The country is mourning the death of gospel music queen Tebogo Sethomo, who passed away in the wee hours of Friday.
Tebby as she was popularly known died of complications from the coronavirus (COVID-19), her family told The Monitor on Friday. She was 42. Tebby is the first local musician to succumb to COVID-19 after she tested positive.
Tebby’s sister Malebogo Metsing told The Monitor that Tebby was fine up until Thursday evening when she asked to be taken to the hospital because she was having respiratory problems. She revealed that Tebby was taken straight into the ICU upon arrival, but without luck, the machines couldn’t revive her.
She added that it is a torrid time for their family after losing a great person such as Tebby whom they shared with the rest of the world. Tebby's death comes as Botswana battles a second wave of the virus that is driven by a new variant that is about 50% more infectious, according to health experts.
After the announcement of Tebby’s death, tributes from across the country and the creative industry poured in to celebrate the life of the gospel queen. “The Botswana Musicians Union is saddened by the passing of one of its members Tebogo Sethomo. Tebby was a hardworking musician whose passion and zeal towards her craft won her the 2006 BOMU Best Female Gospel Artist award.
The Botswana music industry and the global genre have lost one of the most hardworking and versatile artists,” BOMU president Fresh Lesokwane stated in a press release. “Go well
Tebby released her first album, Maleo Ame, in 2005. In 2007, she released her second album Khubama on CD and DVD, earning her the name ‘Queen of Gospel’ in recognition for her dual release on two media solutions.
Then in 2009, Tebby also came up with her own studio called Tebby Gospel Studio, which specialised in producing gospel music, sermons and poetry. Besides that, some of her notable works were landing a lucrative recording deal with the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). The undisclosed deal was rumoured to be millions of pula at the time.
Tebby was also commissioned by the BDP to record and release CDs and music videos of its victory parties, anniversaries and campaigns. The deals elevated Tebby to one of the successful musicians locally and truly earned her the title ‘Queen of Gospel’. Funeral arrangements are yet to be announced.