Award-winning Kenyan gospel musician Papa Dennis is dead.
Papa Dennis’s body was found on the roadside in Pangani, Nairobi, on Friday night.
Dennis’s death was confirmed to K24 Digital a few minutes past 12 mid-night by veteran gospel artiste, Daddy Owen, who was at the scene.
“He was found dead on the roadside near the Jubilee Party headquarters,” Daddy Owen told K24 Digital.
It remains unclear whether Papa Dennis was knocked down by a vehicle, or whether he committed suicide by jumping from a tall building.
News of the talented singer’s death was also posted on Instagram by influencer and entertainer Terence Creative.
“Rest in peace, Papa Dennis. May God protect us, artists. Something must be addressed,” wrote Terence on his social media page late Friday, attaching a picture of Papa Dennis.
Born and raised in Kakamega
Papa Dennis, whose real name is Dennis Mwangi, was born and raised in Matunda, Kakamega County. He has a twin brother whose name is Simon Mwangi.
In an October 2018 interview with The Sunday Nation, Papa Dennis said his mother died in 2006, leaving him and his four other siblings unable to fend for themselves.
“I started from humble beginnings, singing in church as a member of the praise and worship team. I wanted to pursue music from an early age but my dreams were hindered by the death of my mother, who was taking care of me and my twin brother. After her death, in 2006, our lives became miserable and I was forced to do odd jobs just to make a living while also trying to save for my music,” said Papa Dennis in an interview published in the Kenyan newspaper on October 28, 2018.
After his mother’s demise, Papa Dennis relocated to Kisumu where he started a second-hand clothes business.
“I relocated from Matunda in Kakamega, where I was born, to Kisumu and ventured into the clothes business; selling ladies’ undergarments ranging from underwear, bikers among others. However, after the 2007 post-election violence, I returned home. I still wanted to pursue music but I couldn’t raise much money to kick-start my career. I kept taking part in various talent competitions until I was spotted by Sadat Muhindi of Maliza Umaskini Foundation, who took me in and, as they say, the rest is history,” said Papa Dennis.
The award-winning artiste was known for exhibiting flamboyance, on several occasions sporting expensive designer clothes, watches and shoes.
Papa Dennis, however, dismissed claims that he was a braggart.
“I don’t boast or brag, I just show appreciation to what God has blessed me with and, at the end of the day, all these riches are only earthly and not heavenly,” he told The Sunday Nation.
Papa Dennis unapologetically spent millions of shillings on producing music videos. In the interview with The Sunday Nation, the artiste said the monies used on the audio-visuals were not from his pocket, but his manager’s, Sadat Muhindi.
“I don’t decide what to spend on shooting a video, my manager Sadat and his team do. Besides, he is one person who believes in quality and will never settle for anything less” he said.
In 2019, Papa Dennis told Pulse Magazine that he had Ksh50 million in his three bank accounts. His source of wealth, however, remained unclear up to the time of his unfortunate demise.
“Why should money be such a big talk? I mean, money is just but a means to a cause. I don’t think Ksh50 million is cash we should be discussing as this could even be loose change to a 19-year-old footballer playing in the English Premier League. The cash I have is just like that of Davido and the rest of the musicians. No big deal,” Papa Dennis said in early 2019, adding that he was humble.
The singer who — at the time — was riding high with his then-new song Mayaya Remix featuring Nigeria’s Flavour, said it didn’t cost him much to have the celebrated West African crooner agree on working on a collabo with him.
“I work under a good and reputable management and the deal was well-negotiated between the two teams before we flew to South Africa where most of the video costs were incurred. We hired a chopper and other facilities that cost us some good amount,” he said without disclosing how much.
Challenges in speaking English
Due to his limited educational background, Papa Dennis said one of the biggest challenges he faced, was communicating in English.
“Speaking fluent English has been my major hindrance while communicating. After the death of my mother I never got a chance to complete school. But I sacrificed, doing odd jobs, to pay for my twin brother’s (Simon Mwangi) education until he was done with his secondary studies,” said Papa Dennis, vowing — at the time — to further his education.
“I started private classes at home, in Lavington (Nairobi), this year (2018) and all is going on well,” he said.
Papa Dennis attended Mtoni Primary School in Kakamega, but did not manage to proceed to high school due to lack of school fees.
Awards and songs
The Late artiste, in his lifetime, won several awards, including a trophy in the 2015 Mwafaka Awards, 2016 and 2017 Pulse Music Video Awards, the 2018 African Muzik Magazine Awards (AFRIMMA) and the 2019 Dear Awards.
Papa Dennis had several songs in his repertoire, including Tornado which he featured Tanzanian legendary singer Ray C. Other songs are: Nashukuru, Mayaya, Foundation (featuring Daddy Owen), Wabebe, among others.
Source :K24 TV