Kimono Goes Home In A Rhumba Stylee
At last, what they dreaded has eventually happened; Ras Kimono is indeed dead.
Almost all faces looked gloomy, as they prepared to give the late reggae icon a befitting burial today.
Meanwhile, the burial rites for the late singer actually started on Wednesday, when the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) staged a special Red Carpet and Tribute Night in honour of the singer, who until death was a Director of COSON.
From Sunny Neji to Alariwo, Orits Williki, Sir Shina Peters, Chris Mba, Righteous Man, Buchi, Bisi Olatilo, Essence, comedian Kofi, African China, YQ, Majek Fashek…the COSON House, Ikeja, Lagos, was full of friends, colleagues, family members, admirers and sympathisers, who converged to pay him last respect.
Though the evening started on a high note with a special red carpet reception, emotions ran high, as the session moved up to the COSON Arena for the tribute session.
Comedian Kofi, who anchored the session, couldn’t hold back tears, as he narrated his relationship with the late Ras Kimo.
Tony Okoroji, the man, who spearheaded the burial plans, fought back tears, as guests take turns on stage to pay tribute to the man of peace.
Nollywood actress Clarion Chukwura, a close friend of the singer, used the opportunity to charge entertainers to take care of their health.
“This should be a wakeup call for all of us; we must take care of our health,” she caustioned.
However, the emergence of reggae singer Orits Williki at COSON House was a big surprise to many guests, who has followed the rift between collective management companies COSON and MCSN; Williki is of MCSN, while Okoroji leads COSON.
But on this day, all ‘fights’ were put aside to celebrate a man he described as a legend.
Williki had been ushered on stage to pay his tribute, but he left the stage halfway into it the speech, tears!
Though Okoroji didn’t say much, his special documentary on Ras Kimono said it all.
In the film, which was screened to guests, he took many down the memory lane on Kimono’s music career; starting from his humble beginning in Onicha Olona to the point he hit limelight in Lagos.
Most importantly, the film was indeed a clear indication that the Nigerian music industry has always been very active ever before the present crop of artistes took over.
Few minutes after she made her way into the hall, Senator Ita Giwa was called on stage to pay tribute.
She ended with a promise to put Kimono’s singer daughter, Oge, on the bill for this year’s Calabar Christmas Carnival in Cross Rivers State.
Apparently, the late Kimono had appealed for Oge to be on the show, but now, that will happen in his absence; that’s if Ita Giwa keeps to her words.
In their vote of thanks, Kimono’s wife Efe and daughter Oge were full of appreciation to guests, who turned up to celebrate their husband and father.
Somehow, both seem to have come to terms with the reality of living without the great Kimono.
“Ras Kimono is dead, but please don’t abandon us. I have five beautiful daughters; Oge is one of them.
Whatever you have done for Ras Kimono, please do same to her; she needs your support now,” Efe pleaded.
The day ended with a special concert, with the likes of Majek Fashek, Orits Williki, Sunny Neji, Chris Mba, YQ and others performing live on stage.
The highpoint of the evening was when Williki teamed up with Oge to perform Kimono’s popular hit, Under Pressure.
While most guests left COSON midnight to prepare for the lying in state the next morning, many stayed back; they slept in the COSON House.
At about 9.30am on Thursday morning, when the ambulance conveying the remains of the late singer made its way into COSON House Ikeja emotions ran high.
Even those, who managed to hold back tears the previous night, failed this time around, as the lifeless body of Kimono was ushered into COSON House.
One after the other, people had the opportunity of seeing the Rhumba Stylee singer for the last time; even his lovely wife broke down in tears.
After a short prayer for the repose of the soul of the departed was offered, the team set out for his hometown, Onicha Olona, Delta State, where the final burial will be performed today.
His remains were accompanied by a strong delegation of the COSON leadership, family members, friends, fans and other personalities in the Nigerian entertainment industry.
Leading the procession, the Rastafarian Movement in Nigeria, led by its grand patron, Ras Edu Dickson, said Ras Kimono lives on.
He said he was confident that the ‘Rub-a-Dub’ master had gone to be with his maker. “Ras Kimono never dies, but lives on,“ he said.
In his remarks, the Chairman of COSON, Chief Tony Okoroji, said his happiness is that Ras Kimono did not die unsung.
“Ras Kimono was a giver. He always gave his heart, his smile, his immense talent and his love to one and all. He had no angst against anyone.
“Kimono was totally dedicated to the COSON cause. He was not just a COSON member, but 100 percent committed COSON activist.
As a hyper-creative person, he fought anything that he thought would bring COSON down or tears the music industry apart.
He saw in COSON a watershed institution for the development of the Nigerian creative industry which must be nurtured for the next generation.”
In a chat with Oge Kimono, she shared with The Guardian her experiences of being Kimono’s daughter.
“I would say it’s been a privilege, honor.
It has been everything beautiful to be associated with a great man like Ras Kimono and to have the privilege of being his child; the name Ras Kimono rings a bell everywhere.
Wherever you go and you say Kimono, everybody knows him. It’s like an automatic pass. I feel honored to be his child.”
Though Kimono is gone, Oge is happy that, at least, he saw her take up music as a career.
“It’s not something he cajoled me into; if there’s anything my father is good at, it’s letting people follow their mind.
He can only advise you but will not make the decision for you; the decision is yours to make.
He will tell you the pros and cons and let you decide.
Growing up with him is priceless; he’s a man full of wisdom, compassion, and great advice,” she said.
Even as Kimono makes his final journey today, many are still worried about what happens to his long dreadlocks, which he had left for years.
“We would leave his hair with him because he never wanted to cut it; it would be very rude of us to shave off his dreads.
The symbol of dreadlocks is actually strength. In the Bible, we have the likes of Samson, John the Baptist; it would not be appropriate to shave off his dreads.
For the purpose of posterity, we might likely take a strand just for history sake; that’s the most we can do.
We can’t shave off his locks, he’s a Rasta Man, you don’t touch his locks,” Oge said.
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