The Country That Made Africa Dance In The 1980s and 1990s

Updated: Apr 23

Cameroon is often considered as Africa in miniature or citadel of African music. The country with 250 ethnicities and languages, which involves a lot of dancing rhythms and subsequently various types of traditional music.

However, one unique sound was enjoyed and loved in Africa and beyond Africa. The genre was called Makossa. It is Cameroon's best-known music, which means "Dance" in Douala – a native language of Cameroon.

Makossa was so embraced that it had won millions of fans beyond Cameroon, especially in the 80s and 90s when Cameroon was a gold mine of talented artists with music hits one after another. Cameroon music was loved and danced all over Africa. It was the golden age of Cameroonian music as it made an entire continent dance on its rhythm.

From North Africa to Austral Africa and from West to East Africa. Every African could tell you the name of a Cameroonian artist or a song from that era that they grow up with or listen to.

Other Cameroonian genres were also popular during that era, such as Ben-skin and Mangambeu; however, Makossa took over the world.

In the 1960s, Modern Makossa developed, and it became very popular - the most popular in the country. Cameroon has produced lively dance music. The best-known artist in the international scene is legendary saxophone player Manu Dibango, with his 1970s hit song “Soul Makossa,” which became the first African song to reach the US top 40.

Africa’s best-known jazz saxophonist Manu Dibango popularized Cameroon Makossa outside Africa. His hit single, “Soul Makossa” (1972) became an international hit.

Or the art to inspire the biggest artist of all time, Michael Jackson, with “Wanna Be Starting Something (1983). As a result, it helped to produce several Pan African Superstars through the 70s, 80s, and even 90s.

Following Dibango, several musicians electrified Makossa in an attempt at making it more popular and accessible outside Cameroon. Makossa has also become popular in Europe.

Dibango also inspired Rihanna with “please don’t stop the music” (2009) as well as his re-recording of that song with Akon, the Fugees “Cowboys.”

Without much stress, we compiled a list of favorite Cameroonian artists and songs of that era. Enjoy the list.

Click on the title of the song to play the music video

  1. Manu Dibango – Soul Makossa, 1972

  2. Sam Fan Thomas "African Typic Collection", 1984 -This song was such a success that it was played in clubs all over Africa and has inspired many African artists so much that the song has been remixed all over the world. "Zimo"Nelson Mandela ;"Si Tcha

  3. Elvis Kemayo -Africa music

  4. Tom Yoms & Bebey Manga - Na Meya

  5. Pierre Didy Tchakounté - Makeladia

  6. Talla André Marie -Je vais à Yaoundé par Ledoux paradis

  7. BÉBÉ Manga - AmiO

  8. Tom Yoms & Charlotte Mbango -Sengato

  9. Marthe Zambo -Avec toi

  10. Henri Dikongué - C'est La Vie

  11. Charlotte Mbango "Konkai Makossa"

  12. Ben Decca & Grace Decca - Osi dimbea

  13. Prince Eyango -You must calculer

  14. Bebey Black - Désir, plaisir, Souffrir (1985)

  15. Ndedi Dibango- Eyo Mè

  16. Zangalewa - Maladie difficile

  17. Zangalewa - Un Bébé

  18. Grace Decca - Bwanga Bwam (1989)

  19. Dina Bell - Sophie

  20. Tchana Pierre & Tom Yoms - Therese (Age D'or)

  21. Joe Mboule - Osi Linga (1986)

  22. Hoïgen Ekwalla Makossa Size

  23. Sally Nyolo - Tam Tam

  24. Elvis Kemayo - Mama

  25. Pierre Tchana & Orchestre Poly Rhytmo- Il N'est Jamais Trop Tard

  26. Prince nico mbarga - Aki special

  27. Samson- chaud gars Bôlo Cellucam

  28. Nguime Manulo – fundament

  29. Solo Muna - Ma doudou

  30. Toto Guillaume - Mba na na é (1981)

  31. Bill Loko - Nen Lambo (1980)

  32. Guy Lobé - Mon ami à moi

  33. Koko Ateba- ndolam

  34. Henry Njoh-Melodies d'antan

  35. Zangalewa - Waka Waka

  36. Eko Roosevelt : Njuke Bonene (1978) - Badihani (70's)

  37. Ben Decca - Se oa nu.

  38. Sam Mbemde - Alabe

  39. Eboa Lotin - Elimba Dikalo

  40. Axel Mouna - Juventus (1981)

  41. Gilly Ndoumbé - Things Like This (1990 )

  42. Jean Paul Mondo - Sona Papa (1983)

  43. Lapiro De Mbanga - Fogoh Mawoh

  44. Hoïgen Ekwalla - Chat Botté (1988)

  45. Geo Masso - A muto ( 1981)

  46. Sergeo Polo et Njohreur – Le Mari d’autrui

  47. Belka Tobis- Solitude

  48. Njoume Maurice-Maimouna

  49. J-C Mbimbe - Dibumbe (1984)

  50. Petit Pays - Mumi

  51. Abeti Masikini - Je Suis Fachée

  52. Kotto Bass - Concours de patience

After being a huge success in the 80s and 90s, the Cameroonian favorite music has suffered a major setback after a prosperous period in the 1980s and 90s.

Cameroon music is unique and popular worldwide. It is listened and watched all over the world. The growth of social media and communication technologies has helped to bring the music of this country to a broader international community.

Now, with the rise of Afrobeats, it seems that Cameroon music is entering another golden era. There is a new generation of Cameroonian musicians to watch that are making Africa dance once again with their Afrobeats sound. Artists like : Locko ( Je serai là, Sawa romance, Ndutu, Thank you Lord,Let go ), Mr. Leo ( E Go Better, Jamais- Jamais, désole), Salatiel( Qu'est ce qui n'a pas marcher, Rembourser, Anita, comme ça ), Daphne ( ne lâche pas,avec toi , better boyfriend ), Tzy Panchak ( song: Ngueme, Mad 4 Yu' Luv, Na so ), Stanley Enow ( Adore you ), Magasco ( Bella, Calling my driver), of course Charlotte Dipanda ( Cameroonian pop Queen; Sista ,Elle n'a pas vu), Blanche bailey (Mimbayeur ) Gasha (Faya di Burn) ,Joyce Babatunde, Vernyuy Tina, Meshi, Lesline ( My way cover ), Daniela Ahanda ( poser) Kameni ( Kameni Mashup ,Pain killer cover, Mashup2 ), Ambe ( Don't go ,Na For Bafut (Bonne Année), Ewube ( Fall 4 u,Stay), Zinnia( Overload) and Nabila( Ca ira, Tromper).

There are many other artists that are also talented that were not included here, but thanks to YouTube and other social media, you can easily discover their music.

Did you grow up listening to Makossa? Have you heard about this music before? Please comment and share below to spread the Traveler butterfly love! And for more posts like this, don't forget to subscribe.

the country that made African dance