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He was one of the most beloved face and voice of Afro-Caribbean viewers and listeners. Journalist, host and producer Amobé Mévégué died in Paris on September 8, a victim of devastating malaria. He was 52 years old.
We will no longer see this big, smiling, smiling man with a smooth head roaming the corridors of the radios and TV sets of the France Médias Monde group, at RFI and France 24, but also other media such as TV5 Monde, MCM Africa, France Ô or the pan-African channel Ubiznewstv-OM5 which he himself founded.
Born in 1968 in Yaoundé, Cameroon, the man then named Alain arrived in France at the age of 5. Student in Paris, in communication and cinema, he lets show through his studies short film, Correct outfit required (1986), the main areas of interest in his life: African cultures, youth, diaspora, memory and transmission, always approached with a touch of relaxation so as not to risk boredom.
His professional life began in 1987 in the studios of Tabala FM, the first African radio station established in France in the heart of the Parisian district of Barbès. In the great movement of free radio which flourished in France, Amobé began to draw its line: to highlight African creativity and register it in the French cultural space. A way of fighting against racism, by proudly claiming to have drawn its inspiration from its great elders from currents of negritude or Pan-Africanism, from Aimé Césaire to Cheikh Anta Diop, via the filmmaker Med Hondo.
Professional and committed
From that time on, he invited all those who make the news to the air: musicians, writers, actors, visual artists, filmmakers, choreographers, stylists from the continent or its diasporas. Many artists won over by the professionalism and commitment of the animator will then forge solid long-term relationships with him.
From 1994 to 2006, Amobé Mévégué took the helm of the program “Plein Sud” on RFI, thus opening up to a very large French-speaking audience. Throughout the broadcasts (co-hosted with Benson Diakité), he continues to develop the cultural puzzle of a continent whose talents extend to Brazil, the United States, the West Indies …
This meeting is also dedicated to millions of young Africans thirsty for visibility and recognition. Amobé values their initiatives without forgetting to “pick up” in passing the policies that he considers responsible for their difficulties.
On television, the host offers many cultural events on TV5 Monde and France 24: from “Acoustic” to “Africanités”, including “On the bill” or “400 million critics”. He is also involved in event communication, always at the crossroads of the worlds of entertainment, cinema and fashion.
Never run out of ideas
The 2000s saw the cultural entrepreneur that he was already at heart flourish. He successively founded a paper magazine, Afrobiz, then Ubiznews television – visible in forty countries – an “infotainment” cocktail (information and entertainment). The premises of the chain, in the XIIIe arrondissement of Paris, become a welcome hub for projects in development or the launch of various initiatives.
Amobé’s latest coup was to set up a prestigious online event during the Covid-19 pandemic: the “WAN Show 2.0” (World Wide Afro Network). Nearly 200 personalities from all walks of life participated: Youssou N’Dour, Chris Martin (Coldplay), Naomi Campbel, Kassav, Angélique Kidjo, Gad Elmaleh, former Ghanaian president Jerry Rawlings, etc. Supported by Unesco, the WAN had two editions, in May 2020 and 2021, during Africa Day.
Never short of ideas, Amobé was preparing the production of a feature film and a series with Netflix. He also aspired to create a visual archive bank of this continent to which he has never ceased to feel intimately connected despite a life spent in France – he has also always kept his Cameroonian passport. Worker, smuggler, popular big brother and unifier, attentive to creators as much as to anonymous members of the general public, Amobé Mévégué leaves a void commensurate with his popularity. That of a great mediator, literally.