Ugandan artist laid to rest after shock death

Popular Ugandan dancehall musician Emmanuel Mayanja - better known as AK47 - is dead. He passed away late at night on Monday 16 March in Mulago Hospital, where he had been rushed reportedly after falling in the washrooms at Dejavu Bar in the Kampala suburb of Kabalagala.

AK47. Photo: bigeye.ug
AK47. Photo: bigeye.ug

Details of his death remain unclear. Some reports suggest that he could have been assaulted at the bar before he collapsed. Initial reports said he slipped and fell in the bathroom and died of heart failure, but reports later suggested a possible poisoning or drug overdose.

According to the local New Vision newspaper, AK47 had been in the company of friends including the resident DJ named Bobi and singer Diamond Oscar. The bar is owned by Jeff Kiwanuka of Team No Sleep, AK47’s label. Local police boss Nusurah Kemigisha revealed that the postmortem from Mulago hospital showed that his skull cracked as a result of the fall.

The 25-year old singer hailed from a musical family made up of three other prominent singing brothers: Joseph Mayanja (aka Jose Chameleone), Pius Mayanja (aka Pallaso) and Douglas Mayanja (aka Weasel). His other siblings include Henry Kasozi, Josephine Mayanja and Humphrey Mayanja. AK47 sang with his brothers under Leone Island before recently joining Team No Sleep with Pallaso and Shebah. He had recently been born again and was working on his first gospel album. He had recently shared news of the birth of his twins.

Mayanja’s death has been felt throughout East Africa. Facebook has been inundated with pictures of the usually feuding brothers Chameleone and Weasel united in grief. In one picture, the tearful singers stand over AK47's body in hospital. Chameleone posted on Facebook: “Death Announcement! Death has robbed us of Emmanuel Mayanja also known as AK47. To all our friends may God give us all strength to stand in such a trying time. My Brother you have gone too soon. RIP.”

Kampala celebrities such as Eddy Kenzo, Juliana Kanyomozi and KFM's Roger Mugisha also took to Twitter and Facebook to share their condolences. In neighbouring Rwanda, prominent artists and radio personalities such as Knowless Butera, Uncle Austin, Arthur Nkusi, DJ Pius, Diana Teta and Martin Kasirye Tino expressed similar feelings of shock and loss.

AK47’s body was reportedly taken to National Theatre for public viewing on Wednesday. The funeral took place on Wedneday event at Lweza Catholic Church. According to Chameleone’s facebook page, after that his body was taken to their father’s home in Seguku Katale, where a night vigil was held. Photos of the funeral service can be viewed on the New Vision facebook page here. AK47’s body will be laid to rest today (Thursday) at the family’s ancestral burial ground in Busaato, Kalangalo on Mityana Road.

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