The Cameroonian icon of African music died on March 24, 2020, swept away by coronavirus disease. First tributes on social networks.
Our “Papy Groove” is gone ! The African music world is starting to pay a heavy price for the Covid-19. After the musical columnist Jean-Michel Denis (the first journalist to be swept away by the disease) and the “king of the soukouss” Aurlus Mabéle, it is the turn of the great saxophonist Manu Dibango to succumb to it. This African figure of jazz died in Paris on March 24, 2020. Since the announcement of his disappearance, tributes have multiplied on the Web.
– Africa Radio (@africaradioOFF) March 24, 2020
“We will miss your kindness, your joy and good humor”, can we read on the account of “African radio” Africa Radio where Manu Dibango hosted every Sunday, alongside Robert Brazza, “La Discothèque de Manu” (the media also pays tribute to him throughout this day March 24). These few words summarize well the content of the messages that surge on social networks, emanating from his peers, anonymous or even personalities.
On Twitter, the Beninese Angelique Kidjo or the Senegalese Youssou N'Dour salute the memory of their elder. “A giant” African music, always present with her since its beginnings, and “a beautiful human being”, emphasizes the first. “You were a big brother, a pride for Cameroon and for all of Africa “, writes Youssou N'Dour.
OH NO NOT YOU MANU DIBANGO. I don't have the words to translate all my sadness. You were a big brother, a pride for Cameroon and for all of Africa. A huge loss! RIP the King of Makossa and Genius of the Saxo. YN pic.twitter.com/XRJAeVLdiF
– YOUSSOU NDOUR (@YoussouNdourSN) March 24, 2020
Malian singer Oumou Sangaré and the leader of the Ivorian group Magic System, A'salfo, are also among the musicians who joined the profession's tribute concert.“The Father is gone”, Wrote the latter.
In Cameroon and within the Cameroonian diaspora, the emotion is palpable in the messages. Sadness is still there, but like the disappeared, the texts are full of warmth, “Dirty day. Another one”, writes his compatriot, the economist Célestin Monga, who thanks him for “all these lives (that Manu Dibango has) saved, rectified and rewritten with elegance and discretion – starting with mine “.
Dirty day. One more.
Thank you, Grand Manu, for all those lives that you have saved, rectified and rewritten with elegance and discretion – starting with mine. https://t.co/xeMB5Hw7BF #ManuDibango pic.twitter.com/6ccoaNc61P
– Célestin Monga (@CelestinMonga) March 24, 2020
Another compatriot from the father of Soul Makossa, the founder from AppsTech Rebecca Enonchong, she remembers with a catchy air that the saxophonist had created in 1979 for an advertisement and which had punctuated their daily life in Cameroon. “You will remain forever in our hearts and your music in our souls “, she concludes.
Also in his homeland, the Prime Minister's Twitter account published photos of the minute of silence observed in memory of the artist “carried away by the Covid-19 in the early hours of the morning in France”.
– Cameroon PM Cameroon (@ CameroonPm237) March 24, 2020
Senegalese President Macky Sall, his counterpart Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta and the Gabonese head of state Ali Bongo Ondimba are some of the African officials who reacted to the disappearance of the musician.“Manu Dibango was a genius saxophonist who bequeathed, to Africa and the world, an immense work, but also an exceptional being, full of joviality and humanity. Rest in peace” Papa Manu “. Your music will remain eternal” , tweeted Ali Bongo.
This day, an immense artist left.
Manu Dibango was a genius saxophonist who bequeathed, to Africa and to the world, an immense work, but also an exceptional being, full of joviality and humanity.
Rest in peace “Papa Manu”. Your music will remain eternal. pic.twitter.com/a1rpNqJANh
– Ali Bongo Ondimba (@PresidentABO) March 24, 2020
“Always on the lookout behind his dark glasses, Manu Dibango had invented, played and lived the rhythms of the world (…) His music brought continents, Africa, Europe (and) America together. Unesco Loses Great Artist for Peace, Friend and Advocate “, note Audrey Azoulay, the Director-General of Unesco.
The World Bank's Vice-President for Infrastructure, the Senegalese Maktar Diop, highlights the legacy of an artist who “inspired several generations of musicians around the world”.
Deeply saddened by the loss of Afro-jazz icon Manu Dibango, whose incredible work inspired many generations of musicians across the world. His legacy will live on forever. #RIPManuDibango # COVID19 https://t.co/QgaX59PP2Q
– Makhtar Diop (@Diop_WB) March 24, 2020
Words illustrated by Yves Bigot, director of French-language television TV5 Monde and ex-producer of Manu Dibango. It was “the first African musician in Europe – in Paris and Brussels -, the first African star in the United States with a colossal impact of Soul Makossa on the culture of the moment, and subsequently plundered by Michaël Jackson in “Wanna Be Startin 'Somethin” on the Thriller album, the best-selling album in the history of the industry. “
“Manu Dibango was a musical giant, both of the 20th and of the 21st century”. @YvesBigot, director of @ TV5MONDE and ex-producer of the saxophonist pays tribute to Manu Dibango, who died at the age of 86. pic.twitter.com/TfQgPxSEb7
– TV5MONDE (@ TV5MONDE) March 24, 2020
The artist's funeral “will take place in strict family intimacy” and “a tribute will be paid to him as soon as possible”, specified the text announcing the disappearance of Manu Dibango.