Africa mourns death of Amobé Mévégué, a journalist that 'gave the microphone to everyone'
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Several big names on the African music scene have expressed their shock and sadness following the sudden death of Franco-Cameroonian journalist Amobé Mévégué who died at the age of 53 on Wednesday. He worked with RFI radio for over fifteen years and had been a presenter on France 24.
Presenter since 2010 on France 24 with the culture programme « A l’Affiche ! » as well as music reporter, Amobé Mévégué was the voice of Plein Sud on RFI from 1995 to 2010.
He also worked with TV5Monde, MCM Africa, France Ô and even founded the pan-African channel Ubiznewstv-OM5.
Over the years, Mévégué interviewed some of the most talented stars on the international scene.
Sad day for Panafricanism
Senegalese artist Youssou N’Dour paid tribute to him, telling RFI he considered Mévégué to be "a friend and a brother".
The Black diaspora has lost a man who "gave the microphone to everyone," he said.
"This is sad news for pan-africanism," Senegalese rapper Didier Awadi told RFI.
"He understood perfectly what was at stake in the culture of our era, we used to have many discussions and we had huge projects together."
Ivorian singer Tiken Jah Fakoly also remembers a man who "fought everyday to give a positive image of the African continent...I am profoundly shocked."
His colleagues at RFI and France 24 are also mourning someone they described as "very open and accessible," appreciated for his smile and his jokes.
He was also curious about all domains of culture, be it cinema, literature, poetry, even though music came naturally to him.
Il y a bientôt 20 ans, Amobé Mevegue, qui présentait l’émission « Plein Sud » réalisée par Nathalie Laporte, accueillait une nouvelle chronique. Il s’agissait des premiers pas de « L’épopée des Musiques Noires » sur RFI. Amobé nous a quittés aujourd’hui. Profonde tristesse 😞 pic.twitter.com/ZwfTSn16xB— L'épopée sur RFI (@RFI_EPOPEE) September 8, 2021
A man of conviction
"Great sadness," wrote RFI presenter Joe Farmer on social media, who mentions Mévégué's contribution to the African music programme known as "L'épopée des Musiques Noires".
"The African continent has just lost a great man of culture, a great journalist. A guy who was nice, sincere, honest. A man who helped everyone, who gave everyone a chance to express themselves," says Mory Touré, who worked closely with Mévégué.
He arrived in France from Cameroon at the age of 5 and in the 1980s began his radio career by working for Tabala FM, the first African-focused radio in France, moving on later to produce the RFI radio show Plein Sud followed by some 45 million listeners.
Mévéngué was also a man of conviction, an activist for the development of the continent and regularly speaking out against racism experienced by the Black community in France. In private he denounced the corruption and mismanagement of governments on the African continent, and dreamed of a place where youthful ambition would be embraced.
Twenty years ago, he changed his name from Alain to Amobé, explaining to his listeners that it was a question of cultural identity. "For me, a name is important. It has an emotional charge as well as a historical one," he told Afrik.com website in 2004.
"Be it at RFI or France 24, Amobé Mévégué, was a traveller between continents, and knew how to build bridges between European and African culture. He was a familiar face and voice, much appreciated by the audience," wrote France Médias Monde group in a statement.
This article was translated and adapted from the original piece (in French) by RFI's Edmond Sadaka.
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