Tributes pour in for late Taarab icon Bi Kidude


Tributes are pouring in from far and wide after word that one of East Africa’s most prolific musicians Bi Kidude has died.

The elderly Zanzibari Taarab musician suffered health troubles in recent months, and reports indicate that she finally gave in to complications relating to Diabetes today.

Well known for her vibrant love of music regardless of her age, Bi Kidude was always busy performing in stages across the world, and especially Zanzibar.

Bi Kidude’s talent was as well known as her defiance, where at the age of 13 she fled a forced marriage in Zanzibar for mainland Tanzania.

The words Icon, Hero, and Super Star have been widely used on social media to describe the late musician, whose music over the decades never deviated from their traditional roots in Taarab music and Unyago, native to her home country.


She was also an avid poet and enjoyed playing the drum, something that characterised nearly all her performances over the years.

Her last days saw the Zanzibar authorities clamp down on her performances due to her failing health, but she managed to get on stage at the annual Sauti Za Busara festival in February this year.

She is due to be buried tomorrow in line with her Muslim religion, which dictates that anyone who dies must be buried in 24 hours.

A well loved song that she did in 2010 with Tanzanian group Offside Trick, was testament to the fact that her golden age was no detriment to her musical prowess.

Her exact age was not known, but she is thought to have surpassed 100 years. Her full name was Fatuma Binti Baraka.

(Bi Kidude photo by Peter Bennet at Sauti Za Busara 2013)

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