Dennis Itumbi is mourning the passing on of legendary singer John De Mathew, who perished in a grisly road accident along Thika Road.
Itumbi has paid tribute to John De Mathew, whom he says he has known since 2011.
‘Once in a while, death knocks and takes away those we think should stay longer than the rest of us.
A constant reminder of the timeless phrase that, death is not the opposite of life but a part of it.
Today, I dedicate my morning dedication to you Sir DeMathew.
John Mwangi Ng’ang’a, has been a friend since 2011, when we first met.
At the time, we needed to start prayer rallies for the Ocampo Six.
Before him, I had met a few other musicians who were not clear on the Hague process and the effect of associating with such suspects.
So I was ready to pitch, his response was simple, ” I have spoken to your boss. I will do it.”
But he told me a word that became a signature for that campaign, “mutikaguague..”
We had another moment when he was arrested together with Muigai wa Njoroge because of some hit songs.
At that point, the natural reaction was an expectation that DPM Uhuru Kenyatta would intervene and sort the case, but like I had learnt a few months earlier, when I was arrested over an allegation of hacking, Hon. Uhuru was a tough friend and mentor.
As a friend, he must have done what he could, but he did not get on the way of the judicial process.
In 2014, the cases were eventually dismissed and Demathew’s lawyer Gichuki Kingara said something I agree with, ” It is wrong to apply a criminal interpretation to artistic works”
The case was dismissed for lack of evidence.
I will forever be grateful that he was one of those who visited me in Muthaiga when I was arrested recently.
In his last days on earth, Demathew was more focused on empowerment and creating platforms for new musicians.
One of the last texts I have from him is an idea to open up simple studios in various towns with basic equipment to assist discover new talents and record their music.
He was full of praise for Muranga Governor Mwagi wa Iria and DP William Ruto for following up on the formation of a Sacco to assist musicians – Tamco Sacco.
Demathew sang great songs, no question that in the last two years he has two political songs with a message that ” Wega úrìhagúo na wega.” ( Good acts are repaid with good acts) – both were in reference to the political support DP William Ruto had shown in the elections.
The two songs were aptly titled, ‘Twambe turihe thiri ‘ ( Let us First pay our debt) and ‘My Friend’
DP Ruto however silenced the debate brought about by the songs saying, ” No-one owed him any political debts”
Demathew literally used his talents to ensure the Hague chains were unlocked, voters were mobilized to vote for the man he loved and respected President Uhuru Kenyatta and importantly called for family cohesion, tolerance in relationships, love and peace.
I will however remember him more for his highly poetic songs like Niwe Njata Yakwa – You are my star, Niwe Ihua Riakwa ( You are my flower) and obviously the 1987 hit, ‘ My dear Nduku’ that we grew up singing.
It was that Niwe Njata Yakwa song that featured Muranga Women Rep Hon. @Sabina Chege as a video vixen in her younger days.
You were indeed a prophetic musician, your first hit song, spoke of Peris Nduku dying in a car accident and you promised her you were on the journey. Salimu yeye sana.
My friend, Njogu wa Njoroge has also list a great friend.
The life of Demathew is testament that influence is not necessarily being the most educated, or having the most money or even holding a powerful position, but just consistently doing the little you can.
That consistency, eventually gives an entire society a voice and you literally own the drumbeat and sound of a generation.
Listen, it may not make sense now, but be consistent and persistent. It eventually will.
It was Ernest Hemingway who said, ” every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another”
Demathew, you have left us with your voice, it will forever be a YouTube click away and we will dance to your beat for a lifetime and another.
And yes, ” Tutingi-guagua”
Go well Bro. God strengthen your family and friends.