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Music icon Kori Moraba dies due to Covid-19 complications

JOHANNESBURG –  South African is mourning the loss of music legend Kori Moraba. The icon died of Covid-19 complications on Saturday, January 2.

Popularly known for his classic wedding song “Tswang-tswang-tswang”, Moraba passed away at the Netcare Bougainville Hospital in Pretoria.

The 73-year-old musician was hospitalised for two weeks after showing Covid-19 symptoms.

The muso’s daughter Joylene Moraba confirmed the devastating news of Moraba’s passing.

“This is the message to confirm that my father Kori Moraba well known for his hitmaker Tswang-tswang-tswang in 1971 has passed away at Netcare Bougainville last night at 23h00. He succumbed due to Covid,” she told the SABC on Sunday.

Tributes are pouring in on social media as fans remember the musical giant.

Sam Mathe, South African journalist, writer and publisher paid a moving tribute to the muso with an obituary that read: “The prematurely tragic departure of Jacob ‘Mpharanyana’ Radebe at only 29 robbed the country of its most charismatic and greatest soul singer.

“His death in 1979 coincided with the rise of Kori Moraba’s solo career, a vocalist whose magical tenor on romantic ballads made him an overnight runaway success.

“Like Mpharanyana, he recorded in African languages with romantic ballads and praise and worship music as his specialities. A 1977 album, Sotho Reggae, illustrated that Moraba was a versatile artist with a creative spirit.

He further explained: “Born a sickly child and raised in a poor family, he was forced to abandon school at Standard Five – an unlikely start for a future soul star.

“But he was also raised on the soul staple of American crooners – Sam Cooke, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding and the O’Jays – and started singing soul music semi-professionally in 1972 with a local group from his Tladi, Soweto neighbourhood named the Moonlight Brothers.

“A gifted imitator of famous singers, he fronted various township combos including The Heroes, Fantastic Five, Young Lovers and the T&T’s – singing alongside Blondie Makhene.

“After drifting from one township band to the other, with indifferent results, Moraba’s big break came in early 1975 when he joined The Minerals, managed by the late singer and producer, Jimmy Mojapelo of the All-Rounders fame. This was after the departure of lead singer, Monty Bogatsu, who went on to pursue a career as a cabaret singer.

“With the departure of Bogatsu and the introduction of Moraba, the band’s image changed somewhat as they switched from nightclub stages to concert halls and recording studios.

“His compositions, “Tswang, Tswang, Tswang” and “O Rata Mang”, wedding and love songs respectively, catapulted Kori Moraba into instant recording success and stardom as The Minerals’ lead singer.

“While he went on to release five albums with Jimmy Mojapelo, it is these songs that remain indelible in the memories of a generation of his fans. After on-and-off collaborations between singer and mentor, the two finally parted ways in 1986.

“Moraba disappeared from the music scene and re-emerged in the nineties as a Zion Christian Church pastor and a gospel singer.”

Read the full obituary on Mathe’s Facebook page.

More tributes keep pouring in on social media.

“We are sad to learn of the passing of Setswana contemporary musician, Kori Moraba. He died of COVID-19 related complications. He was 73-years-old,” read the statement from Sambro.

We are sad to learn of the passing of Setswana contemporary musician, Kori Moraba. He died of COVID-19 related complications. He was 73-years-old. pic.twitter.com/MdR03h69Qt

— SAMRO (@SAMROMusic) January 3, 2021“Yet another bright cultural star has been extinguished by Covid-19. Kori Moraba is gone. May his family and friends find solace in the knowledge that their loss is deeply shared. Farewell, Kori, son of Moraba. Through your music, you made our days glow with joy and happiness, ” commented political leader Letlapa Mphahlele.

Yet another bright cultural star has been extinguished by Covid-19. Kori Moraba is gone. May his family and friends find solace in the knowledge that their loss is deeply shared. Farewell, Kori, son of Moraba. Through your music, you made our days glow with joy and happiness.

— Letlapa Mphahlele (@LetlapaMphahlel) January 4, 2021“Ahhhh no man; bra Kori is no more. RIP ntate Moraba; your music and legacy live on,” added media mogul Thokozani Nkosi.

Ahhhh no man; bra Kori is no more. RIP ntate Moraba; your music and legacy live on. pic.twitter.com/NFzQYPsOP7

— Thokozani Nkosi (@ThokozaniNkosi) January 3, 2021

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