John De’ Mathew is dead. The man whose real names are John Ng’ang’a and thrilled benga audiences in his heyday has passed on.
De’ Mathew died after being involved in a tragic road accident at Blue Post hotel along Thika superhighway on Sunday evening, August 18.
According to Thika Base Commander, Elenah Wamuyu, the musician’s car rammed into a lorry on his way from a fundraiser in support of a fellow musician.
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.
“A road accident has taken the life of the best musician of our time, John De’Mathhew,” Nairobi governor Mike Sonko posted on Facebook.
On his part, Gatundu South lawmaker Moses Kuria mourned him as “a friend, brother and comrade.” “John was not an artist. I have always referred to him as a modern Kikuyu prophet,” he divulged on Facebook.
De ‘Mathew is arguably the King of Kikuyu music following the death of John Kamaru, in 2018. Tributes have since been pouring in for the ‘Twambe turihe thiri’ hit-maker, with fans taking to social media to mourn him.
It is reported that he had 50 albums under his name. His songs were widely known for having hidden cultural, political and social messages, like “Mene mene Tekeli” which meant “the end is near.”
Until his demise, he was the chairperson of the newly-launched Tamco Sacco that aims to uplift the welfare of musicians. Photos of the accident scene are below;