West African singer DJ Arafat dies in crash

DJ Arafat -- real name Ange Didier Huon -- had a massive audience in French-speaking western and central African countries.

DJ Arafat -- real name Ange Didier Huon -- had a massive audience in French-speaking western and central African countries.

AFP/Issouf Sanogo

ABIDJAN - DJ Arafat, an Ivorian singer with a huge following in francophone Africa, has died after a road accident in Abidjan, evoking a wave of tributes to the award-winning star of the "coupe-decale" dance genre.

"Death of artist DJ Arafat... today at 8am as a result of a road accident overnight," Ivory Coast state broadcaster RTI announced on Monday.

Hundreds of fans gathered on Monday, weeping and chanting "Arafat cannot die" outside the hospital in Abidjan's Cocody suburb where the 33-year-old singer died, AFP reporters at the scene said. 

According to messages and pictures circulating on social media, he had been driving a motorbike on Sunday night and smashed into a car. Critically injured, the singer was taken to the hospital where he later died. 

Born in Abidjan in 1986, DJ Arafat -- real name Ange Didier Huon -- had a massive audience in French-speaking western and central African countries.

He issued 11 albums, mainly of "coupe-decale" -- a dance music form combining rapid percussion, choppy rhythms with hip hop-style vocals.

"We are all in shock," Ickx Fontaine, an Ivorian producer and specialist in hip hop told AFP. "He was a real singer... he gave a new breath of life to coupe-decale."

Ivorian football star Didier Drogba, a former Chelsea and international player, posted a picture of DJ Arafat on his Twitter account with a heart symbol. 

Ivorian Culture Minister Maurice Kouakou Bandaman expressed his condolences and said a tribute would be held to honour the musician.

DJ Arafat was named "Best Artist of the Year" at the Ivorian Coupe-Decale Awards in 2016 and 2017.

Among his hits were "Kpangor", "Zoropoto", "Enfant Beni" and his latest single "Moto, Moto".

Music managers said the singer was known for his love of motorbikes.

Source
AFP