Ivorian mega star DJ Arafat dies at 33
BY SUE B. SIMON
Ivorian mega star DJ Arafat passed away a few hours ago this Monday in a clinic in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire’s economic capital and largest city, following a road accident Sunday night. He was riding a motorcycle without wearing a helmet.
The news spread like wildfire across the country early this morning, but the artists’ die-hard fans doubted their idol had passed away. So they went in large numbers, some to the clinic where he was being treated, others to his residence in hopes to see him alive. Tension rose and the police had to step in to calm things down.
But the sad news was confirmed at 8. a.m. by the Ivorian Minister of Culture, Maurice Kouakou Bandaman, in a press release on national television. Indeed, the artist could not survive the fracture of his skull resulting from the collision of his motorcycle with a car the previous night. The minister called on the star’s afflicted fans to calm down, extended his condolences to the late star’s family, and promised that all necessary measures will be taken by his office, in coordination with the head of state, for his funeral.
DJ Arafat—born Ange Didier Huon on 26 January 1986—was a singer, composer and producer. He was one of the best and most popular entertainers in Africa, having more than 2.3 million followers on Facebook alone. Owing to his popularity, he went by the nickname “President of People’s China,” and his fans are referred to as “the Chinese.” He was also known as the “king of Coupé-Decalé,” a dance music popular throughout Africa. He was named best artist of the year at the Coupé-Decalé Awards in 2016 and 2017. “Dosobado,” one of his biggest hit songs which was released only last year, has 5.4 million views on YouTube.
The artist’s life abruptly ended at age 33 while he was reportedly preparing for a new concert. He was passionate about motorcycles. His most recent hit song, titled Moto Moto, released only this past May, has had 4.4 million views on YouTube.
DJ Arafat’s passing deeply shook his Ivorian fellow-countrymen and fans, and triggered a flood of reactions on the Internet. A fan, who reacted on one of the most popular news outlets in the country, Abidjan.net, wrote:
“Younger brother, I can’t stop crying, for I know you are irreplaceable. You are and you will remain the best of your generation despite the ambushes. Farewell to the king, farewell to the Chinese…”
A’salfo, the leader of the Ivorian group Magic System, shared his feelings on the Paris-based newsmagazine Jeune Afrique:
“The boy is gone. He lived like a shooting star. In the style of zouglou, internationally, there is Magic System. For coupé-décalé, it was DJ Arafat. This is a great loss for Ivorian music.”
Fellow Ivorian rapper Kaaris and Nigerian star Davido are among countless African entertainers shaken by the passing of their illustrious peer.
DJ Arafat is mourned by his spouse and two children.