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HomeRHEMA ROOTS NETWORKChurch News AfricaSouth African Gospel Singer, Lionel Peterson Dies At 74

South African Gospel Singer, Lionel Peterson Dies At 74

AMINA BRAI OMOIKE

South African gospel singer, Lionel Peterson, has died at the age of 74. Peterson died from an undisclosed illness.  He was a South African evangelical performer and missionary specializing in R&B and Gospel worship hymns.

The veteran singer fell ill in 2016 and had not performed ever since. The news of his passing has resulted in numerous tributes and condolences from people over the world, including many popular artists.

Minister Lionel Peterson was one of the well-known names among the Christian Jehovah’s Witness groups all over South Africa. He has toured all across South Africa and overseas with his musical acts.

Lionel Peterson with Nigerian gospel artiste, Tim Godfrey
The late Peterson with Ghanaian gospel minister, Dr. Sonnie Badu
Peterson was married to his wife, Valerie for 50 years

Born on October 13, 1947, Petersen started to sing at age 10, inspired by singers including Elvis Presley, Tom Jones, James Brown, Otis Redding, and Wilson Pickett.

Lionel Peterson as a young musician

Peterson first started his career by playing with a band called The Thunderballs. In 1969, he joined a dynamic group “The Miracle” from Eesterust in Pretoria. With the band, he recorded an album called ‘The Miracles’.

Following the popularity of the album, he joined another music group called ‘The Invaders’ from Uitenhage in 1970. He recorded two albums with the band including the fans’ favourite album, ‘There’s a Light, There’s a Way’.

Upon returning from touring overseas with the band, Peterson joined the management stable Clide Calder and Ralph Simon to go embark on a solo career. He recorded several hit tracks such as ‘Come Back Liza’, ‘Private Number’, ‘In Need a Little Love’, ‘Try a Little Love’, ‘That’s The Way’, and ‘Keep on Coming Back’.

Having a successful musical career, he toured all across South Africa with stable mates such as Richard Jon Smith, Jonathan Butler, Ivan Ross, The Rockets, Ronnie Joyce, Cecil Mitchell, and Sophia Foster.

The South African musician changed his genre to gospel music after joining the famous Rhema Church in Randburg. He recorded various gospel songs and albums and successfully became a pastor.

Peterson was married to Valerie Triegaardt in April 1972. They lived together in Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa. They have a son named Lyndon, an equally talented singer who joined his father in the Rhema worship team.

Some of his most popular songs are ‘Peace’, ‘Lift up your eyes’, ‘Jabulani Africa’, ‘The Lord on high’, ‘He is the King’, ‘Behold the Lamb’ and ‘When the righteous prosper’.

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