Koffi or Koffi Olomide Real/full name is Antoine Christophe Agepa Mumba, Born on July 13 1956 in Kisangani
,Democratic Republic of Congo. His father Charles
Agbepa is Congolese (from the Gbandi tribe) while his mother Amy is
of Sierra Leonean and Congolese descent (Songye tribe
region). His mother named him Koffi which means Friday as is the
tradition in parts of West Africa where children are named based on
the day of the week they are born.
At the time of his birth, Koffi’s mother was in poor health, a
condition that was triggered by depression caused by loneliness and
isolation. Koffi’s father had abandoned her and was considering
leaving his wife and children altogether. She was so depressed that
she could not breastfeed newly born Koffi. To make matters worse,
Koffi was in poor health and most people thought he would not
survive beyond infancy. He was nicknamed Antoine Makila Mabe
(Antoine bad blood).
Even in childhood, he showed signs of being passionate about music.
At age 7 he would go around singing a song “Soso ameli Ngando”
which means The Chicken has swallowed a Crocodile. He would sing it
so often that it became his nickname. Nobody knows the origin of
that song, not even Koffi. By his teens he would simulate songs by
famous musicians but add his own spin on them. He was especially
enamored with the music of Tabu Ley.
He soon became adept at writing his own songs. One neighbour was so
impressed by Koffi’s songwriting skills that he offered to teach him
how to play the guitar. Koffi would soon be borrowing the guitar
often to practice on his own.
Meanwhile Koffi also excelled in the classroom. He was born into a
family where education took precedence above everything else. He has
earned a bachelors degree in Business and Economics from Bordeaux
University and a masters in Mathematics from the University of
His father was not keen on Koffi’s musical career. It was his elder
brother Johnny Ko who encouraged Koffi to pursue a career in music
and even convinced their father to let Koffi pursue his musical
dreams. He commenced his musical career as a songwriter. In the
late 1970s sung with Papa Wemba’s band Viva La Musica. Here He
learned his vocal and stage techniques. He launched his solo career
in the mid 80s and has turned out to be one of the biggest success
stories in African music.
He is married and has seven children, Nzau Twengi Aristotle O’Neill,
Elvis, Minou Miss Universe, Didi Stone Nike, Rocky, Del pirlo
Mourhino and Saint James Rolls. He chose western souding names for
his children in defiance of the La’ Authenticite policy in which
President Mobutu mandated the use of indigenous Africa names instead
of western names. He has two brothers, Johny Ko and Tutu Roba