By Amos Ngaira
Veteran Congolese singer Josky Kiambukuta died at a hospital in Kinshasa this week after a long illness.
Josky was one of the few surviving members of the legendary TPOK Jazz.
According to close associates of the family, he died at Ngaliema Hospital, where he was taken for a routine check-up following a case of fatigue.
Singer Erick Mpoyi and Hellen Winnie Arika, who are both close family friends, confirmed the news, saying they had been in touch with Josky’s widow, Maman Sera.
The 72-year-old singer, also known as “Le Commandant”, was one of the most prolific members of the TPOK Jazz ensemble that the legendary Luambo Luanzo Makiadi led for many years.
His illustrious musical career with TPOK Jazz dates back to 1974, when he was among the top vocalists in the DRC.
Josky’s popular compositions such as “KSK” and “Mabi’ have been trending on social media since the news of his death broke. His other popular songs include “Bimansha”, “Chandra”, “Sincerite”, “Fariya” and “Missile”.
Speaking to the Nation on Sunday, veteran singer and band leader Kiamuangana Mateta Verkys said funeral plans will be announced following consultations between the family and other musicians.
We are saddened by the death of our counterpart, who was one of the greatest singers in DR Congo,” he said.
He noted that after Franco’s death in 1989, Josky was a key member of the offshoot Bana OK band that was led by Lutumba Simaro, who died in 2019.
The mercurial singer was based in Europe for over 10 years, taking part in occasional shows and recordings.
Since his return to Kinshasa early in April 2019, for the funeral of Simaro Masiya, Josky focused on his family. He kept off the stage due to ill-health.
The other surviving former members of the TPOK Jazz band are singers Prince Youlou Mabiala, Sam Mangwana, Michel Boyibanda, Wuta Mayi, Lokombe, Malage De Ligendo and guitarists Nedule Papa Noel, Gege Mangaya and Dizzy Mandjeku.
A special Josky tribute show was organised in August last year in Kinshasa, courtesy of Kenyan promoter Helen Winnie Arika.
On Sunday, veteran media personality Fred Obachi Machoka said he was saddened by news of Josky’s death.
“I had just completed my Sunday radio show when I learnt of his death,” he said.
Fans also took to social media to mourn the fallen rhumba icon. Popular veteran rhumba disc jockey Sibuor Martin said, “Rest well, papa.” Veteran journalist and rhumba fan John Machio eulogised Josky as “a great rhumba icon” – Nation