Ver Angola


Blood, sweat and tears at the funeral of Nagrelha, the 'General staff' of Angolan kuduro

The funeral of kudurista Nagrelha was marked this Tuesday by riots and violence at the entrance of the Santa Ana cemetery, in Luanda, where the huge crowd concentrated in the place was dispersed with tear gas, causing injuries to several people.

: EPA/Ampe Rogério
EPA/Ampe Rogério  

Lusa witnessed the chaotic stampede at the scene, with people passed out and injured, while many others lost slippers and shoes when they tried to escape the gas.

The morning started early, at Cidadela Stadium, where funeral ceremonies were held in honor of Gelson Caio Mendes "Nagrelha", the biggest star of kuduro and the Sambizanga neighborhood, an inspirational idol for many young Angolans who admire the fame and success achieved by a son of the "ghetto".

But the great mobilization that we were already witnessing in Sambizanga, where the "Kuduro General Staff" gathered troops the night before, suggested that the day ahead would be complicated, which led the authorities to close Avenida Deolinda Rodrigues, one of the main accesses to the city, to free the vicinity of the cemetery that was reserved only for Nagrelha's funeral.

At 9:30 am, a crowd of Angolans, mainly young people, were already advancing towards the cemetery, in a colorful and aggressive procession, where chants and slogans were chanted, accompanied by the shots of the "raters" of the thousands of bikers who accompanied the parade.

Everyone wanted to say goodbye to "Naná", the affectionate name as Nagrelha was known, some imitating the bleached tone of their hair, others wearing military uniforms honoring their "General Staff" and there were even those who walked naked through the crowd.

"All for kuduro", as they say.

Death came early for the 36-year-old artist who returned to Luanda a few months ago, after a season for treatment in Portugal, having been hospitalized in the old Luanda sanatorium, now the Cardeal Alexandre do Nascimento hospital complex, due to lung cancer.

Earlier this year, the kudurista, who regularly participated in MPLA rallies organized by the former President of the Republic, José Eduardo dos Santos, who also died this year, gave a controversial interview to the artist Flysquad, in which he got angry with the interviewer when he questioned him about "Zedu", who claimed to be the "father" who fed him.

They left with a few months of difference, but between the institutional grief of the state funeral of "Zedu" and the commotion of the farewell of the "staff" of the kuduro, a world was made.

And the young people, from all the peripheral neighborhoods of Luanda, who were not bothered by the partisan collage of Nagrelha, showed that their world is the biggest, honoring the artist with a funeral procession never seen in Luanda, according to several people heard by Lusa.

As they marched, many cried for "Zedu's son", while others proclaimed "Nagrelha Presidente. João Lourenço, deputy", in an implicit criticism of the current head of state.

Everything went well, until all the explosive energy turned into chaos next to the cemetery where Lusa witnessed the panic of the crowd that tried to escape the tear gas grenades.

Some people reported seeing two dead police officers and vandalized shops and vehicles are visible in videos circulating on social media. Lusa has not been able to prove this information so far, but witnessed a burned police motorcycle, as well as burning tires.

Lusa tried to interview some young people who took refuge in a gas station near the cemetery, including a person who said he saw a woman trampled by the mob, but the interview was interrupted when the people were forced to disperse by the intervention police who burst into place.

Legendary Obama, from the Cacuaco neighborhood, was one of those who stayed, showing that he was "very sorry" for the death of the "Kuduro General Staff" and for the behavior of the population.

"Attention population, Nagrelha was not a mess, we are from kuduro, kuduro is not damage. Guys, I would appreciate you celebrating the day of November 22, 2022, let's respect the death of our brother. As a kuduro, I appeal to others colleagues, fans, sambizanguenses, cazenguenses, vianenses, (no) let's behave badly in the death of our brother", he exhorted, regretting not having been able to reach the cemetery because of the "confusion".

Chocarang, an electronic music artist, who lived with Nagrelha, praised the musician when he left Cidadela for the difference he made in music and the way he performed and sang and "this made him the leader of kuduro", he told Lusa.

He was "a super cool neighborhood guy who dealt with everyone," he described, praising the "simplicity" of the artist who became famous but didn't forget his origins.

Coming from the Estalagem, Sambapito do Charme also wanted, together with his friends, to celebrate a kudurista who "gave a lot of style".

"Nagrelha dos Lambas, our brother, that's why we're here to give that maximum determination for the general staff of kuduro. What Nagrelha did, there's no way we can stay at home", he underlined, saying that he came on foot to say goodbye to this father, "friend and charismatic".

"We are here to make kuiar (please) highly (...) the president of the kuduro style", he reinforced.

Lourenço Inácio, better known as Sete Cores, has a "look" that gives him his name and says that it was because of his "brother" Nagrelha that he also became a musician, welcoming the encouragement he gave to many young people to leave delinquency.

"I also want to make my contribution, I am very sorry for this loss of kuduro, of our Nagrelha, may his soul rest in peace. Angola is the world, but this is leaving us shaken, so many shootings, in the midst of gas", he told Lusa, as the tear gas firing resumed.

"Our mentor, our boss, our commander-in-chief, our legendary kuduro", shouted the young people, before escaping again through the streets of the Angolan capital, this Tuesday invaded by the uncontrollable emotion of those crying for Naná, the one who said that "death and sleep are children of the same father, but one does not know how to play".


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