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African Football Legends Mourn Cameroon’s Music Icon, Manu Dibango

By Basil K Mbuye

African football legends have paid their last homage to 86-year-old Cameroonian saxophonist, Emmanuel N’Djoké Dibango aka Manu Dibango, who died in Paris, France after allegedly suffering from Coronavirus.

The music icon, Manu Dibango, who died on March 24, was a Cameroonian musician and songwriter who played saxophone and vibraphone. He became unique by developing a musical style of fusing jazz, funk, and traditional Cameroonian music.

African stars like Samuel Eto’o, Didier Drogba, Alex Song and Stephane Mbia, amongst others, have paid their tributes to the owner of the hit track titled Soul Makossa released in 1972.

“A strong, honest, courageous and available man has left. You’re-off to rest dad, your journey of admiration and respect. You’re gone, but you’ll remain in us your loved ones, children and grandchildren. Thank you for the love you have shown. Your son Samuel Eto’o will always love you…,” Eto’o wrote on social media.

Former Ivory Coast Skipper, Didier Drogba, also applauded the music icon for his time on earth and the impact he created in his musical career.

“Thanks for all Manu Dibango, thank you for placing African music in everyone all these years, from Michael Jackson, passing by Rihanna. Rest in peace Papa Manu. My condolences to all his family in Cameroon to Africa and to the musical world,” Drogba tweeted.

On his part, Alexandre Song lauded the music icon, while appealing to Cameroonians to adhere to safety measures to combat the Coronavirus.

Hear him: “Our dad, Manu Dibango, is gone. We are and will be forever proud that you have worn the colours of our country so high and around the world. You have been able to leave your mark on several generations. We will forever be grateful to you. Thank you for your music, your charisma and that big smile that made you special.

“My Cameroonian brothers, so that his departure is not in vain, please follow all the safety instructions in order to overcome this pandemic. The Coronavirus is not a utopia. Rest in peace, great man,” Song wrote on Instagram.

Born on December 12, 1933 in Douala, Manu Dibango started his music career with the seminal Congolese rumba group, African Jazz.  He later on collaborated with many other musicians, including Fania All Stars, Fela Kuti, Herbie Hancock, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo, amongst others. His 1972 single, “Soul Makossa,” was a hit song that brought the icon to the limelight.

In 2009, he filed a lawsuit claiming that Rihanna’s and Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop the Music” and “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'” used the “Mama-say, mama-say, ma-ma-ko-ssa” hook without his permission.


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