Friday, October 27, 2006


Saying Goodbye to the Queen of Kwaito: Lebo Mathosa

Singer Lebo Mathosa, one of South Africa's best loved stars, was killed in a car crash early Monday at age 29. "Through her music, she will be remembered as an icon, inspirator, artist, entertainer and as part of a generation that revolutionized our music industry," the ANC Youth League said, quoted by AP. Image: cover of Lebo's Jan 2006 release Lioness

It is an unfortunate truth that those of us living in the Americas as part of the Afro-Diaspora, barely register the cultural stars and achievements on the home continent. We are extremely self-absorbed in being Black Americans. Moreover, our cultural ignorance of even what is going on states-side is often ridiculous - as when this week a reporter on the streets of Harlem found so many young people who not only did not know Barack Obama, but couldn't pronounce and/or made fun of his name -- as if, Lashawnda and Taniqua are less funny. Oh my people...ignorance and conceit! So, it was particularly shameful for me to have only heard about the accidental death of Kwaito star Lebo Mathosa today. And even more shameful to have just learned about Kwaito in Nairobi this summer. We need to keep our eyes and ears open to the whole of diasporic culture: African, Brazil, Europe, North America...wherever. We must always seek to understand what is happening in the African Cultural Long Body - that continual efflorescence of Africanist arts and cultures around the globe. So, if you aint hip to the Queen of Kwaito, for ancestors sake and for your own, you best be learnin' quick. Even if her body is gone you will fall in love with her voice (which sometimes reminds me of Patti) and her spirit which, thankfully, will never die. RIP Lebo.

"Lebo Mathosa was renowned for her charismatic stage presence and natty dress sense. Aside from being nominated "one of Africa's sexiest women" by the men's magazine FHM, she was also a pioneer in the field of copyright for South African artists, having secured ownership of all the publishing rights and shares for her songs." from The Independent obit

Interview with Lebo Methosa on ArtMatters

Sample cuts from Drama Queen (2004)

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