While the remains of Papa Wemba, ‘‘the father of the Congolese Rumba,’‘ lies in Ivosep morgue in Abidjan where he died on Sunday (April 25) whiles performing on stage at the FEMUA music festival, tributes to this African music icon flooded social networks.
People from different walks of life, those in the arts (music) fraternity, politicians, sports personalities, media people and a host others paid glowing tribute to Wemba as a fine artist whose paid his dues to music on the continent and globally.
Present in Abidjan for its live radio broadcasts on RFI, the host star, Claudy Siar, is certain that Papa wemba has “taken off to the stars.”
It's a catastrophe. Congolese music has been decimated, it's been blown apart. I don't know what to say. I refused to believe it when the Ivory Coast government official told me. To be honest, from now on, life means nothing, we are nothing.
For his part, Salif Traoré of the Magic System Group and organizer of Urban Music Festival Anoumabo (FEMUA), said the “pain is deep”: “It is with deep sadness that the General Commission of FEMUA announce the passing Congolese artist Papa Wemba, occurred following a seizure on stage at the Urban Music Festival Anoumabo on the night of 23 to 24 April 2016, the Commissioner General extends his condolences to the family and the world of culture. Further information will be communicated shortly. “He wrote on his Facebook page
Hamed Bakayoko, Minister of the Interior of Côte d’Ivoire, testified in a tweet that ‘’ Africa lost one of its most beautiful voice.’‘
Hommage de Hamed Bakayoko (Min. Interieur de Cote d'Ivoire) a Papa Wemba https://t.co/MjEa270yQU— Juvénal MUNUBO (@juvenalmunubo) 25 avril 2016
The Cameroonian artist Manu Dibango, renowned trumpeter, without detour says, in an interview with the BBC that ‘’ Papa Wemba was the voice of Africa.’‘
Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye mourned Papa Wemba’s passing on twitter, Congolese politician and owner of TP Mazembe, Moise Katumbi also had nice words about Wemba as did Cameroonian footballer Samuel Eto’o.
Veteran Congolese musician Papa Wemba collapsed & died on his job- singing on stage during Ivorian Concert. Big loss for African music!— Kifefe Kizza-Besigye (@kizzabesigye1) April 24, 2016
Loin de la politique, une pensée émue & triste pour notre icône Papa Wemba. Il restera présent dans nos cœurs à jamais. Qu'il repose en paix— Moise Katumbi (@moise_katumbi) April 24, 2016
Singer Angelique Kidjo would not be left out as she tweeted in praise of Wemba with whom she did a duet on a Manu Dibango track. She further dedicated her performance in the United States to Wemba and American pop icon, Prince.
RFI in a tweet confirms that the “Ivory Coast is preparing the return of the child to Matongé”
RFI (@RFI) April 25, 2016
Wyclef Jean also shared his tribute on Wemba’s passing.
Papa wemba one africa biggest artist. Rest in peace. He stood For an africa united. One love pic.twitter.com/IN4nI4zRID— Wyclef Jean (@wyclef) April 24, 2016
Fellow Congolese artiste Koffi olomide described the passing of Wemba as a ‘‘catastrophe’‘ in a video posted on his facebook wall.
‘‘It’s a catastrophe. Congolese music has been decimated, it’s been blown apart. I don’t know what to say. I refused to believe it when the Ivory Coast government official told me. To be honest, from now on, life means nothing, we are nothing. Today, with God’s forgiveness, I want to ask Him to accept Papa Wemba. He is His son,’‘ he said.
Meanwhile, many fans across the world say they are ‘’ saddened ‘’ and do not understand what really happened to ‘’ their artist.” While waiting for the light be shed on the real circumstances of his death, they continue to mourn their star.
Papa Wemba!Tribute to a shining ICON – R.I.P to another Musical Legend! One of the Best African singers in history! pic.twitter.com/NvvwyFM1jj— Voxafrica TV UK (@voxafricauk) April 24, 2016
PHOTOS: Remembering Papa Wemba, the King of Congolese Rumba https://t.co/sXyKVCyoc8— Charles Onyango-Obbo (@cobbo3) April 25, 2016
1/ I'll always associate the name of Papa Wemba with the French word “liesse,” or jubilation. I heard him for 1st time in the '80s.— Howard French (@hofrench) April 24, 2016