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Africa: Bloggers pay tribute to Michael Jackson

Categories: Sub-Saharan Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Sudan, Uganda, Arts & Culture, Music
A Nigerian performer impersonates Michael Jackson at a concert in Abuja, Nigeria. Photo courtesy of N.R. on Flickr. [1]

A Nigerian performer impersonates Michael Jackson at a concert in Abuja. Photo courtesy of N.R. on Flickr.

The death of American pop star Michael Jackson has sparked an outpouring of emotion from nearly every corner of the world. Fans are sharing their memories of Jackson on his official site [2] in nearly a dozen languages, and the news made the front page of papers across the globe.

In Africa, bloggers are paying tribute to the King of Pop [3] by posting pictures and music videos. Writing from Nigeria, Oluniyi David Ajao offers a list [4] of his 26 favorite Michael Jackson songs, while Ugandan blogger Serakelz honors Jackson's memory with instructions [5] on how to do the moonwalk [6], a dance move created by Jackson.

In Ghana, Kent Mensah of Africa News collects [7] reactions to Jackson's passing on Twitter and Facebook:

“Africa loves Michael Jackson… from birth you learn how to survive and that Michael Jackson is music… the most famous musician ever,” Rasco Patterson said on twitter @chickenwang4 [8].

“Make this world a better place for me and you these are the words from a true legend like Michael Jackson. I will always remember you Waco Jaco,” Elton Afari, Accra, Ghana said on Facebook.

Echoing the sentiments of many African fans, Sudanese Thinker remembers [9] the pop star fondly:

In a lot of ways Michael Jackson was my childhood. His music filled it with lots of joy and beautiful memories. It uplifted me when I was down. It made me happy when I was sad.

And as awkward and flawed as he was, I will dearly miss him and his talents.

And Ugandan blogger Dickson Wasake honors [10] Jackson with a poem:

On the death of Michael Jackson;
The tears fill the earth,
Black or white;
The Liberian girl cries,
And so does dirty Diana,
even the stranger in Moscow,
We all scream;
“Oh it’s too bad; oh it’s too sad;
The king is gone too soon,
And I just can’t stop loving him!”

Though many bloggers are grieving over Jackson's death, others are questioning his eccentricities, including his changing skin color [11]. In Ghana, blogger Emmanuel Bensa laments [12]:

….the African culture tells us that we don't speak ill of the dead–and I am not about to do so anytime soon, but what I will do is to categorically state how much of a bad decision it was to become a white man.

Black is beautiful–and it will forever be so. As a Black Man, Michael Jackson had the looks, the voice; the talent. Oh what a shame.

For Ugandan blogger Rosebell, Jackson's death prompted reflections [13] on why the news pays so much more attention to the death of a pop star than to other tragedies:

As I watched the reaction around the world to Jackson’s death I wondered if really all humans can ever be equal. Not that I don’t recognise MJ’s contribution to music and his great talent, I would be naïve to do so, but I wonder why we no longer get the shock when we see death around the world. Everyone seemed to say oh he died young at 50, and then I thought that actually in Uganda life expectancy is at 50. Do you know in many African countries dying of old age is almost history? Do you know that this shock we feel at the loss MJ’s death, many Iraqis face it everyday? The fear for the loss of their own lives and the puzzles of how their children will grow, grips people in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Omar Basawad of Safari Notes dismisses [14] these criticisms, focusing on Jackson's legendary talent:

Whatever might be said about Michael Jackson, whatever one might think of him – one thing is certain: he defined an era.

“RIP MJ,” writes [15] Kenyan blogger WildeYearnings. “You now have the whole sky to moonwalk on…”