Former Stimela lead vocalist Ray Phiri was involved in a car accident that led to the death of a woman passenger on Tuesday night, Mpumalanga police said on Wednesday.
Inspector Busaphi Sibanyoni said Phiri was returning from Ebutshini cultural village in Ekulindeni to Barberton when the accident occurred.
He was travelling with four passengers including an eight-month-old baby. One of the passengers is still in hospital in a serious but stable condition. The baby and the other passenger were not hurt.
Phiri was travelling on a gravel road when he apparently lost control of the car and it overturned, Sibanyoni said.
The name of the dead woman was not immediately released.
However, a News24 report identified her as Phiri’s wife, Daphney, who died instantly when the car overturned.
It also identified the two other musicians in the car as guitarists Lindelani Mathonsi and Larry Myathaza and the baby as Phiri’s eight-month-old daughter, Linhle.
Police are still compiling an accident report, but say preliminary evidence indicates the car overturned at high speed, the report continued, and also recalled how Phiri’s international career with 1980s mega-group Stimela also ended after a bad car accident left the songmaster hospitalised for months.