How DeMathew Rose From Hawking Tomatoes to King of Kikuyu Music

  • Kenyans, on Monday, woke up to tragic news that renown Kikuyu Benga musician, John De' Mathew alias John Ng'ang'a had passed on.

    De'Mathew, died in a road crash along the Thika Superhighway on Sunday evening, August 18, 2019, after his car rammed into a lorry near Blue Post Hotel.

    He is reported to have released 50 albums during his lifetime most of which centred on love, cultural, political and social messages that resonated well with his huge audience.

    According to enthusiasts of the genre, the musician's illustrious career is only comparable to that of the late John Kamaru.

    Unknown to many, the late musician's story was that from ashes to glory.

    Before his songs started enjoying massive airplay on local radio stations, De'Mathew used to hawk tomatoes at the Nairobi's Korogocho market in the early 1980s.

    The late musician attributed his success to his fellow legendary artists Timona Mburu and Joseph Wamumbe whom he lauded for guiding him in his rise to stardom.

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

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

    Prior to his death, he 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 stated early this year at Thika Greens during the launch.

    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.