Hailed as one of the richest musicians in Kenya, John DeMathew was a mystery to many.
DeMathew will remain so after he breathed his last on Sunday night. He was in a tragic accident along Thika Road near Blue Post.
It was an oxymoron that he was famous and popular for his poetic hit songs on love, politics and social-economic themes yet close to little was known about him.
That said, here are five things I have gathered about this Kenyan music icon.
His real name is not John DeMathew
The Kikuyu music star whose influence traverses all counties in Kenya was known by the street moniker John DeMathew.
His real name, however, was John Ng’ang’a Mwangi.
‘Life is not an ID card,’ John DeMathew foretold death in hit song
He comes from the same village as Peter Kenneth
John DeMathew hails from Gatanga in Murang’a County and was born more than fifty years ago.
He started out as a tomato hawker
John DeMathew started off his musical career by the ‘Peris Nduku’ single and has been composing and producing hit after hit for about 30 years now.
The song is a love letter to his dead lover whom he promised to join one day after his work on earth is complete.
Before he ventured into the music industry, De’Mathew used to hawk tomatoes at the Nairobi’s Korogocho market in the early 1980s.
Watch it below.
Last person to see John De Mathew alive speaks out
His success is attributed to other big Kikuyu music legends
In past interviews, John DeMathew had attributed his success to his fellow legendary artists Timona Mburu and Joseph Wamumbe whom he lauds for guiding him in his rise to stardom.
He was the head of a musicians SACCO
Until his demise, John DeMathew was the chairperson of the newly-launched Tamco Sacco that aims to uplift the welfare of musicians.
“We want to come together and join a Sacco to pool resources together so that when we die, our families do not resort to harambees to give us a decent send-off,” he said early this year at Thika Greens during the launch.