Papa Wemba’s Arrives Congo

The body of Congolese “rumba king” Papa Wemba arrived in Kinshasa on Thursday, greeted by officials and a huge crowd of distraught fans after his fatal collapse during a show in Ivory Coast.

His body was flown home after the Ivory Coast held an-all night musical tribute to honour the legendary African music star, who died on Sunday at the age of 66.

The white coffin draped in the Democratic Republic of Congo flag was received by Prime Minister Augustin Matata Ponyo and parliament speaker Aubin Minaku before being taken off in a hearse.

Relatives of the flamboyant performer were also at the airport, along with tribal chiefs and numerous admirers of the artist who was a live wire on Africa’s musical scene for more than 40 years.

“News of the death of Papa Wemba was an earthquake,” Ivorian Culture Minister Maurice Kouakou told journalists in Kinshasa.

Dozens of musicians joined an international concert tribute to Papa Wemba in Abidjan overnight that was billed as a “big artistic wake”.

A funeral for the father of six will take place on Monday and he will be buried on Tuesday on the outskirts of Kinshasa.

Papa Wemba was a pioneer of the fusion of rumba and Western electric rock and found world renown as African music gained in popularity in Europe and the United States from the 1980s.


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