Last Sunday March 16, Cameroon lost another critical voice - Singer and Musician Lapiro de Mbanga, who reportedly died of Cancer in the United States.
Since then, many Cameroonians are still to come to terms with the reality that their musical ‘freedom fighter’ is gone. The type of homage paid to Lapiro de Mbanga – with real name, Lambo Sandjo Pierre Roger – is proof he was indeed a voice for the voiceless. In one of such homages, Christopher Fomunyoh, Senior Associate for Africa and Regional Director at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, wrote on his Facebook handle: “Lapiro de Mbanga's passing is a tragedy; a big loss and a deep wound to the fabric of our society as a people. For raising citizen awareness on their basic rights and responsibilities, he was prosecuted and eventually dumped in jail, paid a heavy price with ill health and little medical attention, then had to flee the fatherland into exile because the environment had become so toxic for him and his immediate family. “Today a mighty giant in the fight for political space and freedoms is fallen and more so on foreign shores without the opportunity to wave a last farewell to his fellow compatriots -- a people to whom he had given so much and meant so much in his youthful activist days. Our ancestors must be asking: what have we become, and where are we headed as a people? May Lapiro's ideas, wit, energy, vivacity and sense of patriotism endure forever. Our deepest condolences to his immediate family and the millions of fellow compatriots that mourn his loss. May his soul rest in perfect peace.”