Kenya's 'King of Kikuyu' Music John De'Mathew Passed Away
The musician passed away following a car accident yesterday.
Kenyan musician John De'Mathew, real name John Ng'ang'a, was involved in a car accident yesterday in Thika, a town that is just outside the capital Nairobi. De'Mathew was allegedly returning from a harambee he had attended earlier on in support of fellow musician, Peter Kigia. The car in which De'Mathew was travelling, then collided with a lorry and the musician was later pronounced dead at the Thika Nursing Home, The Star reports. It is still unclear what the cause of the accident was.
De'Mathew, who was known for wearing a white cowboy hat as his signature look, produced more than 50 albums in his career which spanned three decades, according to the BBC. The musician was known for popularizing Benga, a genre of music where a guitar is set to a fast-paced rhyme. De'Mathew regularly sang in his native Kikuyu tongue, one of Kenya's main languages.
Many fans have understandably expressed their sorrow and highlighted how Kenya has lost a music giant. They lauded De'Mathew for his music which they say addressed a myriad of social, economic and political issues. Referring to one of the musician's songs, one fan said that, "Mbeú Njíthí was one great song addressing the alcoholism problem among the Kikuyu men (and especially young men)."
If there was something that John De'Mathew was good at, it was addressing social, economic and political challenges… https://t.co/QA7A5cKprP— Oliver Mathenge (@Oliver Mathenge) 1566160887.0
Other fans called De'Mathew a national "hero" who will also be remembered for the peace, love and unity that his music espoused.
Kikuyu benga musician John De Mathew will forever remain in our hearts,a true legend who through his songs spread l… https://t.co/WDHcxmERHe— Kariuki 🇰🇪 (@Kariuki 🇰🇪) 1566159602.0
Numerous tributes have been pouring in on social media since the tragic news of De'Mathew's passing emerged.
Black Sunday. It is with great sadness that we learn of the death of John De'Mathew, a leading Kikuyu musician and… https://t.co/IGBnQ6HTSk— Samidoh Muchoki. (@Samidoh Muchoki.) 1566161476.0
An immense loss for local music. His memory and recordings will remain as testament of his magnificent conducting.… https://t.co/utmrD4f8RA— Nr.Sonie (@Nr.Sonie) 1566160370.0
Deep condolences to the family, friends and fans of renowned musician John De Mathew. He used his talent to teach u… https://t.co/XvsFHXw4LH— William Samoei Ruto, PhD (@William Samoei Ruto, PhD) 1566194664.0
John De Mathew’s otherwise illustrious music career as a Kikuyu Benga maestro nearly suffered ignominy when he prod… https://t.co/LtQCPNaosb— DD (@DD) 1566160760.0
Kenya has just lost one of its most influential artists it has ever produced: Whose music had quality composition,… https://t.co/gN5j98Wo77— Mwangi Kiunjuri (@Mwangi Kiunjuri) 1566164634.0