Death they say is a mystery. It is something that will come to every man, something that is appointed for us all to experience one way or another. Yet, death is something that we fear. We secretly wish it will never come.
When someone we know dies, we suddenly see the vacuum their absence creates in our lives; more so when that person is a close friend or relative. This is why they say to the outsider, the corpse of another man may look like log of firewood.
But the good thing about death is when the person had made so much contributions to our lives and to his world –we are often happy to be associated with such a dead even though we will most certainly miss the deceased.
This is the feeling we get at the death of reggae icon and Africa’s brand Ambassador, Ras Kimono, who passed on after what may be considered a brief illness. His death was sudden; unprecedented. This is akin to the parlance –death is no respecter of person.
If death had any respect it would know that Kimono was an iconic figure, one budding with talents and so much good will; it will know that Kimono is respected and recognised not just in Africa but the world over; it would at least have given some hints.
Born Ekeleke Elumelu, your advent into the music world began in the early 80’s, but your big break came in 1989 with your debut ‘Under Pressure’, and your single ‘Rum Bar Stylee’. With a combination of reggae and African blend, Kimono, you reached out to an audience who not only identify with your style and but equally accepted your message.
As a successful artiste, you tour Africa, Europe, and the US. Your music centered on the fight for the common man, especially campaigning against poverty, inequality, social injustice, and the likes. Hence you became an advocate for social change across Africa, and the world –especially where it concerns the Blackman. Till your death, you remain a strong advocate against mental slavery and all forms of colonialism.
The Dub master as you are most times called, your career began as a member of Jastix Reggae Ital, with the likes of Majek Fashek. Your style of reggae music stood you out from the pioneers of reggae itself –talking about Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Lucky Dube and the likes.
Working with you was not only a rare privilege, but was equally fulfilling. You are always to willing to hear and learn from others. Your humility and brotherly affection is second to none. You’re never too busy to give your attention whenever it is needed.
One statement one is tempted to make now is, it appeared your 60th birthday had turned out to be your farewell party? The who is who in the entertainment and media world was there to honour you. Just one month after that celebration and you are gone. Friends who had graced the occasion took turns to eulogise your achievements. It was indeed a night of praise and fun for you.
The birthday was well attend by cmc gladiators who throng in their numbers to honour as well as celebrate one of our own. Kimono, you were overwhelmed by the immense love showered on you by cmc members. And you called specifically to thank me for that.
No doubt Nigeria, Africa, and the rest of the world would miss you; we at the cMc would miss you most. You were indeed an inspiration to a lot of us, and despite your good fortunes, you remain very humble.
King Kimono, though you may be gone from this life, your good works and kind heart will continue to remain green in our minds. You contributed in no small way to the music industry in Nigeria. And we cannot mention reggae music in Nigeria and Africa without mentioning your name.
As you lay down in this sleep which will surely come to every man, know that we will miss you greatly. But we are consoled by your life and the good works you left behind. Your life was like the candle snuffed off by the wind, but your memories will remain fresh in our hearts.
Adieu Dub Master
Amb. Cornel Udofia for cMc and Cornel Entertainment.