Theo Bophela. Picture: Supplied

Legendary Jazz musician Theo Bophela has died at the age of 86.

Bophela passed away at his home in Inanda, north of Durban, on Monday morning, after a battle with diabetes.  

He was a band leader, composer, pianist, arranger and music director.

Bophela formed the band Jazz Resurrection in the 1970’s.

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During his career, Bophela worked with Tom Ndaba’s Swingsters Band, the Chromatic Jazz Band, the Theo Bophela Trio and the Keynotes.

He also performed in Holland, Australia and New Zealand and wrote orchestral work that was performed by the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra.


Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa sent his condolences to the Bophela family.

“We send our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of legendary pianist Theo Bophela,” he said.

Managing director of the Southern African Music Rights Organisation Foundation Andre Le Roux said: “He was a mentor to many young musicians, including Zakes Bantwini. His death is a great loss.”