The life and times of John DeMathew

Wreckage of the late John De Mathew’s car in road accident that occurred near Blue Post Hotel in Thika. [Boniface Gikandi/Standard]
Until his death, John Ng'ang'a alias DeMathew popularly known for his song Niwe Njata Yakwa was one of loved Benga musicians in Kenya.

De Mathew began his music career in 1986, with his first song Jennifer.

In 1987 he released the hit My Dear Nduku.

The benga musician will be remembered for his bestselling hits, Njata Yakwa and My Dear Nduku.

SEE ALSO :DeMathew's death a shock for Kenyan fans

Even more interesting is, he featured Murang'a Woman Representative Sabina Chege in his hit song, Njata Yakwa.

In the video, Sabina is seen holding hands and slowly moving to the beats of the song that describes how De'Mathew loves his star.

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Musical journey

Armed with three songs, he came to Nairobi in the 80s where he sold vegetables and later opened a butchery in Kariobangi.

SEE ALSO :DeMathew's life as told from his home

In Nairobi, he met musicians Timona Mburu and Joseph Wamumbe who helped him fine-tune his compositions thus recording his first song Jeniffer.

Producer Albert Gacheru helped him release My Dear Nduku in 1987.

De Mathew credits Sabina Chege with "transforming his life."

In his 2017 hit song Ngoro Gitina, he says that Sabina, a former radio presenter, together with radio presenter Njogu wa Njoroge popularised his music.

DeMathew heavily campaigned for President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2013 and 2017.

SEE ALSO :Uhuru, leaders mourn musician

In 2015, DeMathew celebrated 30 years of music at the Thika Stadium, in a colourful event attended by then Kiambu Governor William Kabogo.

Kikuyu musician John De'Mathew entertaining revelers during Gatanga Night event at Carnivore Restaurant, Nairobi. [James Mwangi/Standard]
Many Gikuyus label him as a "seer".

However, he has not been short of controversy. He was charged for hate speech in 2012 because of lyrics deemed by the state is inciting disaffection.

His death comes almost a year after another popular Kikuyu musician, Joseph Kamaru died in October.

Personal life

·         He was born in Gathiruini, Gatanga Constituency.

·         He is the fourth born in a family of eight.

·         He started composing songs while in class 7

·         Popularly known as Baba Shiko, he derived his stage name from his first name John and his father's name Mathew.

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