It was like a blow below the belt for many music fans in the country upon hearing the sad news on the passing on in Dar es Salaam of vet- eran musician Mabrouk Hamis Omar, popularly known as Babu Njenje, on May 24, ironically on the first day of Eid el-Fitr day.
According to the flam- boyant musician’s friends and relatives, Mabrouk died following a long illness and was buried at the Kisutu Cemetery in Dar es Salaam.
Many music fans in the country, especially those who belong to the ‘old school’ category would fondly remember the local music group known as The Revolution, which had its origins in Tanga before moving on and settling in Dar es Salaam.
The late Mabrouk, born in 1947 in Pangani, Tanga, had teamed up with a cream of local musicians, including John Kitine, Abdallah Dulla, Hemed Salim Chuki, Mohamed Mrisho, Waziri Ally and Keppy Kiombile to form the Kilimanjaro Band, later popularly known as ‘Wana Njenje’ owing to his popular hit ‘Njenje’.
He had a long musical career having started sing- ing with a school musical group in Tanga while still a student in the mid-1960s at Karimjee (Usagara) Sec- ondary School before join- ing another Tanga-based band, Love Bugs.
The late Mabrouk reportedly suffered health complications, having had to fight a long battle with a stroke. He resided along Mindu Street at Upanga West in the city.
Perhaps what many music fans did not know is that Mabrouk and Shakila Saidi, Tanga-born ‘Taarab’ music icon, shared many things in common they were born on the same day, same month and same year.