Congo-Kinshasa: General Defao Back to Congo After 18-Year Exile in Nairobi

Photo: The Nation
Congolese Rhumba artist General Defao.

Congolese singer General Defao Matumona has returned to Kinshasa after 18 years of a self-imposed exile in Nairobi.

The crooner returned home last Sunday following the change of government in Congo DR, with the new President Felix Tshisekedi warming up to him.

Defao fled Kinshasa in 2002, the year President Joseph Kabila came to power.

The 'Sala Noki' hit song composer's return to Congo followed heightened activity on social media, in which he sang bits of his popular recordings and announced that he was finally getting ready to return home.

He said he was making the journey back at the invitation of President Tshisekedi.

In his heyday with his Big Stars Band, Defao recorded many other popular songs including 'Familie Kikuta' and 'Madova'.

In the recent days, there has been a campaign to have Defao, one of the most talented and flamboyant Congolese musicians, in the league of Koffi Olomide, Werrason, JB Mpiana, Nyoka Longo and Papa Wemba, among many others, to return home.

One of his last major shows in Kenya was held last month at the Mutengene Resort Club in Webuye, Bungoma County.

Promoter Jules Nsana, who has also been based in Nairobi for many years, is among those who have been involved in organising shows to welcome Defao back to Kinshasa.

On his arrival in Kinshasa last weekend, Defao was received by top fellow artistes, including former Empire Bakuba Band guitarist Lofombo Gode and his former Big Stars Band vocalist Montana Kamenga.

Both Lofombo and Montana occasionally came to Nairobi to join Defao during recording sessions.

After leaving Big Stars, Montana joined Koffi Olomide's Quartier Latin International Band for a few years.

According to reports from Kinshasa, Defao plans to stage a series of comeback shows in the Congolese capital, where he had an illustrious singing career with groups such as the star-studded Choc Stars band in the 1980s, which featured Debaba El-shabab, Carlito Lassa, Nzaya Nzayadio, Djuna Djanana, Ben Nyamabo and ace solo guitarist Roxy Tshimpaka.

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