Composer of 1972 AFCON anthem Manu Dibango succumbs to Coronavirus

By Angu Lesley & Melody Chironda,

Veteran jazz singer and saxophone player, Emmanuel N’djoke Dibango, aka Manu Dibango, who composed the 1972 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) anthem died in France on Tuesday, aged 86 after contracting the Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease.

Close associates had last week confirmed that he had been taken to a French hospital for an unrelated illness when he was diagnosed of COVID-19.

The 1972 AFCON logo

Dibango becomes one of the first worldwide stars to die as a result of COVID-19.

A statement from his official Facebook page reads: “It is with deep sadness that we announce the loss of Manu Dibango, our Papy Groove, who passed away on 24th of March 2020, at 86 years old, further to COVID-19.


“His funeral service will be held in strict privacy, and a tribute to his memory will be organized when possible,” the message said.

Manu Dibango is popularly known for his Grammy award-winning track Soul Makossa. The song went on to be sampled by various musicians including the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson, and popstar Rihanna.

Soul Makossa star

His dexterity in the music industry earned him the honour to compose the tournament song for the 1972 AFCON in Cameroon.

Manu Dibango collaborated with Eno Belinga to produce a piece that won the heart of Africans in the 8th edition of the African soccer jamboree.

Coronavirus alert

In 2015, Jean Michael — the then secretary general responsible for international organizations for the Francophonie — appointed him as the brand Ambassador for the Francophonie in 2016 Olympics and Para Olympics games in Rio de Janeiro.


He was more famous in the music industry but made a huge impact in the sports world.

The Douala native was gifted with diverse abilities in the music industry — a musician and songwriter who played saxophone and vibraphone. 

Coronavirus alert

He developed a musical style fusing jazz, funk, traditional Cameroonian music and also tried his hands in the music industry.

Coronavirus alert

The multiple award winner quits the stage after inspiring a huge number of musicians.