rip papa

Patrobas’ mic goes silent forever

Mokolo na kokufa (The day I will die), a song by rhumba wizard the late Tabu Ley, is a plea to God.

Tabu Ley prayed to God that he could reveal to him the day of his death.

agao patrobas

This could enable him seek forgiveness from his creator and, importantly, bid farewell to his dearest friends.

It is the prayer of everyone; but then it is hardly granted.

If it were, then the late Patrobas Agawo could have played more rhumba tunes in farewell before switching off forever on November 21.

Agawo, popularly known to his fans as Papa, was not your ordinary broadcaster.

He combined a mastery of rhumba music and knowledge of a song’s history to give his listeners useful and memorable information.

Ironically, Agawo’s death came just a few days to the death anniversary of the late Tabu Ley (31st November), one of Africa’s rhumba giants.

Having started his trade at the Voice of Kenya (VoK), now Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, he has influenced many young Kenyans to join the media.

Some of these young Kenyans who only had a dream of copying him have had the benefit of working with him in the radio.

Some of them include Lawrence Nyakundi of Egesa FM, a radio station owned by Royal Media Services just like Ramogi FM where Papa was based.

tribute 1 a gang of robbers

“The rhumba music I play every Friday morning is influenced by Papa’s hold on me since I was a child. We have lost a living library,” says Nyakundi.

Every Sunday afternoon the airwaves could thunder with pure rhumba hits and information about the hit makers.

He had fine knowledge of Franco, his younger brother Bavon Marie Marie, Pepe Ndombe Opetum, Nyboma Mwandindo and engineer Kishile Nkoi famously known as Faya Tess, among other great voices from the Congo.

At the Tents and Green Yard, two popular joints in Buruburu, Nairobi, where Agao entertains rhumba fans alongside Jeff Mwangemi, Nicolas Asumwa, Commando Sunguti and William Ogutu, a sombre mood ruled after news of his death reached them.

Other fans took to social media to remember him and celebrate his contribution to the entertainment industry.

As we pay tribute to Papa Agawo, we only take solace in the following: `Toyoka mabele, tokozala mabele’ meaning we came from soil and we shall return to the same soil.

Suzanna Owiyo mourned him on Twitter thus:

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