Popular South African kwaito musician and comedy actor Senyaka Kekana died today.
Senyaka began his career in the late 1980s and proved one of the main figures to bridge the 1980s bubblegum era with 1990s kwaito and hip-hop, with hits such as ‘Chisa Mpama’, ‘Romeo Wa Nkolota’ and ‘Fong Kong’.
He was a larger-than-life character, known for his public feud with the late pop queen Brenda Fassie. He created a controversy when he wrote a ‘diss’ song to Fassie and Yvonne Chaka Chaka called ‘Why uzonda magents’, which spurred Brenda to reply with another song, ‘Ma-gents’.
Senyaka later emerged as a successful actor, first appearing in the TV comedy Ashifashabba and later starring as an outrageous pastor in the hugely successful 2003 comedy Moruti wa Tsotsi, produced by musician turned filmmaker Sello ‘Chicco’ Twala, as well as its spin-off TV series Confessions to Moruti wa Tsotsi.
He had recently returned from relative obscurity to release a 12-track comeback album in December 2014, titled I Am Back.
The cause of his death is still unknown. Kekana had reportedly been in a coma for the past week and passed away at Kopano Hospital in Vereeniging, south of Johannesburg.
His shock death was first announced on the Instagram account of Zynne Sibika, better known as DJ Mahoota.
Minister of Sport and Recreation, Fikile Mbalula confimed Kekana’s death on his Twitter account today. He tweeted: “Just got the news from @djmahoota that the legendary Senyaka moruti wa tsotsi is no more. What a loss, great entertainer.”
Mbalula told the Sowetan: “It is indeed a great loss. Senyaka was no small feat, he contributed to arts and culture… This came as a shock, it came like a tsunami because we did not expect it as we never heard news of him being sick…. May his soul rest in peace.”
Senyaka (58) leaves behind two children, a boy and a girl.