Lebo Mathosa Dies

Lebo Mathosa, One of South Africa’s most popular singers, was killed in an October 23rd car crash a on motorway near Johannesburg.

A police spokesman said the driver of Mathosa’s car seemed to lose control on a bend, causing it to overturn and hit a tree.

“After fame catapulted her into the limelight with the band Boom Shaka, she went on to release her first solo project, which was aptly named Drama Queen,” said major South African concert promoter Attie van Wyk.

“Like her idol Brenda Fassie, Lebo believed in living life to the fullest. She was a talented performer, as well as an actress who represented Africa everywhere she went. With her extraordinary personality, stage presence and energy, she captured all that knew her. Even our beloved Nelson Mandela likened her to a phoenix with a light that never diminished.”

Last year, she performed in front of huge crowds at Nelson Mandela’s 85th birthday party.

The 29-year-old artist was one of the stars of Kwaito, a South African fusion of hip-hop, funk and traditional rhythms, and also acted in local television dramas.

She was known for her dyed blonde hair and energetic shows. After achieving success with Boom Shaka, she launched a solo career that saw her Drama Queen album top the national charts in 2004.

In 2000, her debut solo album, Dream, earned her three Samas (South African Music Awards).

Her first trip to the U.K. was in 2001, performing with Boom Shaka at the Celebrate South Africa concert in Trafalgar Square and a club in Tottenham for the Zimbabwe independence day celebrations.

Earlier this year, she was nominated for the U.K.’s Music of Black Origin (MOBO) Awards. She was also nominated as “one of Africa’s sexiest women” by FHM men’s magazine.

Her death comes almost two years after the death of South African diva Brenda Fassie, who took Mathosa into her home when the young singer was only 14 and became her mentor and role model.

Born in 1977, Mathosa grew up in the East Rand town of Daveyton, near Johannesburg, where she enjoyed gospel music and sang in the local choir from the age of seven.

– John Gammon