Hundreds of fans are expected to turn out for the celebration of the life of Cameroonian musician Pierre Roger Lambo Sandjo aka Lapiro de Mbanga on Friday May 2 2014 at the Bueana Vista banquet Hall in Maryland, Washington DC. Lapiro died from prostate cancer on March 16 2014. He was 56.
The All Cameroon Cultural and Development Foundation ACCDF led by Ms Justine Mdianda and the Cameroon Music Association led by close friend and collaborator of Lapiro Jacob Nguni organized the event to honour the memory of “Ndinga Man”.
Jacob Nguni told told Iroko Magazine the concert will be free but fans will be expected to donate generously to the Lapiro Foundation and to help the family he left behind following his untimely death. The foundation will initial be based in the USA but there are plans to eventually establish a branch in Mbanga, the Cameroonian town Lapiro adopted and promoted throughout his career.
According to Mr Nguni, the Foundation will also eventually establish a library that will promote the unique blend of language or “mboko talk” lapiro used in his songs. He however emphasized the Cameroonian branch of the foundation will only be established when the political climate in Cameroon is less hostile to the musician. Close friends and relatives of “Ndinga Man” still blame the government for imprisoning him on trump up charges and refusing to begin early treatment when his cancer was first diagnosed in prison in September 2008. He was sentenced for helping youths destroy public and private property during the February 2008 food price hikes across the country. Despite protesting his innocence, he was sentenced to three years imprisonment
Lapiro’s extended family members and relatives based in France will be organizing a similar memorial Live musical concert in Paris on the same day
“Lapiro gave a lot to every Cameroonian. It is time we give something back to him by supporting the foundation that has been created in his memory”, Mr Nguni said.
Narcisse, Valerie Vision 1, docta musica, Zaina and guitarist Jacob Nguni are among the musicians who will be playing with a live band on the night. The keynote speakers who will address the memorial concert will include Journalists Eric Chinje and Boh Herbert, economist Celestin Monga and Jacob Nguni. Lapiro’s widow Louisette Noukeu who will head the “Lapiro Forever Foundation” will also make a short speech on the night.
Before his death, Lawyers for the Cameroonian government were still arguing over the more than 200 million frs CFA the government was ordered to pay after US based NGO Freedom Now successfully won a case of arbitrary detention. Lawyers for government say the compensation pot was too high.
The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention ruled that Lapiro’s three year imprisonment violated international law. The supreme court has since annulled Lapiro’s iniial imprisonment and ordered a retrial which never happened before he died.
Singing in a blend of French, English, duala and creole, Lapiro composed hits that included “No Make Erreur”, “Mimba We”, “Surface de reparation” and “overdone”. His seminal record “constitution constipee” in which he railed against attempts by long serving president Paul Biya’s attempt to change the constitution so he remains in power was judged too provocative by the government and ultimately cost him his liberty and in the end, his life.
“He might be dead physically but he will live on in our memories forever through his music and the foundation that has been created” Jacob Nguni said