, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 24 – Papa Wemba, one of Africa’s most popular rumba stars has died.
He is said to have collapsed while performing on stage in Abidjan in Ivory Coast.
In a video clip shared on social media, Papa Wemba is seen dancing together with his troupe before he suddenly collapsed.
The dancers are seen rushing to lift him up before the short clip ends.
Congolese musician and a member of Koffi Olomide’s Orchestre Quartier Latin, Buro Mpela told Capital FM News that the late singer collapsed on Saturday night while performing the first song.
“He was on stage singing when he fell down. They tried to help him up but he passed away; it was around 9pm. It was during the first song and that is the time he fell down.”
The singer who termed the death of Papa Wemba as big loss for Africa and the world said his friends and family were organising to fly his body from Abidjan to Kinshasa.
“We are trying to organise how they body will be moved from Ivory Coast to bring it to Kinshasa. The body is still in Abidjan,” he said.
The close ally however regretted that Papa Wemba was supposed to have a long break from his music career due to medical concerns.
He said he had returned from a surgery in Europe with directions that he does not go on stage.
He said Papa Wemba will be remembered for his voice in appreciating and promoting the African heritage.
He said through his music he had big dreams for Africa and he saw Africa in a special way that Africans should cherish and protect.
“Everyone is affected. He will not come back anymore, he passed away there is nothing we can do. We are all sad now, we are all shocked. Papa Wemba was a big star for everyone, he was like an icon.”
“He valued the African culture right from his heart, he loved our culture. It is good for the new generation to follow his example.” Mpela mourned the musician who he termed as a mentor.
Born in June 1949, in Lubefu in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Papa Wemba started off as a guitarist.
The Congolese rumba musician mentored Koffi Olomide when he welcomed him in his Viva la Musica band as a vocalist.
The prominent musician was last in Kenya in August 2014 when he performed at Capital FM’s 3rd Edition of the Koroga Festival.