Kenya: How De'Mathew Foretold Fatal Road Accident in His Hit Song 'Peris Nduku'

Late musician John DeMathew.

There has been an outpouring of grief following the death of Kikuyu Benga musician John De'Mathew in a grisly road accident near Thika Town on Sunday night.

Since the news of his death broke, condolences have been pouring in from fellow musicians, fans and political leaders from across the country.

POPULAR SONG

De'Mathew, who was the chairman of the newly launched Tamco Sacco, was returning home from a fundraiser at Metro Fill Bar in Thika Town when he met his death. The funds drive had been organised to help offset medical expenses for his fellow musician Peter Kigia's son.

His death echoes a warning in perhaps his most popular song. Just as he sang in the 1987 hit Peris Nduku, "vehicles are unreliable and they do end lives in tragic crashes."

In the song, De'Mathew narrates how, with his imaginary lover, they were involved in a fatal crash as they went to visit his parents in Gatanga.

But their car rolled while climbing a hill thus cutting short their journey home.

They were taken to hospital where his lover Nduku died while undergoing treatment. He ends the song with farewell words to his lover, who kisses him a final goodbye as she breathed her last, telling her that he is also on the way and that they will meet in heaven.

It was a classic masterpiece that threw De'Mathew into music fame which he maintained in his over 30 years singing career.

Incidentally, De'Mathew died in a similar way as happened to his imaginary lover, Nduku.

Sunday, August 18, his car hit a truck from the rear as he drove up an incline near Thika's Blue Post Hotel along the Thika-Murang'a Road.

ROAD CRASH

He was pronounced dead at the Thika Nursing Home where he had been rushed following the crash.

Following the news of his tragic death, many FM radio stations and local TV stations in Nairobi and central Kenya were for most of Monday playing most of De'Mathew's popular tracks, and, especially, Peris Nduku, in which he appears to have had a premonition of his own death also in a road crash.

Like the poet or "prophet" he was, he follows other stars, who also predicted the manner in which they would die.

His body is lying at the Kenyatta University Funeral Home where a postmortem was done on Tuesday.

He will be buried on Saturday at his Mukurwe Village in Gatanga, Murang'a County.

Speaking to the Nation on Tuesday, fellow Kikuyu musician Kamande wa Kioi expressed sorrow at having lost a close friend and fellow singer.

"We are lost for words following his untimely death, as we had closely worked together over the years," he said.

A really notable tribute came from Murang'a Woman Rep Sabina Chege, who before venturing into politics some years ago, had starred alongside him in the video Njata Yakwa (My Star).

The Njata Yakwa video clip was trending for most of Monday, with fans reliving Ms Chege's earlier days as a recording artiste and later radio presenter before she joined politics.

TRIBUTES

Also eulogising De'Mathew was Gatanga MP Joseph Nduati Ngugi, who said his death had deprived the county of one of the music gems from his constituency.

"We received the news of his death with utmost shock among all the Gatanga constituents and other Kenyans," he said in a statement.

Gatanga is also home to other renowned singers, including Peter Kigia "Wa Esther", Timona Mburu, and veteran Daniel Kamau "DK".

Others are John Ndicu, Kariuki Warutara, Kimani Thomas, James Makibi and Joseph Muruaru. Top gospel singer Sarah Kiarie also hails from Gatanga.

This was the style of De'Mathew, ever vibrant on the stage, bold and donning cowboy hats. His ever-sharp eyes were also a distinct identity.

Also mourning the star was Ms Jacqueline Njambi Kamau, a Nairobi fan, who said she particularly liked his chart buster Njambi that she grew up listening to.

"This particular song reminds me of my name Njambi and how, in my community, women named Njambi were often loved and cherished," she said.

She also liked other songs such Pin Number, Menye Menye and Ndinda Kakwa.

Also paying tribute to the late singer was Mr Joseph Njoroge (Deejay Njoroh Sweet), also from Nairobi, who said he had been a fan of De'Mathew's music.

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