Papa Wemba’s body flown home to DR Congo


papa-wembaThe body of Papa Wemba, one of Africa’s best known singers, is being flown back to Democratic Republic of Congo after his death on Sunday in Ivory Coast.

Hundreds of people are outside Kinshasa’s airport waiting for his body to arrive.

An all-night concert has been held in his honour in Abidjan, the city where he collapsed and died on stage.

He is due to be buried on Tuesday after lying in state in a stadium in the DR Congo capital, Kinshasa, on Monday.

Government officials and diplomats will attend a memorial service for the singer at the airport before the body is taken to a morgue, reports the BBC’s Poly Muzalia.

Papa Wemba, who died aged 66, was considered one of Africa’s most influential musicians of his generation.

He pioneered modern Congolese soukous music, which spread through the continent.

Many of the continent’s top musicians have paid tribute to Papa Wemba, including Cameroon’s Manu Dibango, who described him as the “voice of Africa”.

Ivory Coast Culture Minister Maurice Bandaman said at a memorial service before the body left that “an artist never dies… Papa Wemba is dead, and now [he is] even greater than before,” reports the AFP news agency.

Performers at the all-night concert in Papa Wemba’s honour included members of his Viva La Musica group who were on stage with him when he died.

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