The year 2019 has been a roller coaster with so many happenings.
The showbiz industry wasn’t spared either. There were good moments and dark days too. This was the year that the industry lost a number of talents and supporters.
It certainly hasn’t been easy to say goodbye to so many greats who left us. As we usher in a new year tonight, we pay homage to the departed souls:
BRUCE ODHIAMBO (January 8)
The renowned music producer and former Youth Enterprise Fund chairman died at the Nairobi Hospital from heart complications. He had been admitted to ICU just two months after returning from India where he had gone to have his pacemaker replaced.
Bruce, a close allay of President Uhuru Kenyatta, was a veteran music producer having established his music label Johari Cleff in the 80s. He was privileged to have worked with several stars among them Les Wanyika, Redsan, Mercy Myra, Kofi Olomide, Awilo Longomba and Kayamba Afrika. Odhiambi died at the age of 55.
OLIVER MTUKUDZI (January 23)
The veteran Zimbabwean singer and guitarist had performed in Kenya countless times. He passed on in Harare, Zimbabwe capital at the age of 66. The cause of his death was reported to be heart failure related to diabetes. Mtukudzi had released more than 67 albums in his lifetime. Todii remains one of his greatest hits.
AYUB OGADA (February 1)
Legendary folk music singer, songwriter famed for playing Nyatiti passed on peacefully at his home as was confirmed by his wife Yvonne Seda. Ayub, who had been ailing for a while, was found by the family unresponsive on a chair. He was 63 at the time of his death.
One of his famous quotes he will be remembered for was during one of his last interviews where he said, “When I play music, I close my eyes and go into my soul. That way, as a I perform I give you may all until nothing is left”.
CHRIS KANTAI (February 27)
Kantai, one of Kenya’s pioneers of rap industry, died of breathing complications in hospital where he had been admitted. Until his demise, the 40-year-old had gone slow on music. But he is best remembered for having revolutionalised the hip hop industry in the country. Some of his great tunes include ‘Huu ni Nani G’, ‘Happy’, ‘Jinga Hii’ ‘Kris Kantadda’.
KONE NOUHOUM (February 28)
Kone spent five months in ICU at the Nairobi Hospital before succumbing to neck and spinal injuries he had sustained from a tragic accident at a geothermal site in Naivasha.
The soft spoken actor who rose to fame through several TV dramas, had paralysed, lost memory and speech following the accident. He had been in and out the surgery room before his demise.
His roles are best remembered in TV dramas such us Mali, New Beginnings and Selina.
BOB COLLYMORE (July 1)
The former Safaricom CEO succumbed to acute myeloid leukemia cancer on July 1. This was few months after returning to Kenya from England where he had been receiving treating for about eight months. Collymore was a lover of art and music.
He brought a great change to the music industry in Kenya giving local artistes a chance to showcase what they got in several events organized by the company like the Safaricom Twaweza.
Collymore was also a lover of Jazz music and was the brains behind Safaricom Jazz concerts that gave platform to many Jazz artistes both local and international. He passed on at the age of 61.
JOHN DE’MATHEW (August 19)
De Mathew, a veteran Kikuyu benga music composer and singer, died in a tragic road accident when his car Nissan Xtrail rammed into a lorry near Blue Post Hotel, Thika road.
He died on the spot with autopsy revealing his ribs were fractured and his liver and pancreas damaged. He had a musical career spanning 20 years with over 50 albums.
NJENGA MSWAHILI (November 7)
The Churchill Show comedian was found dead in Ndonyo market Dagoretti South after allegedly being hit by a train.
Mswahili debuted on Churchill Show in 2013 but his appearances were never consistent. Prior to his death, he is said to having been going a rough time suffering from depression.