Elder Senzo Mthethwa, a South African gospel reggae artist was popular in the 90’s and managed to capture audiences as far as east and central Africa. He was Lucky Dube’s contemporary until his sudden disappearance from the scene. Nobody knew what happened to him until everyone was convinced that he had passed on, even some media reported on his death, not bothering to investigate. He was more popular and appreciated outside of South Africa, and had seemed to have gained a strong following in Malawi where he even had plans to establish a recording studio, with his Malawian promoter, Tailos Bakili of Tai-B Promotions. The studio was scheduled to open in December 1998, in Blantyre, with the hope of promoting local Malawian artists. Under the new label, to be known as TAI-B Records, the artists would have been promoted both in Malawi and South Africa.
Tragedy struck twice! On one of his many return trips from Malawi, he contracted cerebral malaria infection a sever case of malaria that occurs when infections are complicated by serious organ failures or abnormalities in the patient’s blood or metabolism. The manifestations of severe malaria may include abnormal behavior, impairment of consciousness, seizures, coma, or other neurologic abnormalities. That affected his voice, his weapon, his tool, his life, and he could sing no more. He retreated and was never to be seen or heard of.
In 1999 he lost one of his back up vocalists Rosinah Tlou during a ‘musical performance around Africa’ and he was never able to forget this ordeal nor forgive himself for that loss. It was enough for him to bear and retreating to his native land was the option most fitting. The rumour of his death started and it spread like cancer. Despite the rumour fans continued to inquire about him. Youtube came along and fans started uploading his music, longing to hear news of him, from him. The comments section reveal the extent of his reach, how and how much he has touched lives across Africa and the constant question: “Is Senzo still alive?”
The rumours were so vile, in one answer to the question, is Senzo Still Alive? ” He is dead, he actually died before Lucky Dube. Some people believe that he was murdered by Lucky Dube due to his Single album which became so popular.Lucky dube was frightened by Senzo’s popularity which could minimize his popularity.” – Answers.com
No one really knew what happened to Senzo. It did not help that here at home we had forgotten about him, we were in the dark as much as they were and to be honest, we did not bother. Senzo Mthethwa continued to live his life in obscurity while he regained his health and continued to work on music.
In 2015 a YouTube video surfaced, with Senzo the man himself finally appeared in flesh laying to rest this ugly rumour, to the relief and delight of his many loyal supporters. The video, edited by Andries Matladisa for Nice Touch Production, was the effort of True-za Shaya who, went and searched for Senzo Mthethwa and saw it was best to let the elder speak for himself and assure all his fans that he is still alive and he himself explains what happened to him.
Mijikenda TV 1 anno fa He is alive men! And the way I mourned him! All the way from Kenya I bring you love. This man was big. Many guys adopted his name back home. He was the bomb! Marvin, am currently in South Africa. Where does Senzo live? I’d really love to visit him. This is a legend men!
Senzo Mthethwa has regained his health significantly and working on his album. He was recently spotted at Alpha Studios in December 2018 where they are putting the final touches to his album. A Senzo Mthethwa Facebook Page had been created mainly to dispel the rumour and also keep fans updated.