Departed singer brings town
His last performance was the ‘Amazing Grace!’
By Arusha Times reporter
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.
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
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
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.