A great actor died on stage last night. Belgian-Congolese comedian, actor and musician Dieudonné Kabongo will be remembered as starring in long and short films like Petit Conte Nègre, Lumumba, Le Huitième Jour and (most recently) The Invader. In Belgium we’ll miss his ubiquitous plays in and around the capital. Not too long ago, Kabongo joined Baloji in the recording of his song ‘Tout ceci ne vous rendra pas le Congo’:
Last May, I learned via a tweet that Dieudonné had been kidnapped by the armed forces in Kinshasa. The news spread like wildfire to other credible sites. Worried but sceptical –being well aware of his political positions– I never imagined that we were speaking of his namesake.
I looked for one of his close friends because I didn’t have his number on me. I called to my manager to ask if she could find him and she tells me: “Listen, I don’t understand because he’s sitting twenty meters away from me, on the tram to the city center.”
I finally got hold of Dieudonné some minutes later to explain him the dubious moments we just lived through and he replied with that devastating humour: “It is an honor to see how people react to my death, as if I were Machiavelli. I’ve received many similar calls this morning. It’s good to know people look after their close ones. I can start preparing my will and the guest list.”
Dieudonné is a legend from Katanga, Congo, and an ambassador of Belgian culture. My thoughts are with his family and with our orphaned community.
I’m thinking back to our collaboration in the studio while recording ‘Tout ceci ne vous rendra pas le Congo’ and I’ll be playing the song as a tribute to my ‘papa’ for the rest of this tour.