.According to sources close to the family, the rapper who became famous for his hit song Mi Mmasai, died on Thursday night at Mission Usa River Hospital in Arusha after a long spell of illness. The rapper reportedly succumbed to leukemia after a long battle with the disease.
The news of his death has left the entertainment industry reeling in shock as the topic became one of the most trending issues on the social networks in the country.Mr Ebbo whose musical talents were nurtured at Kisosora Lutheran Church as a choir member did much of his work in Tanga under his label Motika Records.
He is survived by a widow and two daughters. According to family sources, burial arrangements are underway at his Arusha home and the singer is expected to be laid to rest on Monday at his home village.
Messages of tribute were pouring in with close associate Fred Mariki aka Mkoloni saying Mr Ebbo was a hardworking artiste who was also creative and had a vision for Bongo’s rap music. “It is rather shocking to hear of his death and to say the least I am at a loss for words,” he said. Master Jay of the MJ Studios in Dar es Salaam said the news was devastating, adding that he was sad given the fact that the late Mr Ebbo was full of energy and dreams.
“I met him once when he came to work at my studios but you could see that he had the desire to work hard,” said the producer. The rapper rose to fame in early 2000 when Bongo Flava was just beginning to gain roots in Tanzania and East Africa in general, with his unique style which was driven by the Maasai intonation of Kiswahili.
Dressed in traditional garb, he always left audiences spellbound with hits such as Bado, Kamongo and Mimi Mmasai. In most of his compositions, which were recorded at his Motika Studios, the lanky Mr Ebbo was proud of his Maasai roots, a feat that won him several admirers beyond Tanzania’s boundaries.
His political, economic and social conscience won him great praise that in 2003 he was signed by the government to head a campaign on the virtues of privatisation.
The campaign was aimed at educating the public about the benefits of privatisation in Tanzania. The efforts saw Mr Ebbo record a single, Ubinaf-sishaji, which translates as privatisation.