Minister Nathi Mthethwa pays Tribute to Kwaito artist and Television Actor/Producer, Senyaka Kekana

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25 Mar 2015

I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of the popular multi-talented kwaito music artist, comedian, television and movie producer ‘Senyaka’ Kekana. I have been informed that he died following a short illness.

He was 58 years old.

“Senyaka,” as he was fondly called by friends and fans, was a prominent and leading member of township music that later came to be known as kwaaito.

In fact, in the late 1980s he was widely acknowledged and recognized as one of the most provocative artists due to his controversial lyrical content and abrasive style of socio-cultural commentary through music and comedy.

Essentially, Senyaka was an iconic character and legendary personality who was grounded in and lived in the township where he was a hugely popular and larger-than-life figure.

In fact, he gave a musical expression to the ghetto or township experience and played a pioneering role in using music, comedy, television and low budget movies to enhance the identity and self-understanding of township folks.

He was a peer and contemporary of a generation of indigenous artist including Brenda Fassie and Sello Chicco Twala, among others, who confronted the brutality and deprivation of apartheid.

However, this did not deter him from being hard working, disciplined and focused artist who overcame the hurdles presented by the socio-economic system.

Significantly, Senyaka was a popular artist who enjoyed success in the 1980s and 1990s with his intriguing album and song titles like Chisa Mpama, Romeo Wa Nkolota, Fong Kong and Brenda Ke Mampara, among others.

This was taken to a higher level through his television and home-made movie productions of Moruti Wa Tsotsi and Satane Omaponapona, to name a few.

No doubt that he was also recognized and well-respected as a distinct actor, cultural visionary and pioneer who worked with the legendary producer, Chicco Twala, among others.

His death is a huge loss for the industry as he proved himself to be an example of a gifted and creative musical artist who exemplified the triumph of the human spirit.

Most importantly, Senyaka was blazing a new trail in the development, growth and production of locally made movies that target local communities.

We offer our condolences to his immediate family, his friends, the music making and acting fraternity, fans and followers in the country and beyond.

We believe that his legacy will live through his artistic work that is now part of the heritage of this country.  May his soul rest in peace.  

For further information call Spokesperson for the Minister of Arts & Culture, Sandile Memela: 082 800 3750