Late last night it was reported that popular Tanzanian actor Steven Kanumba had died, cut off in the prime of his life at 28.

There are conflicting reports about how he died, some say he was in a fatal auto crash on his way back home from a night out while the story generating the most buzz claims he died from a fall, as a result of being pushed girlfriend Elizabeth ‘Lulu’ Michaels. The reports claim Steven and Lulu were fighting over incoming calls on her phone while she was at his home. He demanded to see the calls, but she didn’t show them to him. While taking the phone by force, she pushed him and he fell, hitting his head hard. The fall killed him.

The reports also go on to say Lulu is currently being held in custody.

His death has thrown Tanzania into mourning with condolence messages pouring in from politicians and colleagues alike, with fans trooping to his home in Dar es Salaam to pay their respects.

Steven starred in a couple of Nollywood movies with Ramsey Nuoah, Mercy Johnson, Nkiru Silvanus and Femi Ogedegbe. Ramsey Nuoah who co-starred with him in 2011’s Devil Kingdom has sent his family a condolence message.

A brief bio of Steven Kanumba

Steven Charles Kanumba was born at Ngokolo in Shinyanga on January 8, 1984, he was the only son of Charles Kusekwa Meshack Kanumba and Flora Mtegua. He was enrolled at Bugoyi Primary School after which he joined Mwadui Secondary School. After completing Form Two at Mwadui, he moved to Dar es Salaam Christian Seminary where he completed his Form Four Education.

Kanumba pursued further education at JKT Jitegemee Secondary School in the city and by 2002 he was already a member of the famous Kaole Artiste Group, participating in a number of television shows on ITV Station. Before joining Kaole Steven had already displayed talent singing church songs and acting in school productions.

While at Kaole, he participated in various shows with TBC1 included ‘Jahazi’, ‘Dira’, ‘Zizimo’, ‘Tufani’, ‘Sayari’, ‘Taswira’, ‘Baragumu’ na ‘Gharika’ which gave him a lot of fame. After leaving the group in 2006, he started his film acting career with a company called Game 1st Quality.

Some of the films he featured in are ‘She is My Sister’, ‘Dar to Lagos’, ‘Cross My Sin’, ‘The Director’, ‘Hero of the Church’. He also worked with leading Nollywood artistes including Mercy Johnson, Nkiru Silvanus, Femi Ogedegbe and Ramsey Nuoah.

Among awards won by artiste Kanumba are IJUMAA Sexiest male bachelor of the year-2006, Best Actor of the Year (Baab Kubwa Magazine)-2006 The Best Actor in Tanzania (Hollywood John Wayne International Awards)-2007, Honorary Award (Tanzania Film Vinara Awards)-2008, Best Actor-2007-2008 ya (SHIVIWATA) na Uigizaji Bora na Mtayarishaji Bora-Filamu Central-2010.

So sad. I had never heard of Steven before last night but his death really touched me, It always shakes me to my core when a young person’s life is cut short, and Steven’s is no exception. But if the story about his girlfriend pushing him is true, I’m sure she did not do it with the intention to cause him harm. It sounds like she shoved him, he fell and that fall cost him his life. At a time like this it’s therapeutic for those grieving to want to lay blame at someone’s door…but can Steven’s girlfriend really be held responsible?