John De’ Mathew died yesterday in a grisly road accident along the Thika Superhighway. The benga musician had an impressive catalog, with 375 songs and 50 albums to his name at the time of his death. He was arguably the most influential musician to emerge from central Kenya.
Some facts about the late great are below;
● REAL NAME: John Ng’ang’a Mwangi son of Mathew (Hence De’ Mathew) and the Late Wanjiku.
● BORN in Gathiru-ini village, Mukurwe-ini sub-location, Gatanga Constituency in Murang’a County over 50 years ago.
● He was the 4th Born in a family of 8 kids.
● Schooled in Mukurwe-ini (now Githambia) Primary School, then to Naaro Secondary in Kandara and Igikiro Secondary School.
● Before he ventured into music, De’Mathew used to hawk vegetables at Nairobi’s Soko Mjinga market, then sold meat in Kariobangi then left to Nakuru where he sold plastic shoes (Sadak).
● He composed his first song while still in Standard 7.
● He was introduced to full-time music career by Timona Mburu and Joseph Wamumbe who helped him to release his first single “Jenifer” in December 1986 and in August 1987, he released “My Dear Nduku”, produced by Albert Gacheru (Wa Maitu), which was the hit that brought him to the limelight.
● His best selling song was “My Dear Nduku” and “Njata Yakwa” which he performed with the current Murang’a Women Rep. Sabina Wanjiru Chege (who he said was never his girlfriend but just a pillar in his music career).
● His (own) favorite songs were “PIN Number” and “Muoyo Ti Kibandi”.
● Piracy started eating up their resources in 1992.
● His first car was a Nissan Blue Bird which was followed by a Toyota E 91.
● De’ Mathew had two wives and 3 kids.
TROUBLE WITH THE LAW:
● De’ Mathew was among the 3 Kikuyu musicians who were arrested and charged hate speech in July 2012. The other two were John Muigai alias Muigai wa Njoroge, Mark Kamande wa Kioi.
On the night of August 18 2019, John De’Mathew rammed into a trailer while driving his Nissan Navara pick-up near Blue Post Hotel Thika. He was pronounced dead at Thika Nursing Home where he was rushed for treatment.