Bi Kidude

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Bi Kidude
Bi Kidude.png
Born Fatuma binti Baraka
c. 1910s
Sultanate of Zanzibar
Died 17 April 2013
Nationality Tanzanian
Occupation Singer
Style Taarab
Religion Islam
Awards WOMEX Award
Medal for Arts and Sports

Fatuma binti Baraka (c.1910s – 17 April 2013),[1][2] also known as Bi Kidude, was a Zanzibari-born Tanzanian Taarab singer. She has been called the "queen of Taarab and Unyago music" and was inspired by Siti binti Saad.[3] Born in the village of Mfagimaringo, Bi Kidude was the daughter of a coconut seller in colonial Zanzibar. Bi Kidude's exact date of birth is unknown and much of her life story is uncorroborated, giving her an almost mythical status.

In 2005, Bi Kidude received the WOMEX award for her outstanding contribution to music and culture in Zanzibar.

Early life[edit]

As a child, she was singled out for her fine voice and, in the 1920s, sang locally with popular cultural troupes, combining an understanding of music with an equally important initiation into traditional medicine. At age 13, after a forced marriage, she fled Zanzibar to mainland Tanzania. Bi Kidude toured mainland East Africa with a taarab ensemble, visiting the major coastal towns and inland as far west as Lake Victoria and Tanganyika.

She walked the length and the breadth of the country barefoot in the early 1930s, fleeing another unhappy marriage. In the 1930s, she ended up in Dar es Salaam, where she sang with Egyptian Taarab groups for many years. In the 1940s, she returned to Zanzibar, where she acquired a small mud hut to be her home. She is known for her role in the Unyago movement which prepares young Swahili women for their transition through puberty. She was one of the experts of this ancient ritual, performed only to teenage girls, which uses traditional rhythms to teach women to pleasure their husbands, while lecturing against the dangers of sexual abuse and oppression.

Much of her early life is uncorroborated as there is no published book or work documenting her life, apart from the video documentary "As old as my Tongue - The Myth and Life of Bi Kidude" by director Andy Jones. Some musical experts have called upon the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania to come up with a full Biography of this icon.

Fame within Zanzibar[edit]

Her fame has been widely acknowledged throughout the local Zanzibari and Zazibari tourism community, with the luxury hotel on the island, '236 Hurumzi', naming their restaurant 'Kidude' in her honour. She was often found residing within the lobby of this hotel in Stonetown.[citation needed]

Musical works[edit]

Bi Kidude has worked with various Taarab groups, but her first solo work is called Zanzibar, it demonstrates Bi Kidude at the peak of her performing power.

Awards and nominations[edit]


Order Country Year
Medal for Arts and Sports (Tanzania) - ribbon bar.png Medal for Arts and Sports  Tanzania 2012




  1. ^ BBC Africa
  2. ^ BBC Swahili
  3. ^ Rachel Hamada (17 April 2013). "Lover of life". Mambo magazine. 

See also[edit]

External links[edit]