The final resting journey of Nigerian music legend, Augustine Okeleke Onwubuya, aka Ras Kimono who died at the age of 60 on June 10, began yesterday with a lying-in-state service held at the COSON house, Ikeja.
Late Ras Kimono’s interment will be on August 25 at his home town, Onicha-Olona in Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta State.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State is expected to attend the reception and also be on ground to receive Kimono’s corpse in Asaba.
The Governor of Delta state, Dr Okowa had described Ras Kimono as a man loved by all and sundry, while saying he expects a thunderous crowd to grace the ceremonies as a sign of respect to the music legend.
Also expected to attend his burial ceremony is the Rastas Confraternity of Africa which has been led by a Nigerian. The will be led a procession August 24 to the Cenotaph in Asaba where there will be another lying in state, after which there will be wake keep at Onicha-Olona later on the same day.
The corpse will depart Asaba on August 25 for Onicha-Olona where his remains will be committed to mother earth.
The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode has also shown interest in the burial through his Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Steve Ayorinde.
Ras Kimono was born in Ekeleke Elumelu, Delta State, Nigeria, He started out his career as a student of Gbenoba Secondary School Agbor and later as a member of the Jastix Reggae Ital, alongside Majek Fashek, Amos McRoy Jegg and Black Rice Osagie.
His music was greatly influenced by the poverty, inequality and hardship he witnessed in his early life. He released his solo debut album Under Pressure on the Premier Music label in 1989, which propelled him to instant continental stardom.
He later released a series of hit albums, touring all over Africa, Europe and the United States, promoting his brand of reggae music. He won several awards including the Nigeria Music Awards, Fame Music Awards and many more. In 2010, he was still performing to a loyal fan-base of all ages and his music is still played on radio, throughout West Africa.
Kimono served a long apprenticeship on the Nigerian music circuit, experimenting with a number of styles, before making his late 1980s breakthrough as a reggae singer. Together with his Massive Dread Reggae Band. Kimono released his debut album, Under Pressure in 1989, accompanied by the popular single, “Rum-Bar Stylee”, this revealed both a Jamaican and native African influence.
His strongly polemical lyrics produced album sales of over 100,000 copies, and a fervent following for his advocacy of social change. His is thought to left behind 3 wives and about 5 children with his last child reportedly born in 2013.