By Chukwuemeka Opara
Rastafarians in Ebonyi have concluded plans to hold candle light procession for departed Nigerian Reggae icon, Ekeleke Onwubuya, popularly known as Ras Kimono.
Kimono died on Sunday at the Lagos Lagoon hospital of an undisclosed ailment at the age of 60.
Rastafarianism, is an Abrahamic religion that developed in Jamaica during the 1930s. Scholars of religion and related fields have classified it as both a new religious movement and a social movement.
The reggae artists told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abakaliki on Monday that the procession was to honour Kimono “because of his great contributions to the development of the brand of music in the country.”
James Okoh, alias Rasta Omege, said he would coordinate the activities to ensure that Kimono was given a befitting tribute by Rastafarians in the state.
“We would immediately convene a meeting to deliberate on ways to honour our departed father and further propagate the reggae gospel in the state and the country.
“We would also organise candle light procession, hold road-shows, music concerts, Rastafarian-night, among other activities, to give Ras Kimono a befitting farewell.”
Another Rastafarian, Charles Nduka, alias Rasta Iree, said Kimono’s contributions to the development of music, especially reggae and the entire social sector of the country, was unparalleled.
He added that “Kimono inspired young musicians in the country to embrace reggae and this helped in some of the positive changes witnessed in the society.
“Kimono, through his songs, ensured that music was given its pride of place in the country and corrected the wrong notion that it is a venture for school drop-outs and never do wells.”
Bede Asomugha, alias, Ras Uncle, noted that he had a personal experience with Kimono in 1997, shortly after the death of late Afro-beat music icon, Fela Anikulapo Kuti.
Ras Uncle said “I was a drug addict and was resident at Fela’s African Shrine with others affected by the demise of the late afro-beat star.
“Kimono encouraged me to return to Ebonyi after I had shun drugs one year earlier. I am a living example of Rastafarian not engaged in drug abuse.”
Christy Mbaleke, a Reggae fan, urged the federal, state and music organisations not only to immortalise Kinomo but enhance the welfare of artists in the country.
She said “Ras Kimono used his songs to fight apartheid in South Africa, military dictatorship in Nigeria, poverty, oppression, among other malaise in the society.
“Relevant stakeholders should look into the welfare of artists and the entertainment industry to check the rising cases of death among them.”
Some of Kimono’s hit songs include: Whats Gwan, Rumba Stylee, Natty Get Jail, Senseless Killings.