PICS: Congo buries its king of rumba Papa Wemba

2016-05-05 10:57

Kinshasa - Thousands of Congolese attended the funeral on Wednesday of Papa Wemba, a musician known around the world as the king of Congolese rumba.

The 66-year-old musician died on 24 April following a collapse on stage during a concert in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

His life has been celebrated with performances, ceremonies and parades since Monday.

More than 15 000 people gathered outside, and 2 000 inside, the Notre Dame Cathedral in Kinshasa for the funeral service.

"For three days, as one man, the Congolese people, Africa and the world mourn the man who came to be known as the father of Congolese rumba," said Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo.

Bishops, priests, officials, local celebrities and family members gathered near his coffin covered in a Congolese flag before going to his burial site some 60k away. Rain poured down in Kinshasa after the burial — a sign of a blessing in the country.

Kinshasa mayor Andre Kimbuta said a mausoleum will be built in his honour.

"I salute the master of art, a man of talent and genius," he said.

President Joseph Kabila on Monday gave him the posthumous title of Grand Officer of the National Order. The country's cultural minister has said that a theatre will be built in his memory.

Kadi Shungu, the daughter of the musician, whose real name was Jules Shungu Wembadio Pene Kikumba, described him as "a loving father, affectionate, very generous and with a legendary hospitality".

Papa Wemba rose to fame in the Congolese capital of Kinshasa during the 1970s with the band Zaiko Langa Langa, whose guitar-based fusion of Latin and African dance styles inspired a generation of African musicians. He moved to Paris in the 1980s and helped popularise Congolese music beyond Africa. In the 1990s he toured with British rock star Peter Gabriel.

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(Photos: AP)

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