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    Posted March 17, 2014 by

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    Big blow: Lapiro succumbs, legacy stays

    His continuously playing music could be consolatory, but that the man Lapiro de Mbanga is no more still remains a bitter pill to swallow. News of the demise of the Cameroonian music legend stunk harder than a bee would do. Difficult to understand, difficult to accept! But that was the piercing reality staring directly in the face of an entire nation that had jealously preserved this illustrious son as a pride.

    Deliberately disbelieving the shocking news, many Cameroonian including fans of the fallen hero rhetorically questioned why Ndinga Man, as the singer was affectionately called, should exit the stage at a time they still badly needed him. “This is unbelievable!”, “This cannot be true”, “What a loss!”

    Reactions like these swept across social media like uncontrollably strong winds. It is undoubtedly the same scenario outside social media. It is understandably so because the fallen artist touched everyone directly with his impactful music. Lapiro was more than just a singer. From No Make Erreur via Kpo Nie, Mimba We, Na You, Over Don Na Mbout to Consititution Constipee (Constipated Constitution), the social critic painted the ugly picture of his society, but at every instance ensuring he stood firm for the masses. In a talking-style genre which fast became his musical identity, the Cameroonian music legend who originates from Mbanga in Moungo Division in the Littoral region vociferously challenged oppressors in favour of the voiceless.

    In the days, every Lapiro release was an irresistible hit and was awaited with huge appetite. His lyrics ran down spines with a resulting comfort that was comparable to no political speech. Lapiro had become a music prophet and his songs were clearly prophetic. Prophetic? Yes! Years before Cameroon plunged into an economic crisis, Lapiro had foreseen it and in one of the tracks in a best-selling album, he said: “for dis heure we dollar no must change position so…economie don begin crise, economie don paple….” (literally translated as “now that the economy is getting tighter”). In one other captivating piece, long before its creation, the music genius mentioned the University of Buea as though he knew it was coming. Examples abound. Observers have thus held that most of what the song hero addressed in his music are being experienced today, even after Lapiro is gone.

    While in prison between 2008 and 2011 after a politically ambiguous drama got him involved, Lapiro still held steadfast to his convictions – cleansing his society of vices that caused untold social problems to the people. Upon leaving prison, he quickly won international sympathy which led to his movement, with his family to the United States of America where he spent his last two years.

    For certainty, the Lapiro de Mbanga phenomenon will be rich topic for research within and without academic circles. That volumes of artistic works are already in the making should be no surprise. His life, just like Mandela’s was an amazing accomplishment.

    Lapiro de Mbanga (his real name Lambo Pierre Roger) passed on in Buffalo, New York today following health issues he is said to have been battling with since 2008. Cameroon and Africa will miss the man, but not the music because it still plays on. But hey, an artist never dies! Lapiro lives on! Long live Tara!
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