Born in November 1957, Mbanga was not only a talented singer and songwriter, but he was also a political and social activist whose songs criticized the government of current Cameroonian President Paul Biya. His stance caused him to be imprisoned in the Douala New Bell Prison in Cameroon in 2008, but he was later released on April 8, 2011.
In 2011, the U.N Working Group on Arbitrary Detention declared that Mbanga’s arrest was an infringement of the International Convent on Civil and Political Rights.
After his release, he sought political asylum in the United States with his wife and five of his six children, where he would reportedly die of cancer. In prison, Mbanga’s health was said to deteriorate due to very poor and unhygienic conditions.
Since Mbanga ‘s passing, local television channels, newspapers, and radio stations have been dedicating talk shows to his career and life, including playing some of his hit songs on air, and most people on the streets of the Republic of Cameroon have centered their discussions on the life of the man they once called “The people’s artist and spokesman.”
Watch Lapiro de Mbanga performing live here:
Mbanga’s funeral program is still to be made public.
And while the candle light of a great fighter has been extinguished, no one can kill his thought-provoking song and legacy.