John De Mathew’s death has caught Kenyans by surprise. He was a favourite to so many even those who could not understand what he sang.
He was one of the most influential artistes in Kenya with his large fan base from Central. He had 375 songs and 50 albums to his name.
His name, De Mathew came from his father, as he was the son of Mathew and Wanjiku. Before he ventured into music, the Kikuyu legendary artiste used to hawk vegetables at Nairobi’s Soko Mjinga market, then sold meat in Kariobangi then left to Nakuru where he sold plastic shoes (Sandak).
His heart had always been in music. Even if he did all these other things to make ends meet, he started his music career in class 7. His first ever single “Jenifer” was released in December 1986.
De Mathew’s best selling songs are “My Dear Nduku” and “Njata Yakwa” which he performed with the current Murang’a Women Rep. Sabina Wanjiru Chege.
He 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.
He has left behind 3 children.