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Kikuyu Benga Musician John De’Mathew dies


The accident occurred on Sunday night at a black spot near Blue Post hotel.

Gatanga Member of Parliament Nduati Ngugi said the musician died on the spot, after ramming a truck and his body was taken to Thika Nursing Home and later transferred to Kenyatta University mortuary.

He was heading home after attending a fundraiser for fellow musician Peter Kagia’s ailing child, a close family member said.

De’Mathew’s death sent shock waves among his wide fan base across the country.

When it comes to Kikuyu secular music, John De’Mathew has never been far from the conversation.

With over 50 albums to his name, De’Mathew is arguably the most influential artist from Central Kenya judging by his huge and wide fan base and also by the great airplay his songs enjoy on local radio stations.

De’Mathew, whose real name is John Ng’ang’a Mwangi, hails from Gatanga in Murang’a County and was born more than fifty years ago.

He started off his musical career by the ‘My Dear Nduku’ single and has been composing and producing hit after hit for about 30 years now.

Before he ventured into the music industry, De’Mathew used to hawk tomatoes at the Nairobi’s Korogocho market in the early 1980s.

The ‘Nengereria Kane’ hitmaker attributes his success to his fellow legendary artists Timona Mburu and Joseph Wamumbe whom he lauds for guiding him in his rise to stardom.

Renowned scholar Kanyi Thiong’o thesis for his Master of Arts in Literature at the University of Nairobi was on De’Mathew songs.

Thiong’o says he picked on the popular musician due to the quality composition, poetic message and manner of rendition in his songs.

Among De’Mathew’s hits that have enjoyed massive airplay include Property, Ni Wathire Ukindiga, Mene Mene Tekel and Njata Yakwa in which he featured Murang’a County Women Representative Sabina Wanjiru Chege.

The accomplished artist has managed to remain relevant in changing times and has composed influential songs on politics, love and social commentary which have resonated well with his huge audience.

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