The nationality of Manu Dibango, one of the best-known saxophone players in the world, has often been the source of gossip, particularly in the heat of the debate on dual citizenship in Cameroon. What is known for sure is that the famous bald man has a Cameroonian passport, he is therefore officially a native.
His relationship with France dates back to 1949; when the young man arrived in Marseille for his studies. At the time, Cameroon was nowhere near claiming its independence, and further from being a State. There was no talk of nationality (the law came about in 1968).
So, logically, Emmanuel D’joké Dibango became a French citizen in the 1955 France of René Coty. He adopts its customs and would not part with them in the name of sacrosanct patriotism for his country of origin.
In fact, talking about Cameroon, the octogenarian musician (he turned 83 in December) never stopped taking part in the musical and artistic life of his country of origin.
Manu Dibango even managed the national copyrights company (the defunct Cameroon Music Corporation). In the end, this Douala native is admittedly Cameroonian, but also certainly French.
In Cameroon, the law does not allow dual citizenship. But obviously, Manu is Manu and he is not the only one in this case…
Monique Ngo Mayag