Zanzibar music legend Bi Kidude dies

Kidude, a legend in East Africa, was thought to be around 100 years old. She died on Wednesday at her home.

"She has died, we are making funeral arrangements," her nephew Baraka Abdullah Said told Agence France-Presse.

He said his aunt had been confined to bed for the past several months.

Kidude, whose real name was Fatuma binti Baraka, and who performed and toured up until very recently, was best known for Taarab music, which combines Arab and African influences.

A diminutive and wrinkled figure with a haunting voice, she displayed immense energy on stage, beating a large drum clamped between her legs and occasionally drawing on a cigarette or taking a swig of liquor from the bottle.


In 2005 Kidude, who started her singing career back in the 1920s, received the prestigious World Music Expo award for her outstanding contribution to music and culture in Zanzibar.

Zanzibar's most famous musicians
Kidude was one of the most famous cultural icons from the East African island of Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania, whose people and traditions are a melting pot resulting from centuries of trade across eastern Africa, the Arabian Gulf and Indian Ocean.

When she was born Zanzibar – once a famous port for slaves, ivory and spices – was under British colonial rule.

She was regarded as one of Zanzibar's most famous musicians.

Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of rock legends Queen, was also born on the island, but left as a teenager for Britain. – Sapa

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Sapa
Guest Author

Related stories

Life below water from Zanzibar

Advancing science and conservation in the West Indian Ocean

Inclusive education is the future

With a deeper understanding of the problems, excluding children with disabilities can cease

Finding Rhapta, East Africa’s lost Roman-era city

Forgotten by history, the ancient city of Rhapta is among Africa’s most enduring archaeological mysteries

Tanzania’s flags of inconvenience

Foreign-owned ships registered in Tanzania have been caught smuggling drugs and arms. The country’s president has had enough

Zanzibar International Film Festival 2016 is all about ‘This Journey of Ours’

“In our diversity we find common destinies, shared histories; we celebrate what defines us as a group and as flowers of this rich garden of peoples."

Zanzibar: Revolt spiced up island life

We can learn from the Zanzibar uprising, which liberated people and freed the land, writes Andile Mngxitama.
Advertising

New education policy on gender violence released

Universities and other higher education institutions have to develop ways of preventing or dealing with rape and other damaging behaviour

Cambridge Food Jozini: Pandemic or not, the price-gouging continues

The Competition Commission has fined Cambridge Food Jozini for hiking the price of its maize meal during April

Sekhukhune’s five-year battle for water back in court

The residents of five villages are calling for the district municipal manager to be arrested

Vaccine trial results due in December

If successful, it will then have to be manufactured and distributed
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday