South Africa's 'Drama Queen' singer is killed in car crash

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Lebo Mathosa, the South African singer famous for her traditional " Kwaito" style of hip-hop, was killed yesterday in a car crash while travelling through the outskirts of Johannesburg.

The 29-year-old star had been in the music business for more than 10 years. She learnt to sing in a gospel choir before debuting in 1994 with the award-winning group Boom Shaka, before going solo in 2000. She had performed for Nelson Mandela's 85th birthday and before the Queen in Trafalgar Square.

Following the release of her chart-topping album Drama Queen in 2004, Mathosa had been nominated for a Mobo award, and was becoming renowned for her outrageous stage-shows and soap opera appearances.

"Unfortunately, Lebo was killed in a car accident in the early hours of this morning," her manager Linzy Cowley said. "We send our condolences to her family and friends.

Mathosa's driver apparently lost control of their vehicle on a highway in Germiston, east of Johannesburg. According to police sources, the car overturned and hit a tree. Her driver was treated for minor injuries.

South African Culture Minister Pallo Jordan was one of the country's many prominent figures who paid tribute to Mathosa, who was celebrated as a voice of post-apartheid South Africa. "We will always remember her as a highly gifted young African 'Drama Queen' who used her life, talent and career to promote pride, respect and appreciation for African music, dance, fashion, heritage, art and culture," he said.

A memorial service is expected to place on Thursday and a funeral on Saturday, a family member said.

The African National Congress Youth League and Communist Party said Mathosa had helped shape South Africa's music industry.

Zizi Kodwa, spokesman the ANC Youth League said: "Through her music, she will be remembered as an icon, inspirator, artist, entertainer and as part of a generation that revolutionised our music industry."