The death last Sunday of popular one-man guitarist Mighty Salim (Timothy Njuguna) at the Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi has brought down the curtain of one of the greatest stars of the ‘Mugithi’ song and dance genre.
Salim, who was a key member of the famed “Salim musical family” from Subukia in Nakuru County, succumbed to a long battle with a kidney illness.
His siblings, Sarafina Salim, Naomi Salim and Salim Young, broke the news of the death through social media posts. Since then, there has been an outpouring of grief from fans across the country, mourning the death of the talented musician.
In an emotional post on social media on Sunday night, Sarafina, who is also musician, said: “There are no goodbyes for us. Wherever you are. You will always be in my heart, rest in peace. Rest well my brother Njuguna,” she said.
The death was a tragic coincidence, coming just a day after he was involved in putting together a tribute gathering, marking the fifth anniversary of the death of his elder brother, Salim Junior (Paul Mwangi).
It was Salim Junior who introduced his younger brothers, Mighty and Young, to the popular “Mugithi” one-man guitar style that rocked the the airwaves on the many TV and FM radio stations, and enjoyed club play in the late 1990s.
Speaking to the Daily Nation Tuesday, fellow Mugithi one-man guitar wizard Mike Rua eulogised Mighty Salim for his selfless and sterling efforts in music.
“He often got in touch on musical matters like even last Saturday, during the marking of the fifth anniversary of his brother’s death,” Rua recalled.
He announced that he and other artistes would be holding meetings at the Blue Springs Hotel on Thika Road in Nairobi to raise funds for his funeral arrangements.
Gospel musician Purity Gitonga joined other artistes in sharing Mighty Salim’s songs on social media to mourn his death.
His most popular songs include “Koma Thayu”, “NIira Ndukadiga” and “Ihoya Riakwa”.
He made his debut in Mugithi circles in Nairobi in 1998 through the encouragement of elder brother Salim Junior, who was a member of the legendary Queen Jane’s QueenJa Les Les Band before going solo.
During an interview a few years ago, Mighty Salim recalled how he made a breakthrough by shining during a Mugithi one-man guitar contest in 1999.
This paved the way for to him to perform his first gigs at a club in Zimmerman Estate, on Nairobi’s north-western outskirts.
It was also during that interview that he disclosed he had been battling diabetes, which culminated into a kidney disease.
In an emotional post on social media a few years ago, Mighty Salim sent an appeal to his fans to help him raise funds for his treatment.
Talent runs in their family as their father, Joseph Salim, was a gospel artiste who went by the stage name Salim Senior.
He encouraged his children to also get involved and there was no turning back in the Subukia area, which accorded them support to nurture their talents, just like Gatanga in Murang’a County, considered the cradle of Kikuyu music stars.
Other leading musicians from Subukia include Sammy Muraya of “Kanyoni Kanja” fame, Phyllis Mbuthia, Syck Junior (Simon Kinyua) and Franco Wasubu.