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Patience Marie Josephine Kama Dabany (born 22 January 1944; member of the Order of Gabriela Silang), also known by the names Marie Joséphine Kama and Josephine Bongo, is a Gabonese singer and musician. Dabany served as the First Lady of Gabon from 1967 to 1988. For nearly 30 years she was married to Omar Bongo Ondimba, who was President of Gabon from 1967 to 2009. After their divorce, she successfully pursued a career in music. She is the mother of the current President of Gabon, Ali Bongo Ondimba.
Born as Marie Joséphine Kama in Brazzaville, Congo, Dabany's parents originated from the Bateke people in Haut-Ogooué region in what is now southeastern Gabon. Dabany grew up in a musical family and began to sing at an early age to her father's accordion accompaniment, while her brother played guitar. From there her path led to the church choir in Brazzaville and on to traditional song performances. Her mother was a traditional singer.
As First Lady
In 1958, she met Albert-Bernard Bongo, a young Gabonese student. At just 15 years of age, she married Albert on 31 October 1959. They had two children: a son Alain Bernard Bongo (9 February 1959) and a daughter, the late Albertine Amissa Bongo (1964–1993).
Marie Josephine Kama, later known as Josephine Bongo, was the first lady of Gabon. She and her then-husband founded the Gabonese Democratic Party. She became involved in many social projects, including the promotion of women's rights, charities for children, etc. Working with culture she created the musical group dedicated to the Gabonese Democratic Party, Kounabeli (Superstars), where she performed as lead singer.
In 1986 Joséphine and Albert Bongo divorced. Marie embarked on a career as a professional artist, under her new name, Patience Dabany. Her first album was Levekisha. Other albums followed such as Cheri Ton Disque Est Rayé, Associé, and Patience Dabany in 1994. In 1997, she released the album Nouvelle Attitude. The same year Dabany returned to her motherland and reestablished herself in Libreville. In 2001 she released Article 106. Her 2004 world music album Obomiyia allowed her to tour with James Brown in Europe. She recorded an album with Kounabeli in 2005; the song La Connaissance from this album was one of the anthems of her former husband (now using the name Omar Bongo Ondimba) used during the presidential campaign of 2005.
Patience Dabany collaborated with many artists such as El DeBarge, Tabu Ley Rochereau, and Tshala Muana. She is also the president of the Association of Gabonese Merchants and works in the field of charity.
- (French) Martin Safou, Patience Dabany en concert en France en juin prochain, Gabon Actu, 10 march 2012