By Eric Tataw – Washington DC, USA, Sunday, March 29, 2020.
Just like in the days when he coalesced jazz, funk, and traditional Cameroonian music that usually cause anxieties in many as they supped wines and spirits and gaze admiringly at some pulchritudinous brunettes, his death is also another guide, this time not for socials but survival lessons.
Emmanuel N’Djoké fondly called Manu Dibango is a Cameroonian musician, and songwriter who died on Tuesday and was buried in Paris, France, Friday, March 27, 2020.
His family received a plethora of condolence messages, some private and others open. Just as his family confirmed, the 86-year-old died in Paris, France on Tuesday, March 24, 2020, of COVID-19.
To the US Ambassador to Cameroon, Manu’s death gave an opportunity to increase public awareness of the dangers and indiscriminate and generous infectious nature of the virus.
Ambassador Peter Henry Barlerin offered condolences on behalf of his embassy and described Manu Dibango as a world hero whose music brought people together. He explained that everyone can catch the virus, be it Asian, African, European.
“Manu Dibango is a cultural icon who belonged to the world. He died today of COVID 19. His music brought the world closer together. Let’s honor his memory by defeating this virus, together,” he said.
The diplomat implored all not to stigmatize anyone during “this time or ever” but urged all to follow the guidelines in place by Cameroon’s Public Health Ministry, including washing of hands, social distancing and staying at home.
“Stay home, wash your hands, avoid groups, and don’t touch your face,” the Ambassador said in a video on the embassy’s Facebook page, the same day Manu Dibango died.
The Ambassador hopes that the more Cameroonians implement expert instructions, the spread of COVID-19 will be contained, adding that people will return to normal life like the days they enjoyed Manu Dibango’s genre.
Cameroon so far has 139 confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to the Health Minister, Dr. Manaouda Malachie, Sunday, March 29, 2020.
Popular for especially a 1972 Soul Makossa, Manu featured with many other artists of his ilk, notably Nigeria’s Afrobeat giant Fela Kuti and US pianist Herbie Hancock.
Top personalities sent condolences and tributes including Presidents Paul Biya (Cameroon) and Ali Bongo (Gabon). Top African musicians Angelique Kidjo and Youssou Ndour also sent tributes.