Reasons why Richard Bona says Douala air port be named after Manu Dibango
Written by Boris Ndicho on 26 March 2020
Dibango was an unmistakable figure, with shaved head, shades, an unmatched charisma. The instantly recognisable tone of his music was always swinging, melodic and invigorating.
His global celebrity status benefitted Cameroon such that you can’t equate in terms of money. His immaterial contribution to cameroon, that is selling our image through his art cannot be priced. Manu was once Chairman of Board of Directors of SOCAM artists corporation. Though in the later years accused of embezzlement .
It was allegedly reported that his close aides like Romeo Dika and others chopped the money.
He left Cameroon and vowed never to come back. The President about a year after when he clocked fifty years of his musical career, took advantage of the occasion and sent the Minister of Culture Ama Tutu Muna to make appeasement and negotiate for his return
Bringing him back and celebrating the anniversary cost cameroon close to 500 million francs cfa. This was probably done due to his tactful ideas and diplomatic charisma to make Cameroon a better place during his ambassadorship role to UNICEF , all this to show his particular importance to us.
Richard Bona who today without any fear voiced that the Douala air port be named after Manu Dibango was once a center of attraction for president Paul Biya who wanted to decorate him with medals following his artistic celebrity importance and he turned down the medal in protest against the fact that they had checked him at the airport and considered him foreigner since the Cameroon law says if you take foreign nationality, then you lose that of cameroon.
Guardian post enumerated this clearly about Manu. In 1972 he made his mark with the hit Soul Makossa. As soon as it was released, as the B-side of a tribute to the Cameroon football team, there were at least five different cover versions in the American charts. The use of the refrain “mama-say, mama-sa, ma makossa”, on Michael Jackson’s Wanna Be Starting Something, from his 1982 album Thriller, earned Dibango substantial compensation two decades later.
In later years he was an ambassador for Unicef, received several honours from African countries and in 2010 was made a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur. He was still working last year, on tour with Symphonic Safari, blending jazz with classical music.
Do you think Richard Bona was right about the assertion that Douala air part be named after Manu Dibango?