The good die young is a phrase that is typically used to comfort the loved ones of someone who has passed away. In the case of Vuyo Mokoena, however, there is no better way to describe his death as the South African gospel music industry still has a long way to go to close the vacuum left by the loss of such a talent.
In his own very unique way, Mokoena epitomized how the youth can bring a much-needed change in society. He himself did so by using his talent to preach the gospel of self-love, discipline, and responsibility. Here is a detailed look at his life, music, how he died, as well as a few of his achievements.
Vuyo Mokoena Biography
While the exact day of his birth is not known, Vuyo Mokoena was welcomed into the world in the year 1986 in Duduza, Ekurhuleni. As his birth date, details about his early life and upbringing are few and far between because aside from the fact that he was raised mostly by his grandmother, not much else is known about the gospel singer as other details can only be found from the time after which he broke into the industry.
Ma Mokoena, Vuyo’s grandmother, is described as someone who was very strict. She is further credited with being the main reason why the young boy grew up to have a strong sense of purpose.
Vuyo Mokoena’s interest in gospel music was ignited after he joined the Student Christian Movement. He first made strides towards having a successful music career when he joined the amateur Afro-Pop group Melodi in Springs on the East Rand. In the 1990s, he became a member of the popular group Pure Magic, who has been described as pioneering due to the fact that they were able to fuse gospel music with infectious and danceable rhythms. He was further known to have closely worked with gospel diva Rebecca Malope, who was one of the judges at the talent show he was discovered in. The pair have collaborated on a number of tracks and has won numerous awards together.
In the early 2000s, Mokoena opted to embark on a solo career, prompting him to established Big Fish Music. Through his music, he preached the gospel as he went on to become the frontman for the well known Joyous Celebration group where his uplifting vocal range, formidable physical presence, and energetic power captivated audiences in and outside of South Africa. Joyous Celebration has since gone ahead to play a huge part in shaping the perception of gospel music as they are widely considered as the custodians of the genre in the country.
Wife & Family of the South African Gospel Singer
Vuyo Mokoena was married to Tebogo Mokoena. The pair are said to have dated for about two years before deciding to exchange marital vows. While Vuyo is remembered for the passion and love he had for the children he helped through the Vuyo Mokoena Foundation, he and his wife did not get to have any of their own before his untimely demise.
How Did He Die?
Vuyo Mokoena passed away on the 23rd of May 2008 at the age of 39. In a statement released by his record company, it was reported that the actual time of his death was 5:30 am. The gospel singer was at the time admitted to the hospital after it was discovered that he had developed a brain tumor.
Prior to being admitted, Mokoena reported having suffered from long episodes of blinding headaches that led doctors to carry out tests that discovered the existence of a tumor. A few reports have further suggested that doctors discovered he also had leukemia during those tests.
Vuyo Mokoena Songs And Albums
Vuyo Mokoena made dozens of songs during his lifetime. While most of his songs were released prior to his death, a good number of them have been made available to the public posthumously. The gospel singer’s wife recalled in a recent interview that a few years after her husband passed away, the international Ghanaian-born gospel musician, Dr. Sonnie Badu, got in touch with her before releasing a musical tribute to her late husband. Badu’s tribute to Vuyo was in the song, “We Bless Your Name”.
Some of Mokoena’s most notable albums include Iculo Elisha (2002), Sish’udumo (2003), and Avulek’ Amazulu (2007). All of his songs can be streamed and downloaded from any of the many streaming platforms available.