South African Kwaito artist and comedy actor Senyaka Kekana has died.
The 58-year-old entertainer died at the Kopanong Hospital in Vereeniging on Wednesday after a short illness.
It has been reported that he had been in a coma for a week before his death.
Members of the South African entertainment industry have expressed shock at the news of Kekana’s passing.
Kekana was well known for his many Kwaito hits including his most popular song Chesa Mpama, which was the song of the year on most South African radio stations in 1999 and Romeo wa Nkolota (2001) as one part of the musical duo Hunger Boyz with childhood friend Kamazu.
His interests also included acting. He starred in the popular Chico Twala comedy film “Moruti Wa Tsotsi”, which directly translates “Thieving Pastor”, a film about a sketchy and fake priest. The film recently received its own spin-off series on DSTV’s Mzansi Magic.
Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa said in a statement, “South Africa’s television and film industry has been dealt a blow by the death of actor and musician Senyaka Kekana. ” He went on to say “local communities have lost the contributions of an artist who was committed to telling authentic South African stories.”
Social media networks have been flooded with tributes and messages of condolences from politicians, fans and members of the entertainment industry, with the Minister of Sports Fikile Mbalula tweeting “We pass our heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and loved ones. We will miss u arts & culture is poorer without u. Big loss #RIPSenyaka”
Last year, Senyaka released his comeback album, a 12-track CD titled I Am Back.
The cause of his death is yet to be revealed.