Namibian artists pay tribute to Papa Wemba

Author: 
NAMPA

The Congolese Community in Namibia hosted a concert on Wednesday to pay tribute to Congolese musician ‘Papa Wemba’ who died after he collapsed on stage during a festival in Abidjan Ivory Coast last month.

Born in 1949, Jules Shungu Wembadio Pene Kikumba (Papa Wemba), was one of Africa’s legendary musicians from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), who helped modernise Congolese rumba during the 1960’s and created a new genre, Soukous, which influenced music across Africa through the higher tempo and longer dance sequences.

He was 66-years-old when he collapsed during performance on stage on 24 April at the 2016 Festival des Musiques Urbaines de’Anoumabo (FEMUA).

The DRC Ambassador to Namibia, Anastas Kaboba Kasongo Wa Kimba told Nampa on Wednesday that the icon may have departed to the heaven above but that he will forever be remembered, as his legacy shall remain.

“We all have a little bit of Papa Wemba in us; the rumba we have in us was installed by him, therefore he will always be with us.”

The ambassador added that Papa Wemba was not just a Congolese artist as he travelled a lot and his career grew so much that his music is known internationally.

Apart from featuring in films and being listed as composer of various Francophone films’ soundtracks, Kikumba was also big on fashion and in 1979 became the unofficial leader of La Sape in the former Zaire now DRC; a subcultural group that promoted a lifestyle of personal hygiene and being well dressed as inspired by trends in fashion capitals Paris, Milan and Rome.

The Congolese Community in Namibia president, Michel Mweza, told Nampa they decided to honour the legendary musician on his day of burial, which coincidentally was also Cassinga Day in Namibia during which the nation honours the lives of innocent civilians killed by the South African Defence Force while in exile during the Apartheid Era in Cassinga, Angola.
Mweza said that made the occasion at a llcal guesthouse even more exceptional.

“We are grateful to the Namibians as they have been behind the DRC in mourning and paying tribute to Wemba with us, seeing as this day is equally important to them in history, we decided to also fuse the two events together and make it one big important event.”

Wemba was given a heroes burial in his country as per the orders of DRC President Josef Kabila, according to Mweza.

Namibian artist Setson Wahengo, who performed at Kikumba’s tribute in Windhoek, told Nampa that he was a pioneer whose his ability to switch from different genres was inspirational.

“I too am a versatile musician and musicians such as Wemba and Nigeria’s Fela Kuti have been really influential to me personally.”

Namibian-based Congolese musician Dolar Yves Idinu well known as ‘Dolar’ said Kikumba was not only influential in his Afro fusion music, but that he also saw him as a father figure.



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