Death is inevitably a part of this journey we call life. We are well aware of it, yet we are still surprised by its occurrence. It is especially difficult when it happens to those we think it shouldn’t happen to – the very young or uniquely bright souls. Unfortunately, when it does, what we can do is honor the lives of those gone too soon. In this case, we are showcasing 8 African rising music stars who died under the age of 30.
All of these artists showed great promise. A sad reminder that there are many dreams that don’t get a chance to come to full fruition.
Terrence Nii Okang Mensah Adjetey (Terry Bonchaka) – Ghana
Terrence Nii Okang Mensah Adjetey popularly known as Terry Bonchaka was a Ghanaian hiplife artist born in 1982. He was the grandson of then Parliament speaker Peter Ala Adjetey. He burst onto the music scene as a teenager and rose to fame between 2001 and 2003 with hit songs including “Pulele”, “Ghana Ladies”, and “AM Aware”. Bonchaka died in an accident in the early hours of October 30, 2003, while returning from a performance at the University of Ghana. He was only 21.
Cynthia Akudo Jonah (Cynthomania) – Nigeria
Also dubbed Cynthomania, was popularly known for her songs “Imo State Ebeano,” “Love Nwantinti” featuring afro-pop artist Timaya, and “Ukwu Ajebutter.” She died on June 18, 2014, after battling an undisclosed illness.
Carlton Williams Bongo Juma (K- Rupt) – Kenya
Carlton Williams Bongo Juma, also known as K-Rupt was born in Nairobi, Kenya on November 15, 1979. Some of his popular tunes include “Changamshwa,” “Tukawake,” “Chacha,” and “Bamba.” Juma died on November 29, 2003. He was shot to death while assailants attempted to hi-jack the vehicle he was riding in.
Priscilla Opuku-Kwarteng (Ebony Reigns) – Ghana
Also going by the moniker Ebony Reigns was born as Priscilla Opuku-Kwarteng on February 16, 1997. She was raised in Dansoman, Accra. Self-dubbed as the “90’s bad girl” Opuku-Kwarteng was a dance-hall/afro-beats vocalist. Some of her popular hits include “Kupe,” “Dancefloor”, and “Sponsor.” Opuku-Kwarteng won several awards in her short but prosperous career. Though criticized for her raunchy lyrics and daring wardrobe, she was fearlessly outspoken about sexuality and women’s rights. She died on February 9, 2018, from a head-on impact caused from a collision with a charter bus. She would have turned 21-years-old on February 16th.
Kefee Obareki Don Momoh (Kefee) – Nigeria
Named Kefee Obareki Don Momoh, she was born on February 5, 1980, in Delta, Nigeria. As a teenager, her love for music drew her to joining her church choir. Later, she began to write lyrics and formulate songs. In 2000 she released a gospel album called “Trip.” In 2003, she was signed to Alec Entertainment and made her debut as a gospel artist. In 2009, Momoh won the International Ambassador for Peace Award. She died on June 4, 2013, from lung failure in Los Angeles, California.
Issah Mmari Wangui (E-Sir) – Kenya
E-Sir was named Issah Mmari Wangui and was born on May 20, 1981, in Nairobi, Kenya. He was a rapper by trade. He emerged onto the Kenyan music scene with his track “Jo” which was performed in a similar fashion as American rapper Black Rob’s “Whoa.” He debuted his album “Nimefika” in 2003 and was fortunate to release songs that charted. He also took away four Kisima Awards in 2003. Wangui died on March 16, 2003, from a vehicle accident. He is said to still be revered in Kenya this day.
Sharon Wangwe (Lady S) – Kenya
Lady S, born Sharon Wangwe was a musician, singer, and rapper from Kenya. She started her entertainment career in 1998 as a homage to her father, who died when she was 17-years-old. She signed to Cali records in 2002 subsequently forming the hit “Kilio.” Wangwe is also known for the songs “Mighty King” and “Ukimwona.” She became sick in 2005 from a kidney ailment, however, was able to bounce back. Unfortunately, she died on September 3, 2007, from a car collision.
Oladapo Olaitan Olaonipekun (DaGrin) – Nigeria
Oladapo Olaitan Olaonipekun also known as DaGrin, was a Nigerian rapper born on October 25, 1987. He hailed from Ogun. He was best known for the singles “Pon Pon Pon” and “Kondo.” Olaonipekun had an affinity for rapping in Pidgin English, Yoruba, and English. The film Ghetto Dreamz was an adaptation of his life and was released in April 2011. Olaonipekun died on April 22, 2010, from a car accident.