Africa

Papa Wemba's body arrives home in DR Congo

Papa Wemba on stage during his final performance Image copyright AFP
Image caption Papa Wemba died after collapsing on stage at a music festival in Ivory Coast

Hundreds of mourners have welcomed the body of Papa Wemba, one Africa's best known singers, back to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

It was flown into the capital, Kinshasa, from Ivory Coast, where he died on Sunday after collapsing on stage in Abidjan.

Ivorian fans attended an all-night concert held in his honour in the city.

He is due to be buried on Tuesday after lying in state in a stadium in Kinshasa, on Monday.

After Papa Wemba's coffin left the airport it was taken to a morgue, reports the BBC's Poly Muzalia from Kinshasa.

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What made Papa Wemba so influential?

African stars pay tribute to Papa Wemba

In photos: Congo music legend Papa Wemba

Image caption Mourners were waiting at Kinshasa's airport for the body to arrive

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.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption An all-night concert was held in Ivory Coast's main city of Abidjan in Papa Wemba's honour
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Hundreds 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.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Papa 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.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The musicians and dancers who were with Papa Wemba when he died paid tribute to him on Wednesday night

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