Hatlane: Memories live on!

Hatlane: Memories live on!

MASERU – Abiel Hatlane may be gone. But to many fans, he lives on. For close to 20 years, he was a household name in the entertainment industry. But, Hatlane, who died on My 27, did more than just entertain. He had a special commitment to the role of music in Lesotho’s cultural heritage such that his music became a source of inspiration for many.

Since the start of his musical journey in 1999, Hatlane can be credited with having contributed to the revival of traditional (Famo) music and the gospel genre in the country. Hatlane will be remembered for his performances and recordings. thepost pays tribute to his work and legacy and offer deepest condolences to members of his family, his friends, colleagues and all those who enjoyed and supported his music.

A dark cloud engulfed the nation when news of his death filtered in. He was 49. One of the best known and loved musicians, he mastered the use of the accordion setting the stage alight with the likes of Rasekhele Masilo. He was born into a musical family and took early lessons from his mother ‘Malebohang Hatlane. He worked with Masilo and others who encouraged him to widen the appeal of playing an accordion and arranging songs.

The tone he was able to produce was instantly recognisable and he was an inspiration to many would-be musicians. Hatlane sometimes performed with his wife, Mats’epo. Hits such as Haufi le Morena and Litla fela lintoa tsohle, E fihlile nako ea ho lula le ntate easily come to mind. He leaves a legacy of recorded music and many happy memories of a man always willing to share his passion of traditional music.

Hatlane started singing traditional music in 1999 and took up the gospel genre in 2000 with his first album called ‘Konyana’. According to his wife, one hit that touched and will always touch her heart is ‘E fihlile nako ea ho lula le ntate’. With a smile on her face, Mats’epo Hatlane said she watched this track on television and fell in love with it.

“It was very funny, the gestures and his attire when he sang that song (smiles) will remain with me,” she said. According to Hatlane, her husband started coughing around March and was diagnosed with Tuberculosis (TB) in early April before undergoing TB treatment. Some days later, his condition worsened and he was admitted in Teyateyaneng Hospital. Later Hatlane felt he was recovering and was discharged from hospital. For a while, he was able to continue with his duties.

On May 19, he showed signs of discomfort around 9pm. He got worse and was admitted to Queen Mamohato Memorial Hospital. He spent a week in hospital until his condition worsened. “When I went to visit him I would find him with oxygen drips, each day the drips increased due to the worsening condition,” the wife said. Hatlane lost the battle last Sunday morning after he was diagnosed with Meningitis and brain cancer.

While narrating how they met in town, Hatlane’s wife said he stopped her and told her that she looked familiar; she was more like a daughter to her. She smiled and he asked for her contacts. She told thepost that she did not recognise that it was Hatlane whom she saw on television. He even disguised himself because she had told him that she did not want open relationships known to the world or maybe be in an intimate relationship with a public figure.

Instead of saying he is Abiel Hatlane, he said his name was Rasekotjana Hatlane to win her heart. Had he said he was Abiel chances are she would have turned him down. Apparently, she asked if he was related to the singer Abiel Hatlane and his response was yes. Later in 2010, she fell pregnant and that was then that she finally got to know who Hatlane was. With pregnancy in its course, she was shocked and had no choice but to accept the public figure into her life.

They were blessed with a baby girl in 2011 and a baby boy in 2015. When they married, Hatlane had three children already with the first wife from whom he had separated 11 years ago. Besides singing traditional music, he was also active in his church ‘Holy Jerusalem, Church of Repentance’. He would compose a song while in church, the congregation would ask as to when those songs were composed and the wife was sometimes clueless.

She said Hatlane was committed to his family and loved his family wholeheartedly. One would swear she was staring at him when she expressed the love her husband had. He loved his children dearly, both hers and of the first wife. Most of the time, he would tell her how the Almighty God saved him from many things in life such as smoking. ‘Matšepo Hatlane said Hatlane had left a big gap in her life. With a rim of tears in her eyes, she was just overcome with emotion.

Not only did Hatlane play an enormous role in his family but also with his colleague said Rasekhele Masilo. They performed together and worked in studio. “He was not only a business partner but my family supporter; therefore, I have lost a great champ really. He would also guide my music career,” Masilo said.

Tokase Mphutlane

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