Rhumba maestro General Defao is dead

General Defao

Rhumba and Lingala sensation Lulendo Matumona aka Le General Defao has died at the age of 62.

He died on Monday, December 27, at the Laquintinie Hospital in Douala, Cameroon, where he was admitted.

He succumbed to reported complications arising from Covid-19.

He was scheduled to perform in Doula Cameroon on New Year’s Eve.

Born in Kinshasa on December 31, 1958, General Defao started singing in 1976 as part of Orchestre Suka Movema.

He also had brief stints with Fogo Stars and Somo West before joining Grand Zaiko Wawa and later becoming an integral part of Choc Stars.

It was during this period that Defao honed his singing and songwriting skills, working with household names at the time like Ben Nyamabo and Bozi Boziana.

Defao arrived in Cameroon last week and had been engaged in rehearsals for his New Year’s Eve concert when he felt discomfort, according to reports.

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Defao was taken to Laquintinie Hospital where he lost the battle, with some sources indicating that his diabetic condition had contributed to his following in the footsteps of his music idol Papa Wemba, who died on stage in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, in 2016.

The son of Louise and Ronald Defeo spent 18 years in exile, living mainly in Kenya and away from the Kabila family until 2019 when Felix Tshisekedi took over in Kinshasa.

While he was outgoing and friendly just about with anyone, Defao kept his family life locked in the closet, with information about his children hard to find. However, the singer has been married and divorced three times.

He first married Geraldine Gates in 1989 but ended the liaison in 1993 to take in Barbara Puco a year later. After five years with Puco, Defao called time on the marriage and kept his peace from women until he could not resist Nissa Burkhalter, whom he married in 2012 only to end the union three years later.

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