Sindika Dokolo – the husband of Africa’s richest woman, billionaire Isabel Dos Santos – died Thursday, October 29, at the age of 48. His death was the result of a diving accident in Dubai, according to Angolan media.
The family confirmed Dokolo’s visit via their official Twitter account on Friday, October 30.
“The Dokolo family, his wife, children, mother, brother and sisters have the deepest sorrow and immense sadness to announce the passing of Sindika Dokolo, which occurred on October 29, 2020 in Dubai. We thank all those who have expressed their sympathy and kindness and who share our grief, ”the statement read.
Dokolo was one of Africa’s most respected art collectors. He founded his namesake foundation Sindika Dokolo in 2005 and has amassed over 3000 works of art, CNN reported.
He was a proponent of returning African art to Africa and once said, “African art is our history, our identity, our dignity” in an Instagram post. He was also very proud of pre-colonial African history and culture and worked to give African artists a platform at Western art exhibitions.
“To be African today means to read your own world through someone else’s eyes,” said Dokolo. ArtNet news Last year. “This whole debate around restitution is therefore a great opportunity to tackle this issue and work on it in a constructive way. We want to remove the veil that the colonial era left us. “
He and Dos Santos were under investigation for their business relationship at the time of his death. They have been accused by the Angolan government of money laundering and theft of public funds to build their business empire.
According to Bloomberg, the couple had “transactions with state-owned companies that caused the government to lose $ 1.14 billion.”
The couple denied any wrongdoing and said they were targeted for political reasons. Dos Santos is the daughter of former Angolan dictator Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, who ruled the country for almost 40 years.
The presidency of the elder Dos Santos has been characterized by many as corrupt and abusive of human rights. He also placed his children in cushy positions of power, which they used to enrich themselves, according to the charges.
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Jose Dos Santos left office in 2017 and handed over the reins to his successor, João Lourenco. This decision exploded in Jose’s face when Lourenco launched an anti-corruption campaign.
Dokolo also came from wealth as his father, Augustin Dokolo, was a wealthy Congolese banker. It is from his father that Dokolo would have acquired his love of art. Raised in France and Belgium, Dokolo himself became a collector at the age of 15.
Due to the ongoing investigation, the Angolan assets of Dokolo and Dos Santos were frozen in December 2019. Portugal followed suit in February and froze Dos Santos’ bank accounts in their country.
Reactions to Dokolo’s death have been mixed. Responses ranged from mourning to a feeling that his legacy was being disrespected by the media designating him only as Dos Santos’ husband.
“Sindika Dokolo. Thank you for everything you have shared with us. May you rest in eternal peace, may your legacy continue, and may your wife and children be strong, ”one user tweeted.
“You have broken our hearts, Brother Sindika. Africa will always remember the great love and your human side in meeting the problems of the African community. You left us too soon from this development challenge battleground. Peace in your soul, Dokolo! added another.
“Dear @ K24Tv, his name is @sindika_dokolo and he is my compatriot (DR. Congolese). Stop talking about him only as “the husband of the richest woman in Africa”. it is a sign of disrespect. Thanks, ”another tweeted.
Not everyone was sorry about Dokolo’s death.
“If that’s true, no compassion on my part. I could not care less. This man and his wicked wife sacrificed the lives and future of Angolans and Congolese for their greedy place. The divine came to collect. I never respected them at all, ”wrote another.
Still others suspected a criminal act. The media reported on Monday that authorities had refuted the claims, but that is not the consensus on Twitter.
“It’s always an accident,” wrote Nubai Ventures founder Jamarlin Martin.
“Diving accident ???? Something fishy … if he was willing to cooperate with the authorities, then he was a cowardly ending. It was a hit, not an accident. I said it, ”conceded another user.
In addition to his wife, Dokolo leaves behind their children, his mother, his siblings and a host of family members and friends.