Congolese musician Elisabeth Muidikay, popularly known by her stage name Tshala Muana, has died, her companion and producer Claude Mashala said this morning.
She was 64.
“In the wee hours of this morning, the good Lord has decided to take over the National Mamu. May the good and God be glorified for all the good times she has put us on this earth. Goodbye my Mamu,” Mashala posted on Facebook.
The Karibu Yangu hit singer gained immense popularity across the continent from the 1980s for her provocative Mutuashi dance that promoted the freedom of a woman’s body. Exercising no limits, Tshala Muana would thrust the head of men in her audience between her legs as she gyrated.
The second of 10 siblings, Tshala Muana was born to Amadeus Muidikayi, a soldier, and Alphonsine Bambiwa Tumba on March 13, 1958, in Lubumbashi in DR Congo.
While Mashala did not share the detail of her death, Tshala Muana had been battling with illness after reportedly suffering a mild stroke two years ago for which she was hospitalised. At the time of her death, she had been hospitalised in Kinshasa.
In November 2020, the Mutuashi star, who had in her later life dabbed in politics as a legislator in the Desire Kabila’s government and as a presidential advisor in son and successor Joseph Kabila’s government, was arrested by President Felix Tshisekedi’s state operatives after she produced a controversial song that dissed an unnamed leader.
The song, Ingratitude, was considered as an attack on Tshisekedi as it said the leader had turned on his mentor. Tshala Muana had been close to both Kabilas and believed that Tshisekedi had gone against the pact he had with Joseph Kabila.
As a member of parliament, Tshala Muana was very vocal on issued affecting women and children and the poor. For this stance, she was nicknamed ‘Mama Nationale (Mother of the Nation).
She has performed at least three times in Uganda, in 1991, 1996 and 2009 and defended her Mutuashi dance and dress code, saying it was native to Kasai and therefore a celebration of their culture.