Rupert Bopape

Rupert Bopape

South African producer, talent scout and songwriter active from the late 1950s to the late 1970s.

Born on 15 December 1925, Bopape was a pivotal figure in the music industry. He began his career in 1951 as an assistant talent scout for Record Industries. In 1955, he was recruited by EMI South Africa to become its main talent scout and producer of African music. At EMI, Bopape handled some of the country's most popular acts including girl group the Dark City Sisters, pennywhistle band Black Mambazo and gospel quartet the King's Messengers. Bopape also oversaw the birth and development of mbaqanga music by replacing African jazz players with new, younger session musicians.

In 1964, Bopape quit EMI and moved to Gallo Record Company (then known as Gallo Africa). At Gallo, Bopape was the executive head of the organisation's new division devoted to producing African music, Mavuthela Music Company. Under Bopape's tutelage, Mavuthela pioneered the new, up-tempo mbaqanga music (often referred to as 'mgqashiyo') with electric instrumentation, girl group harmony and male soloists ('groaners'). Bopape's biggest successes at Mavuthela were the Mahotella Queens, the Makgona Tsohle Band, the Mthunzini Girls, Izintombi Zomoya and groaner Simon Mahlathini Nkabinde. These and other Mavuthela artists dominated the mbaqanga scene from the mid-1960s through to the late 1970s.

Into the next decade Bopape expanded production by promoting some of Mavuthela's artists and arrangers including West Nkosi, Lucky Monama and Marks Mankwane to become producers. In 1979, Bopape retired from the music industry, concentrating his energies on building up local businesses around his homeplace of Tzaneen, Limpopo. He died on 15 June 2012 in Mogapeng village, Limpopo, aged 86.


Rupert Bopape Discography Tracks


TWLP 004 Various Steven Mabone and 2 more… Various - Township(LP, Comp) Trojan World TWLP 004 UK 1990 Sell This Version