The Arusha Times

Issue 00550

Jan 17 - 23, 2009

issn 0856 - 9135 


Departed singer brings town to standstill
His last performance was the ‘Amazing Grace!’

By Arusha Times reporter


People queing up to pay last respect to the Late Fanuel Sedikia (Photo by Valentine Nkwame)


If a bomb was dropped in Arusha last weekend it probably would have caused the same effect as the funeral of the late Fanuel Sedekia, the pop-Gospel singer who died in Israel early this month.

The local stadium, at which people gathered to pay last respect to the deceased was  fully-packed  to the extend of security personnel being summoned to maintained peace as people wept, cried out loud and a number of them fainted amid the pandemonium.

Sedekia who died aged 36 leaving behind a five-month pregnant wife and two children wasn’t as popular during his life as he was after he died. The thousands who filled  both the Sheikh Amri Abeid Stadium and the adjacent Col. Middleton road on Saturday January 9, 2009 would probably never have turned up in such multitude if the late singer was conducting a concert at the same venue when he was alive.

Chaos marred the occasion as crowds pushed and shoved their way into the venue prompting the organizers to seek police help. The crowds also marched alongside the hearse carrying Sedekia’s coffin all the way from the Stadium to the Njiro burial grounds later that afternoon.

According to Dr. Christopher Mwakasege the popular preacher in whose entourage the former singer had gone to Jerusalem last December, Sedekia was in the midst of playing the classic hymn ‘Amazing Graze,’ on his piano when he was taken ill and rushed to Poriah Hospital.

“He was diagnosed with high blood glucose levels reaching 700 milligrams per deciliter,” said Mwakasege adding that the normal level should clock at 120 mg/dL which means the singer’s diabetic condition was more than serious. He died on  the eve of January 5.

People lined up on either sides of Moshi-Arusha highway on Friday, January 8 just to get a glimpse of the vehicle carrying the late Sedekia’s body which arrived that day aboard Ethiopian airline plane and was met a Kilimanjaro airport by hundreds of people.

His reception was almost similar to those accorded to former American presidents, Bill Clinton and George Bush when they visited Arusha in 2000 and 2008 respectively.

A concert held in Sedekia’s honor at the Arusha Meru Secondary School grounds on the same Friday was also attended by hundreds of people. His latest and final studio album and video ‘Katika Ibada’ recorded a boost in sales around local outlets in Arusha and is still getting frequent air playing in local Fm stations.

Sedekia debuted in music world in 1998 with his first compilation ‘Unaweza’ but it was his second album, ‘Kwa Sababu ya Pendo’ released in 2001 which made him popular around East Africa spawning hits like the title track itself and the sing-along ‘Hatukuwatupa watu watatu?’ (Didn’t we throw three people?). This was followed by ‘Unaweza-tena’ in 2003 and other recordings later on.

He went to Israel on the 18th of December, 2008 alongside 58 other people in Mwakasege’s entourage comprising of delegates from Arusha, Kilimanjaro and Dar-es-salaam. One fateful evening as Sedekia sat down to play the hymn ‘Amazing grace’ he collapsed.




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