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Papa Wemba's body in Kinshasa ahead of Tuesday burial

Papa Wemba's body in Kinshasa ahead of Tuesday burial

Democratic Republic Of Congo

The remains of Congolese music legend Papa Wemba arrived in his native country Democratic Republic of Congo on Thursday.

The casket with the remains of the late singer arrived to a large crowd of fans, family members and friends as well as the Prime Minister, Augustin Matata Ponyo and President of the National Assembly Aubin Minaku.

There were also some musicians present including Salif Traore, leader of the Ivorian zouglou group, Magic System, who accompanied the casket from Ivory Coast.

The Ivorian Minister for Culture, Maurixe Kouakou also accompanied the remains to the Democratic Republic of Congo, AFP reported.

Family members and friends of the late singer, many in tears, consoled each other as his casket passed through the airport.

A leader from Wemba’s birthplace, Sankuru Province told Reuters: “This is a painful loss, it’s very sad and painful. He was an icon. Shungu Wembadio (Wemba family nickname) was an icon and the arrival of his body has made the whole world weep”.

Draped in the national colours of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the casket containing Papa Wemba’s remains was taken to a morgue in the capital where it will be kept until Monday when Congolese will pay a special tribute to the late icon.

He is expected to be buried on Tuesday near Kinshasa.

The legendary king of Congolese rumba music died on Sunday morning after collapsing while performing at the Urban Music Festival, organised by Magic System at Anoumabo in the Ivorian capital.

A vigil was held in memory of the late musician in the Ivorian capital, Abidjan on Wednesday before his remains were flown to Kinshasa.

Wemba, whose career began in the late 1960s, was known for mixing traditional African music with western rock and worked with many other award-winning international stars.