Papa Wemba’s body arrives home in DR Congo

The body of Papa Wemba, one of Africa’s best known singers, has arrived back in the Democratic Republic of Congo after his death on Sunday in Ivory Coast.

Hundreds of people were waiting outside Kinshasa’s airport for the body’s arrival.

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 DR Congo’s 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 from Kinshasa.

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.

Fans of the late Papa Wemba, attend a concert in tribute to him on April 27, 2016 at the Palace of Culture in AbidjanImage copyrightAFP
Image captionAn all-night concert was held in Ivory Coast’s main city of Abidjan in Papa Wemba’s honour
Fans pay tribute to Papa WembaImage copyrightAFP
Image captionHundreds of his fans turned up to pay tribute to Papa Wemba

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

Ivory Coast’s 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.

The BBC’s Tamasin Ford in Abidjan says most of the audience at the all-night concert were dressed in white as a mark of respect.

Fans react next to the coffin of Congolese musician Papa Wemba at the official ceremony held by the Ivorian governmentImage copyrightReuters
Image captionPapa Wemba’s coffin was displayed at a ceremony before the memorial concert in Abidjan

Papa Wemba’s wife and his entire entourage were there, and his daughter read out a memorial prayer.

Performers included Ivorian stars Magic System, Meiway, Espoir 2000, Zouglou Makers and members of his Viva La Musica group, who were on stage with him when he died.

Papa Wemba's group performing at the memorial concertImage copyrightAFP
Image captionThe musicians and dancers who were with Papa Wemba when he died paid tribute to him on Wednesday night

Source: BBC