South African singer Lebo Mathosa, who this year earned a MOBO nomination in the United Kingdom for best African act, died in a car accident near Johannesburg in the early hours of this morning (Oct. 23). She was 29.
Mathosa’s shock death marked the end of a career that began in the same year as South Africa’s democracy in 1994 when the artist rose to fame as part of Boom Shaka, an award-winning group that is recognized as helping usher in that particular South-African youth-music genre, kwaito.
In a tribute, well-known South African producer, Gabi Le Roux said, “Our hearts are once again broken by the loss of one of our finest, Lebo Mathosa. Her magnificent voice will never be silent in our hearts.”
In 2000, Mathosa launched her solo career with the single “Intro” that featured on her debut album “Dream,” released by Gallo Record company. The album went gold (25,000 units) and earned Mathosa a trio of South African Music Awards in 2001 — best dance album for “Dream,” best dance single for “Intro” and best female vocalist.
Her follow-up, “Drama Queen” (EMI/CCP), was released in 2004 and earned Lebo a SAMA for best dance album in 2005.
This was followed by 2005’s “Lioness,” which again earned Mathosa a nomination in the 2006 SAMAs for best female artist.
“Lioness” also revealed a far broader musical palate, teaming up a singer known for her dance, kwaito and R&B music with traditional musicians like Maskandi guitarist, Ihashi Elimhlophe.