In the dazzling tapestry of humanity, there are individuals whose brilliance burns so intensely that their light becomes immortalized, even if their time on this Earth is tragically brief.
Such is the story of 24-year-old Angie Oeh (real name Angelique Eurika Greeff,) the South African mumble rapper who burst onto the scene in 2021, seemingly from nowhere, a radiant star who blazed so brightly, only to be extinguished far too soon.
Oeh recorded her first song, ‘Dis Jou Wyfie’ on her Samsung phone in 2021, it ended up going viral on TikTok and was eventually featured in the Netflix series, Ludik. Prior to this, she had been rapping in English, with not much success. Encouraged by her girlfriend, she switched to Afrikaans and the rest, as the saying goes, is history.
An openly gay woman, her lyrics were defiant and promoted women’s rights and railed against racial discrimination and misogyny.
“I am creating music that aggravates [and] provokes conversation. It is an in-your-face zapp to sexism, homophobia, gender-based violence and inequality. This album is an ode to women, t*tties and most of all, to dance. Let’s show them how we revolt in Afrikaans.”Angie Oeh commenting on her ‘Sex in Afrikaans’ EP
Oeh was determined to make it as a rapper and deliberately got a tattoo on her face, thereby scuppering her chances of getting a conventional job.
In December 2021, Oeh developed a 15 cm sarcoma on her back which was surgically removed in March 2022. She shared an instagram post of the surgical procedure (warning not for the faint hearted.)
After recovering from the extensive surgery, Oeh’s career took off. Wynand Myburgh of the Afrikaans rock band, fokofpolisiekar started managing her in 2022. She collaborated with a who’s who of South African artists, including Biggy, Loufi, Jack Parow and Peach van Pletzen. Oeh released 12 songs with one particular stand out being ‘Sex In Afrikaans’ off an EP of the same name which caused quite a sensation when it was released.
In a poignant moment during an interview with van Pletzen, when asked whether she thought that she would get old, Oeh replied that she didn’t think that she would get very old. She said that she had an intuitive feeling that she was not going to live for very long, just like she knew that ‘Dis You Wyfie’ would open doors for her.
Watch the interview below (parts of it are in Afrikaans.)
In a brief 18 months Oeh “played her first show ever and since then she saw the sea for the first time, flew for the first time, recorded in a studio for the first time, made lots of music, made music videos, played lots of shows for thousands of people, interviewed and fought cancer twice,” according to van Pletzen.
And then, as abruptly as her meteoric ascent, tragedy struck—a poignant reminder of life’s fragility. On 14 August, Oeh took to social media to inform her fans that she had been diagnosed with lung cancer.
She underwent emergency surgery the next day and received a course of chemotherapy. But all too no avail, with her oxygen levels falling, she was admitted to ICU where she went into organ failure and passed away on 19 August.
Oeh’s untimely departure sent shockwaves through the South African music scene. People who had worked with her and her fans felt an overwhelming sense of loss. There was a real sense that she had the talent and charisma to have a global impact.
Oeh’s story serves as a poignant reminder that life’s brevity need not diminish its significance.
For as long as her legacy lives on it will be a reminder of the fragile beauty of a fleeting moment.
“Life is brutal but it’s also beautiful. Like you Angie. You were a flicker, a beam for the misfits and we saw you. You made sure of that. You took the world by storm and you made your mark.”Peach van Pletzen
Photo credit @angie_oeh / Instagram