King of Makossa Love Petit Pays pays homage to Manu Dibango, Pape Diouf on new album 0

The King of Makossa Love Claude Adolphe Moundi aka Petit Pays has made public a new single to honour two African legends, Manu Dibango and Pape Diouf who passed away in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Les baobabs sont tombés” (The giants have fallen) is a six-minute single released over the weekend which celebrates the lives of these two African icons who distinguished themselves in music and in football.

Speaking to Cameroon Concord News Group, Petit Pays manager Eyong Eyong Ebot said Petit Pays used his trademark vocals to express regret at the tragic demise of the African heroes who departed this world in difficult circumstances.

Petit Pays Rabbi however observed that we all shall meet with these fallen icons one day at the “waiting room in heaven to meet Jehovah”.

Saxophonist Manu Dibango passed away on March 24, after succumbing to the COVID-19 in a hospital in France. Buried in typical COVID-19 fashion, family members have said honours will be paid to the fallen artiste at the appropriate time.

On the other hand, Senegalese-born Pape Diouf succumbed to the virus on March 31 in Dakar. He had made a name in the world of football, becoming the first black man to be president of a club in Europe-Olympique Marseille in France.

Just after the World War II, in 1948, a gangly youth arrived in Strasbourg, France, after a long trip from Douala in Cameroon. He had 3kg of coffee in his luggage and a burning desire to be a saxophonist like Lester Young (later he would don a Young-esque pork pie hat and blow smoke rings like the acclaimed master). His name was Manu Dibango. Sadly, this veteran musician died of complications from the Covid-19 virus. He was 86 years old.

Dibango was born in Douala, Cameroon, in 1933. He was from two different ethnic groups, Duala, his father’s group, and Yabassi, his mother’s.  He grew up playing religious music at the Protestant church he attended, learning quickly and mastering choral techniques and piano; later he would learn saxophone and vibraphone. He completed his high school education in France and began his life-long love affair with jazz, which he credited with opening up the musical world for him, so that his very eclectic taste included Western classical music, all kinds of African music, tango, salsa and hip-hop.

The world of African football was also plunged into mourning on March 31, following the news that Senegalese journalist-turned- football agent Pape Diouf, the first black chairman of a club in a major European league, had become the continent’s high-profile sporting loss to the coronavirus.

Various African football figures throughout history could reasonably be classed as pioneers, but Diouf, who was appointed Olympique de Marseille president in 2005, held a position of power, prominence and influence within the European game that no other black personality has matched before or since.

No other figure represents, more emphatically than Diouf, the bridge between the worlds of African and French sports.

Born in 1951 in Chad to Senegalese parents — his father was a member of General Charles de Gaulle’s Compagnon de Liberation — Diouf was raised in Richard-Toll, on the Senegal-Mauritania border, and in Dakar.

At 18, with independence having already swept through Africa, he was sent to Marseille to complete his studies by his father, who served in Chad while the country was still a French colony.

He arrived on April 25, 1970, and despite complaining about the wind and cold, he began a longtime and profound love affair with the Phocean City.

After prematurely curtailing his studies at Sciences Po, Diouf opted against following his father’s wishes that he join the military, and he instead embarked on a career as a sports journalist, initially as a freelancer with La Marseillaise, with the club at the heart of the city, OM, his beat.

It was here, at this junction between sport and Africa, that Diouf met the legendary Cameroon goalkeeper Joseph-Antoine Bell, who facilitated the young man’s entrance into the inner workings of French football and set him on his way to a prominent role in one of Europe’s great institutions.

Reported by the management team of Petit Pays