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Anne-Marie Nzie, ‘golden voice of Cameroon’, dies at 84

Yaoundé, Cameroon | AFP |

Popular Cameroonian singer Anne-Marie Nzie has died at the age of 84 following a career spanning six decades, state media reported Wednesday.

Nicknamed the “golden voice of Cameroon”, the singer died Tuesday evening in a hospital in the capital Yaounde where she had been admitted several days ago, Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV) said.

Celebrated saxophonist Manu Dibango, reacting to the news, said Nzie had not so much a “a voice of gold” as a “voice of diamonds”.

“She was unique,” he told CRTV. “She survived so many things and kept her voice right up to the end.”

Born in southern Cameroon, Nzie was considered the matriarch of the country’s music scene. The government gave her a car emblazoned with the phrase “the golden voice of Cameroon”.

Her biggest hits included 1984’s “Liberte”, which became a rallying cry for opponents of President Paul Biya demanding democratic reforms. Nzie did not approve of the opposition’s adoption of her song.

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