Ndombe Opetum’s biography, fact, career, awards, net worth and life story

PeopleNdombe Opetum’s biography, fact, career, awards, net worth and life story IntroCongolese musicianWas Musician
ComposerFrom Democratic Republic of the CongoType MusicGendermaleBirth

3 March 1944


24 May 2012
(aged 68 years)

Star signPisces

Ndombe Opetum (March 3, 1944 – May 24, 2012), popularly known as Pepe Ndombe, was a an Odemba recording artist, composer and vocalist, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). He was once a member of the seminal soukous band TPOK Jazz which dominated the Congolese music scene from the 1960s through the 1980s.

Music career with OKJazz

Ndombe Opetum was the lead vocalist for Afrisa International, prior to joining TPOK Jazz, in the mid 1970s, after Sam Mangwana had left the band. He came over to OKJazz with horn player Empopo Loway, and he stayed with the band until it split up in December 1993, four years after the death of founder François Luambo Makiadi. Contemporary band members at the time included vocalists: Wuta Mayi, Michel Boyibanda, Josky Kiambukuta and Youlou Mabiala, and rhythm guitarist Simaro Lutumba and solo guitarist Franco himself.

Ndombe Opetum is credited with composing the following songs for the band, among others:

  • Voyage na Bandundu
  • Mawe
  • Mabe Yo Mabe – in 1977
  • Coupe du Monde – in 1979
  • Youyou – in 1980
  • Nayebi Ndenge Bakolela Ngai – in 1982
  • Angela – in 1989
  • Tawaba – in 1989

Music career post OKJazz

Following the death of Franco in 1989, TPOK Jazz continued to play together for four years. Simarro would take care of the musicians and the family would take care of the lawyers, record labels and other technical stakeholders. The musicians would share 70% of receipts, while the Franco family would keep 30% of all receipts. However, differences developed between the musicians and the Franco family and the band split up in December 1993. Ndombe Opetum, together with Simaro Lutumba, Josky Kiambukuta and about thirty former OK Jazz members. He was also a founding member of the band Bana OK in January 1994 and was a member of the band up until his death in May 2012.

Personal life

Pepe Ndombe Opetum was born in Bandundu Province in what was then known as the Belgian Congo in 1944. He was educated in Leopoldville (now Kinshasa). He was married and was the father of nine children. His fifth offspring is a son, born in Kinshasa on 3 March 1974, who is also a professional vocalist in the DRC. The young Ndombe calls himself Baby Ndombe or Baby Black, and has performed to large audiences in Africa, Europe and North America, targeting primarily the African Diaspora.


Pepe Ndombe Opetum died of cardiac arrest on May 24, 2012, in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. At the time of his death, his age was reported as 68 years old.


  • Photo of Ndombe Opetum Owned By Radio Okapi