Top drummer dies after stroke

Gugu Sibiya

Gugu Sibiya

South African music suffered a great loss when well-known drummer Sipho Mtshali died in hospital last week.

His assistant Joan Phukwana, recounting his last weeks, said Mtshali, 51, died from a stroke at the Tembisa Hospital on Friday after spending a month at Pretoria's Academic Hospital.

"I am grateful that though Sipho could not talk, he indicated with his eyes that he understood everything we were saying to him," Phukwana said.

A renowned and talented drummer, Mtshali, who was part of the SABC Big Band, also had his own band, the Sipho Mtshali Band.

His band was good - very good I might add. They were chosen to play at former president Nelson Mandela's 85th birthday celebration at the Sandton Convention Centre.

Mtshali played with luminaries such as Jonas Gwangwa, Abigail Kubheka, Dorothy Masuka, Thandi Klaasen, Alan Kwela and the late Moses Molelekwa. He leaves behind a wife, two children and a granddaughter.