By Kepher Otieno
Thousands of fans marched on the streets of Kisumu to pay tribute to Musa Juma, a popular rumba artiste.
The crowd escorted the hearse right from Kisumu Airport to the Jomo Kenyatta Sports Ground.
The hearse made its way through the town’s Oginga Odinga and Jomo Kenyatta streets as residents lined up to pay their last respects. Some of the musician’s fans wailed.
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Police at some point had a hectic time controlling the crowds led by motorcycle riders.
Boda boda riders caused a heavy traffic snarl up along the twin streets and nearly brought business to a standstill for an hour.
They hooted, and rode round the town in groups, even as police tried to keep order.
But a steady team of the traffic policemen led by Nyanza Traffic Enforcement Officer Martin Kinoti ensured order.
Later Thursday afternoon, hundreds queued at the Kisumu Sports Ground, where the hearse made a stopover to allow viewing of the body.
Men and women of all ages — including Juma’s widow Winnie, the family and relatives — watched as fans played his music.
One fan, Ben Siengo, said: "I wanted to keep his music alive."
He said he cherished Juma’s hits, adding Kenya had lost a talented and inspiring musician who will be missed by rumba fans. To some fans, Juma’s death represented the end of an era.
Juma, who died a fortnight ago in Mombasa, will be buried tomorrow at his rural home. He was aged 36. His body spent last night at Ofafa Hall, Kisumu.
He started his musical career in Kisumu and was inspired by Franco Luambo Makiadi from the DRC.
Despite his tender age, he started playing the guitar, his favourite pastime, with the belief he would one day be a musician. Juma will be best remembered for his popular songs such as Mercelina, Hera Mudho, Ufisadi and Freddy.
His music, although in his native Luo language, was appreciated by many across East Africa.
Juma staged a series of performances in the US, months before he returned home. His latest trip to America was the third in a series.
Musa Juma’s death is a shocker to his Limpopo band, coming closely after his brother and musician Omondi Tony died in a car crash in Mombasa last year.