SECTIONS

Popular Congolese musician Tshala Muana of 'Karibu Yangu' hit song dies

Tshala Muana died in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo on Saturday, December 10, 2022 aged 64. [File, Standard]

Popular Congolese musician Tshala Muana of Karibu Yangu hit song is dead.

The artiste, whose official name is Élizabeth Tshala Muana Muidikay, died on Saturday morning, December 10 in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Claude Mashala, the musician’s producer, was the first to break the news of her death.

“This morning, God took the life of Tshala Muana. May her soul rest in peace,” said Mashala on his official Facebook page.

Muana had been in hospital for a week. She succumbed to respiratory complications, her producer Mashala, who is also her spouse, said.

“She passed on at 2am today (Saturday, December 10),” Masala told The Standard.

DR-Congo’s largest news site 7sur7 reported Saturday that the musician’s body was taken to the Cinquantenaire Hospital morgue in Kinshasa.

The outlet further said that Muana’s relative, Jean-Marie Kassamba, confirmed to 7sur7 news of her death.

Seth Kikuni, a businessman and politician in DRC who unsuccessfully ran for presidency in 2018, said on Twitter that Muana “contributed greatly to the Congolese culture”.

Pascal Mulegwa, a Kinshasa-based journalist with Radio France Internationale (RFI), said on Twitter that Muana died in the DRC capital, Kinshasa, after "ailing for a while".

Muana, also known by the moniker the Queen of Mutuashi, started her music career as a dancer for the band Tsheke Tsheke Love in 1977.

Mutuashi is dance and rhythm from southeastern DR-Congo, popularised by Tshala Muana.

The multi-award winning musician is famous for several songs such as Karibu Yangu, Dezo Dezo, Kokola, Malu, Tshianza and Tshibola.

Unlike many artistes in Congo and the larger African continent, the gifted Tshala Muana personally wrote her songs.

Described as versatile and charismatic, the artiste did not limit herself to the Congolese Rhumba genre, which is mostly composed in Lingala.

In most of her compositions and performances, the entertainer sang in her vernacular language of Tshiluba.

In 1984, Tshala Muana left the DRC for Paris, France a then-haven for Congolese musicians seeking to grow their fan base and also use the most advanced technologies to produce their music.

She returned to Kinshasa in 1986, where she’d lined up a number of concerts to reintroduce herself “at home” and remind the citizens of her musical prowess.

Although her concerts were received with enthusiasm, it soon became clear that the ailing economy of the DRC made it difficult for an artiste to make a comfortable living in the country.

Muana, nonetheless, soldiered on, expanding her fan base in and outside the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Her love for Kenya was evident in the 1990s, making three trips to the country between 1990 and 1996, at the height of her music career.

In 2020, it seemed as if her music career had come to an end.

After an emergency hospitalisation in June 2020, reports emerged that she had died. She’d immediately issue a statement refuting the death reports.

Now dead in her sixties, Tshala Muana remains a musical icon in Africa, with at least 30 albums to her name.

Muana was also known by the nickname Mamu Nationale in the DRC, to mean 'mother of the nation'.