Beyond the Grave: A Look at Lebo Mathosa’s Immortal Influence on South African Culture

Beyond the Grave: A Look at Lebo Mathosa’s Immortal Influence on South African Culture

Lebo Mathosa would have been turning 44 years old on Saturday, 17 July. The artist’s untimely passing left a void in many who loved and looked up to her. Her influence and presence have remained in Mzansi, with many paving their own paths after hers. Briefly News takes a look at just how significant Lebo Mathosa has been in the South African entertainment industry.

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Before the fame: The early life of Lebo Mathosa

Lebo Mathosa was born in Daveyton, a small town just outside Benoni. Her family later moved to Johannesburg. Lebo began by singing at the tender age of seven years old in her local church choir. After the move to Johannesburg, she discovered bubblegum music that was popularised by people like Brenda Fassie.

Lebo Mathosa, influence, South Africa
Lebo Mathosa started singing at a very young age. Image: Flickr
Source: Depositphotos

Early career - the rise of Boom Shaka

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When Lebo was 14 years old, she was discovered by a Johannesburg DJ, and soon after, she joined the group Boom Shaka.

Boom Shaka became an instant success and one of the most biggest Kwaito groups in South Africa. Boom Shaka consisted of Junior Sokhela, Lebo Mathosa, Theo Nhlengethwa and Thembi Seete. Their first album was produced in 1994 and was an instant hit.

Boom Shaka was able to break into the international market and achieved success outside of South Africa. As the first kwaito group, Boom Shaka contributed significantly to the early trends within this musical style.

Boom Shaka popularised fun and unique dances to their music. This group created dance moves such as “Chop di grass,” a dance which was designed to honour the men who cut grass while highways are being constructed.

Controversy was not far from the group especially caused by Lebo Mathosa’s dance routines and revealing outfits. Many were shocked that a teenager could be so daring.

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Lebo Mathosa branches out as solo artist

Lebo Mathosa decided to pursue a solo career in 1999. Her debut solo album Dream went gold within a month of its launch in 2000.

At the 2000 South African Music Awards, Mathosa won three South African Music Awards; Best Dance Album for Dream, Best Dance Single for her debut single Ntozabantu from the same album, and Best Female Vocalist.

Lebo Mathosa, South African, culture
Lebo Mathosa enjoyed enormous success after branching out as a solo artist. Image: Flickr
Source: Depositphotos

Her next album, Drama Queen, was equally successful even though she had ventured into different genres.

In 2006, Mathosa was nominated for a British MOBO award (Best African Act category).

Mathosa also tried her hand acting, television shows which included Backstage, Generations and Muvhango.

Lebo Mathosa for the culture

The singer was well known for her dyed blonde hair, her live shows and outrageous stage outfits. Mathosa was also openly bisexual. The starlet was frequently compared to her childhood hero Brenda Fassie.

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In terms of style, Lebo was undefeated. She won the Style Best Dressed Woman of the Year Award in 2001, and was nominated by FHM magazine as one of Africa's sexiest women in the country.

The end of an era - The death of Lebo Mathosa

Lebo Mathosa died in a car crash, aged 29, after her driver lost control of her vehicle in Johannesburg.

According to reports, Mathosa's driver lost control of the Toyota Prado in which they were travelling on the N3 Highway on the East Rand. However, the cause of death remains unknown.

Lebo Mathosa, Thembi Seete, funeral
Thembi Seete attended the funeral of the late Lebo Mathosa. Image: Flickr
Source: Depositphotos

Today, Mathosa’s legacy is still very much alive. She is remembered by industry peers, friends and family. Fellow artist Thandiswa Mazwai recently took to social media to show love to the icon ahead of her post-humous birthday.

Meanwhile former Boom Shaka member Thembi Seete has also not been doing too badly for herself.

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Thembi Seete celebrates 25 years of flying solo in entertainment industry

Briefly News reported that Thembi Seete took to social media to celebrate that she's been flying solo in the entertainment industry for 25 years. The stunner shot to fame during her Boom Shaka days in the '90s.

The Gomora actress took to social media to reflect on her career since she was given a chance to do her thing alone in the industry without the help of her former Boom Shaka bandmates.

Thembi took to Instagram on Thursday, 17 June to celebrate being in the industry for over two decades as a solo artist. The star's solo career began when she bagged a role in Yizo Yizo. Since then, she has never looked back.

"25 Years ago I embarked on a new journey. A journey that brought me to where I am today and where I am going still. I remember @zwabheka and @bomb_productions giving a little old me a chance to shine again with a role on Yizo and later releasing my first solo album Lollipop."

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Source: Briefly News

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