Tuesday September 17, 2019
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Popular Kenyan Musician John Ng’ang’a aka John De’Mathew, Dies Through a Tragic Accident

Known as the King of Kikuyu music, the singer was on his way back from an event in the town of Thika when he met with a car accident

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Musician John De Mathew,he Died through a road crash.

By Geoffrey Isaya

Popular Kenyan musician John Ng’ang’a, known by his stage name John De’Mathew, has been killed in a car crash.

Known as the King of Kikuyu music, the singer was on his way back from an event in the town of Thika, 45km (27 miles) north-east of the capital, Nairobi, when his car ploughed into a lorry.

Famous for wearing a white cowboy hat, he reportedly produced more than 50 albums in a three-decade career.

His style of music was known as Benga, with guitar setting a fast-paced rhyme. He always sang in Kikuyu, one of Kenya’s main languages.

The hashtag #RIPDeMathew trended in Kenya for the better part of Monday hours after the news of his demise, with people sharing their memories.

One tweeter said he always addressed social issues in his songs, like one about alcoholism,Tribalism and corruption.

Fans have been paying tribute to Kenyan musician, John Ng’ang’a, known by his stage name John De’Mathew, who has died in a car crash – but not everyone has been praising the Benga singer.

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John’s songs focused on love, politics and societal ills such as alcoholism – often using proverbs, metaphors and references to Kikuyu mythology. Wikimedia Commons

Dubbed “the King of Kikuyu music” – he was one of the few musicians to be famous countrywide despite only singing in his Kikuyu language.

President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Twitter that he played a big role in promoting “African cultural heritage through his music”

His songs focused on love, politics and societal ills such as alcoholism – often using proverbs, metaphors and references to Kikuyu mythology.

While some have praised him as a “modern prophet”, one of his political songs was controversial and has divided opinion about his legacy.

Wituite Hiti, which means “You Have Made Yourself a Hyena”, was released ahead of the 2013 election.

The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), set up to ease ethnic tensions after the violence that followed the 2007 election, said the lyrics bordered on hate speech.

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It was thought he was referring to politician Raila Odinga, the main rival to Mr Kenyatta, a Kikuyu, who went on to win the presidential vote. De’Mathew was charged in court over the song, but acquitted the following year.

Defending himself, he said the translations were taken out of context and had missed the message of the song. Mr Odinga, who also lost the 2017 presidential vote, has tweeted his condolences to De’Mathew’s family, saying the singer was a great educator “on culture and current affairs”. (IANS)

Next Story

Kenya Third African Country to Roll Out World’s First Malaria Vaccine

Young children in eight western Kenyan counties will receive the RTS, S malaria vaccine, developed by British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline

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A health worker vaccinates a child against malaria, in Ndhiwa, Homabay County, western Kenya, Sept. 13, 2019, during the launch of a malaria vaccination campaign in the country. VOA

Kenya has become the third African country to roll out the world’s first malaria vaccine. Young children in eight western Kenyan counties will receive the RTS, S malaria vaccine, developed by British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline.

Africa continues to bear the greatest brunt of malaria globally and the introduction of the vaccine in parts of Africa is seen as a possible game changer in the fight against the killer disease.

Mothers and children lined up at a health center in Ndhiwa, Homa Bay County, on Friday to receive their first injection of the RTS,S malaria vaccine.

The vaccine will be administered in four doses to children between six months and two years old.

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A clinic handbook is given to new mothers free of charge upon delivery at health facilities all over the country. The book contains vaccination schedules and information materials. (R. Ombuor/VOA) VOA

The program is being facilitated by Kenya’s Ministry of Health in collaboration with the World Health Organization, the global nonprofit PATH and other partners.

Scott Gordon, director for the malaria vaccine implementation program at PATH, was present at the launch and spoke to VOA by phone.

“Given the malaria burden here in Kenya where it’s one of the leading causes of childhood killers as well as the burden in the other countries, today’s launch is a tremendous step.  It means we have a tool that can be used in selected areas in Kenya to combat malaria and ensure that children are able to benefit from the broader portfolio of tools for malaria,” Gordon said.

Malawi, Ghana and Kenya are participating in the malaria vaccine implementation program coordinated by the WHO.

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At least 360,000 children are expected to receive the vaccine each year in the three countries.

The Homa Bay County minister for health, Richard Otieno Muga, says the vaccine will be one more tool for fighting malaria.

“Introduction of vaccines is one of the interventions but already we have insecticide treated nets, we also have indoor residual spraying in which we carry out to be able to fight Malaria which is a major killer for most of our children,” Muga said.

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Kenya has become the third African country to roll out the world’s first malaria vaccine. Pixabay

The WHO says Africa accounts for 90 percent of malaria cases and deaths globally.

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The program will run through 2022, with scientists studying the rollout to gauge the effectiveness of the vaccine. (VOA)