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Koffi Olomide and The Jerkyll & Hyde Syndrome: Talented Musician and a Violent Thug

There’s a WhatsApp joke making the rounds among Africans that goes like this:

What type of coffee does Kenya export?

The answer is “Koffi Olomide!

This may be hilarious, but the inspiration behind this joke is a marverick and no laughing matter. Koffi Olomide is undoubtedly one of Africa's most famous exponents of soukous music but he is also an unrestrained thug who occasionally lets his temper get in the way of his talents, fame and fortune.


The super-talented artist, who is as famous for his bleached skin as he is for his raunchy music, has a notoriously violent temper, of which many members in his entourage have been at the receiving end . In fact, some websites have the Congolese soukous maestro down as a wife beater with the temperament of a rattlesnake.


Olomide enjoyed a spot of notoriety recently in Kenya, when a video of him kicking one of his dancers called Pamela at the Jomo Kenya Airport emerged and went viral. This egregious episode, for which the Congolese maestro got arrested, before release in Kenya, sparked a countrywide outcry and also earned the father of 7 the undignified distinction of being expeditiously thrown out of the country. Koffi Olomide was deported from Kenya, and upon his arrival in his own country, the a Congolese judge ordered his re-arrest and he was again held in custody over night.


Koffi’s infractions do not end in just this one incident. He has been banned from many African countries, including Zambia, and many European countries due to a long list of assault charges against him. In France and Belgium the Quartier Latin lothario has pending legal matters, ranging from rape to assault.


Koffi’s charge sheet of violence is therefore a sad indictment of the hubristic life of a very talented musician. As well as a dishonourable mention of Olomide’s Wikipedia entry [in between other incidents], the list of his controversies reads like this:


  • 1998- Koffi flees from Cameroon, escaping a lynch mob of angry fans and organisers, because he had booked a double concert in both Bafoussam and Douala which he was unable to fulfil. After a brief and lacklustre lip-synching performance in Bafoussam, Koffi Olomide took to the road to fulfil his contractual obligations in Douala but arrived at 3 in the morning. His exasperated fans had been waiting all night long but he was unable to perform. The fans went ballistic; invading the stage and chasing the musician and his crew out. He was banned from the country and the two separated bitterly by mutual consent.  
  • 2008 – Koffi Olomide was accused of assaulting a photojournalist from a local TV station in Kinshasa who was covering his concert. He has apologised to the journalist
  • 2012- Olomide was arrested in August 2012 for assaulting his former music producer, Diego Lubaki, and was handed a three-month suspended prison sentence for the assault. The altercation with his producer, Diego Lubaki, was over a debt of 3,000 euros ($3,680, £2,145), the court heard.
  • Same year, a court convicts Olomide of assault and battery but acquits him of malicious destruction to property, after his fight with Lubaka left the hotel room door damaged.
  • In December the same year, Koffi Olomide is accused of kicking a freelance photo-journalist, Jean Mandela, in the face during a concert in Zambia.
  • 2012 – Olomide was arraigned before a French court after 3 of his backup dancers filed a case against him over rape and illegal confinement. Koffi denies the charges, but the case is still pending
  • 2016 the musician is arrested in Kenya and thrown out of the country
  • 2016 Koffi Olomide is arrested in Kinshasha following the incident at JKIA—he is arraigned and convicted of assault and he is sentenced to a year and a half in jail. The sentence was commuted to 3 months by Joseph Kabila, the president of the DRC.

Koffi Olomide has apparently expressed “remorse,” for kicking his dancer, Pamela. However, while he seemed to apologise to everyone concerned, including his fans, his wife, his country, Kenya to Africa—he failed to apologise to Pamela the dancer. The background to this dodgy incident is as sleazy as the outcome was rough. Reports have it that the said Pamela had earlier been involved in a heated argument backin the hotel with Koffi’s mistress who happens to be his manager. As the party waited for takeoff to Congo, tensions brewed underneath which later erupted and led to the incident where Koffi Olomide kicked the girl several times—in the full glare of on-lookers.

I am mad with this man for being so heartless. He seems to treat his dancers with complete disrespect. He is the ugly face of misogyny characteristic of many African musicians who view women as dispensable chattels. Usually, these dancers are poorly paid and are immediately replaced by younger dancers when they look old, without as little as a settlement pension to tide them for a while. I do not believe Koffi Olomode's apology is sincere. I believe he recognises the enormity of his crime in the full glare of the eyes of the world and he is worried. He is worried about the damage to his image and the effects to his commercial success. Koffi Olomide is right to be worried, because he may never sell another concert ticket anywhere in the world again. It is particularly unfortunate for a talented musician who should have known better. Koffi Olomide is the holder of a masters degree, and a mentor to many musicians who follow in the footsteps of the Secouer Musician. After the death of Papa Wemba, Koffi Olomide was the naturalsuccessor of the title as the Soukous king and the elder statesman musician. It looks like it is time to “secouer” Koffi Olomide, and give the artist a seismic shake up of his own music. Koffi Olomide requires anger management classes. Talented musician he may be, but also a violent thug, he certainly is.

It was left to Fally Ipupa to give the original apology that Koffi Olomide should have made.

"Koffi is like my father, so I apologise to Kenya for what he did. I apologise to every Kenyan, every mother, to Pamela, every woman and every African. If your father does something wrong ,all you can do is apologise on his behalf. So from me to you, I am sorry."Fally Ipupa

Views: 115

Tags: Fally Ipupa,, Koffi Olomide Deported from Kenya,, Koffi Olomide convicted,, Koffi Olomide,, Papa Wemba,, Soukous,, Violence against Women,

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