In Summary
  • It was while in Nakuru that DeMathew composed his first sing Jenifer Reke Tũtũranie.
  • DeMathew composed songs in support of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his quest for the presidency.
  • After school, he went to Nairobi where he sold groceries before he established a butchery in Kariobangi.

He was known as John DeMathew but his real was John Mwangi Ng’ang’a.

The popular Kikuyu musician was known for his use of satire to explain the political happenings in the country with messages targeting the people of Mt Kenya region.

Also known as Baba Shiku, the Benga maestro was also known for his love songs and also songs social life and Kenya’s politics, most of which were marred by controversy.

KIKUYU PROVERBS

The artiste, who perished on August 18 near Blue Post Hotel along the Thika-Kenol Road as he left a fundraiser in Thika town, was known for his mastery of Kikuyu proverbs and sayings, earning himself the tittle of the Agikũyũ prophet and seer.

But his songs with political themes have sometimes brought controversy, landing him into trouble with State agencies for allegedly fuelling ethnic tension.

At the same time, DeMathew composed songs in support of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his quest for the presidency dating back to 2012.

At one time, DeMathew, together with other influential Kikuyu musicians including Muigai Wa Njoroge and Kamande Wa Kioi composed and released controversial songs praising the Mr Kenyatta, then deputy prime minister, while delivering scathing attacks on Mr Raila Odinga who was the prime minister in President Mwai Kibaki’s grand coalition administration.

HATE SPEECH

The three were charged at the Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi with several counts of incitement to violence and hate speech.

DeMathew found himself in court after he released a video of his song Wituite Hiti on accusations of hate speech allegedly targeting Mr Odinga.

But he was acquitted in 2014 after the court declared that the prosecution “did not present enough evidence to link the singer to hate speech as alleged” and dropped all charges against him.

In 2007, DeMathew tried his hand in politics when he unsuccessfully vied for the Gatanga parliamentary seat. He emerged third in an election won by Mr Peter Kenneth.

MT KENYA POLITICS

After that, DeMathew changed tact and started composing songs with a view to influencing the political direction of residents of Mt Kenya region.

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