FAREWELL CLEM THOLET          - 12/ 10/ 2004      <--Prev : Next-->

CLEM THOLET: Singer, guitarist & songwriter, born in Salisbury, Rhodesia died last week aged 56.

Clem started writing songs whilst an art student in Durban. One of his early songs, "Vagabond Gun" was a category winner in the SA Music Festival in 1964. On moving back to Rhodesia to work in advertising, he started singing at Rhodesia's first folk venue, The Troubadour in Salisbury's Angwa Street. There he met Sue Eccles and Andy Dillon and together they formed a trio called "The Kinfolk" Shortly after they moved to Johannesburg, Sue Left the group, and Clem & Andy joined up with Yvonne Raff to become "The Legend Trio". Apart from singing at the original Southern African "Troubadour", the trio were involved in a number of SAFMA's National Folk Fests.

Clem married Jean Smith in 1967, and he began a solo career, recording some singles with Art Heatlie at Trutone. Mel Miller, Peter Leroy and Sylvia Stott briefly joined Clem to form a group in 1970, before Clem moved back to Rhodesia in 1971, where he soon built up a strong following. He did a series of shows on Rhodesian Television, and presented a radio programme called "Folk on the Rocks" on radio for two seasons. The name came from the folk club he ran at The Beverley Rocks, where it played to packed houses and featured some stellar guests, such as comedians Spike Milligan and Shelley Berman, and folkies like Jeremy Taylor, Brian Finch and Tony Bird. Clem did the opening half of The Shelley Berman Show at the 7-Arts Theatre in Salisbury.

A popular star of the annual "Bless 'Em All" Troop Shows, and in great demand in the Rhodesian entertainment scene, Clem recorded his first album "Songs of Love & War". Self-penned and produced, the album was awarded a Gold Disc.

He wrote the soundtrack and songs for the C.I.S. film "What A Time" and the theme song for a film honouring the wounded troopies of Rhodesia, "Tsanga". He produced a second album, called "Two Sides to Every Story", before moving back to South Africa. He lived in Cape Town where he was involved in the advertising industry.

Condolences can be directed to Bill McDonald selectsports@shaw.ca