President Kabila also stepped in to assist the family to defray the expenses.
By AMOS NGAIRA*
DR Congo President Joseph Kabila has offered a plane to fly back from Cote d’Ivoire to Kinshasa on Thursday the body of Papa Wemba, who collapsed and died at a concert in Abidjan.
In a generous gesture of the recognition of the singer’s contribution to the development of Congolese music and the entertainment industry, President Kabila has stepped in to assist the family to defray the expenses.
The aircraft will carry more than 50 people, including Papa Wemba’s widow, Mama Marie-Luzolo Amazone, some family members, and his musicians, who were at the festival in Cote d’Ivoire with him.
Speaking to the Daily Nation from Kinshasa on Tuesday, musician Maika Munan said an entourage of top Congolese artistes led by veteran band leader Kiamuangana Mateta Verkys, would travel on the plane to go and collect their compatriot’s body.
“We will be accompanied by some government officials and family members,” he said.
Papa Wemba’s widow is already in Abidjan, having arrived on Monday morning, accompanied by government officials.
The body leaves Abdijan for Kinshasa on Thursday afternoon.
There is still no indication as to whether a post-mortem would be performed to ascertain the cause of the sudden death on the stage at the weekend.
Arrangements for public viewing of Wemba’s body in Kinshasa and funeral service will be announced by Friday.
Meanwhile, former Wenge Musica singer Adolph Dominguez and some of his colleagues have already composed and recorded a tribute song to mourn their fallen idol.
“Ever since we learnt of his death we have been in the studio working on a special track to be used during the mourning period,” the Wenge Tonya Tonya splinter group leader said.
Their fellow countrymen and women based in Europe are also working on tracks and have organised gatherings to pay tribute to Papa Wemba.
They include Paris-based mercurial singer and composer Nyboma Muandido.