Nigerians were shocked when the death of reggae legend, Majek Fashek was announced by Omenka Uzoma, his manager on Tuesday. He died in his sleep in New York, United States, according to his manager.
Majek Fashek was popular for his 1988 album Prisoner of Conscience, which included the multiple award-winning single “Send Down the Rain”
But a nagging drug related challenge affected his health in the mid-2000s. He struggled without success to regain musical prominence.
The Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki described the musician, whose real name was Majekodunmi Fasheke as one of Edo State’s finest cultural exports.
Majek Fashek cultivated fans across the world through his soulful music and brought global acclaim to his name and birthplace, having been born by an Edo mother.
“Fashek, who took the world by storm with his enigmatic talent, remains one of the finest cultural icons of his age and would be remembered for his disarming craft and skill,”Obaseki said in a statement
He said that, “Majek Fashek was born by an Edo mother, grew up in Benin City, and stood as a shining light for youths in the state to emulate.
“He remains a force to reckon with, serving as an inspiration to Benin boys and girls and many more people across races and tribes. He will remain in our hearts as one of those who defied the odds to reach global acclaim at a time no one gave him much of a chance.
“His skill shone brightly and the world could not but look his way and acknowledge his undeniable gift. He will be sorely missed.”
The governor extended his condolences to the musician’s immediate family, friends and fans across the world, praying that God grants them the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
Uzoma, Majek’s manager wrote on his Instagram that it was “a time for us all to celebrate his achievements, and not mourn. He’s done a lot for Nigeria and Africa.
Majek Fashek was mostly influenced by Bob Marley and copied his reggae musical style and looks. He made waves in the 1980s Nigerian society then dominated by highlife and juju music.
His 1991 release of ‘So Long for Too Long’ was laced with a strong political call for Africans to rise up, both in the continent and those in the diaspora and recognized civil rights activists like Marcus Garvey and Martin Luther King in the United States.
He also wrote the song Free Africa, Free Mandela, which called for the release of Nelson Mandela, the leader of the African National Congress in South Africa.
Majek Fashek was a singer-songwriter and guitarist. He worked with various artists worldwide including Tracy Chapman, Jimmy Cliff, Michael Jackson, Snoop Dogg, and Beyoncé.