousin, Kwela ­Tebza’s Mpho Lerole, was photographed playing in a magazine at a celebrity birthday bash recently.

On Friday, the trio’s mother, Thembi Lerole, labelled Sibusiso an “impostor”, “fraud” and a “liar”, adding that the 23-year-old musician was in fact not Big Voice’s biological or adopted son, but the son of the late musician’s step-daughter, Lindiwe.

“When did Sibusiso become a Lerole? That boy is an impostor. He is a Malungane, his mother’s surname. Jack never had children and therefore picked up a lot of people and called them his children, even jazz saxophonist McCoy Mrubata was once called his son and there was no relation whatsoever.”

The trio’s father, Elias “Shamba” Lerole, Jack’s brother, joined the fray demanding to know who had given Sibusiso the right to claim Jack’s inheritance. “Who gave him those flutes? Where is the proof that my brother left them with him?

“We don’t care about other people’s things. We work hard for ourselves. They have so many things in that house that are ours, but we are not interested in taking them, we’re not those kinds of people.”

Carol, the trio’s elder sister, added: “It’s all about the money. He just wants the money from Jack’s estate from music rights organisation Samro.”

In his defence, Sibusiso said he regarded himself as Jack’s son. “I am not his biological son. They (Elias’s family) told me I wasn’t while I was younger. But since I was born I’ve always known Jack as my father and my grandfather.

“He introduced me to people in the music industry such as Louis Mhlanga and Brett Holmes. I never went to them, he’s the one who used to take me along. I told uncle Shamba and aunt Thembi at a Samro meeting when we met over Jack’s estate that whatever they say I was raised by him and I am his son.”

Sibusiso says he changed his surname from Malungane in 2005 to honour Jack’s wish. (Jack had been dead for two years at that time.)

“It’s so funny that they want ­everything to do with Jack now, when they wanted nothing to do with him when he was on his deathbed. I know, he in turn wanted nothing to do with them by the time he passed. We were there for him as his children when he died. It’s us who stayed up the whole night and took care of him. My brother had to drop out of school to take care of our ­father.”

Thembi denied this, saying it was Elias who had prepared Jack’s body after he died and also took him to the mortuary.

Sibusiso said if his estranged ­family was not willing to return the missing flute he would consider taking legal action.

But Kwela Tebza insisted that Sibusiso owed them an apology. Tebogo added: “If you look at the flute ... and the ones in our collection you will see there is no resemblance.”

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