Madagascar: Singer Ninie Doniah has died at the age of 56

The Malagasy mourn their queen of Salegy. On Sunday, November 19, the singer from Nosy Be passed away at the age of 56, in the north of the island, on the road between Nosy Be and Diego. Seriously ill, she died during her medical evacuation which was supposed to allow her to leave the prison on Perfume Island to reach the Diego hospital.

The queen of Salegy, Ninie Doniah, has died at the age of 56. © Screenshot Ninie Doniah Official/Facebook

By: RFI Follow


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She was an icon in a traditionally male-dominated music genre. Ninie Donia owes her fame in particular to her words. She was the first to sing committed lyrics for the cause of women. "She was a committed feminist, who had the particularity of not demeaning men, but of enhancing women," says her friend, Brain Kotoson, a professor of art and culture at the University of Diego Suarez, who visited her five months ago.


For her, man is man, but that doesn't mean that women should be less considered, less valued and valued. It has always been a question of women emancipating themselves and finding their own means of subsistence, of safeguarding their own heritage. She was also in this mindset of telling women that at some point, you have to know how to say no, you stop the fees, know how to say stop [to men]," he adds about the woman who was serving a 19-month sentence.

"Protecting local communities"

In recent years, the artist had also used his notoriety to defend the most disadvantaged by fighting a final battle that landed him straight in prison. She had been convicted of endangering state security and disturbing public order after leading protests against land grabbing in the archipelago.

Supporting citizens and peasants in the defense of their land and natural resources, "the artist Ninie Donia was imprisoned because she carried out various actions to protect local communities in Nosy Be from the grabbing of their land against rich Malagasy and Karana, i.e. economic operators of Indo-Pakistani origin. Ninie Donia was involved in the defence of the inhabitants, in the land conflict between them and the Sirama sugar company," explains Mamy Rakotondrainibe, president of the Tany Collective, for the defence of Malagasy lands.

In addition to the tributes that have flooded social networks since Sunday, many voices are also being raised to criticize the current government, accused of having put her in prison because her positions disturbed the economic interests of some.

Read alsoThe new face of Malagasy pop

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