Fred Obachi Machoka has said he would be travelling to DRC to attend Wemba’s burial set to take place on Wednesday. The popular veteran Kenyan radio personality said he would undertake the journey not just for himself but for all Kenyans who loved Papa Wemba and his music.
“I will not only being going to cover his burial for media, but also pay homage on behalf of his thousands of fans in Kenya,” he said.
Papa Wemba whose remains were airlifted from Cote d’Ivore to DR Congo courtesy of President Kabila was set to be buried on Tuesday. Last week, President Kabila offered a plane to fly Papa Wemba’s body from Abidjan to Kinshasa.
According to reports from Kinshasa, DR Congo President Joseph Kabila had asked for an extension of the mourning period to enable more Congolese nationals to get an opportunity to pay their last respects to one of the finest musicians in Lingala.
There too had been a controversy with sections of his fans demanding he be buried in his ancestral province of Sankuru in Kasai- Oriental province aginst the family wishes to interr his remains in the capital, Kinshasa.
Papa Wemba, known for hits such as Show me the Way, Koakoko Korobo, Maman, and Wake-up, a duet with Koffi Olomide, collapsed and died at a concert in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, over a week ago.
Speaking to the Daily Nation yesterday, Mr Pascal Onema, a musicians’ union official, said the body was planning a grand sendoff for Papa Wemba whose body would lie in state and have a public viewing Monday and Tuesday at the Stade des Martyrs stadium in Kinshasa.
“We have made elaborate plans to incorporate both local and visiting musicians, who have come to mourn with us. We have also been recording special tribute songs to be performed during the funeral,” he said.
Also speaking from Paris yesterday, veteran singer Nyboma Muandido confirmed that some their Paris-based compatriots and fellow musicians, including Bozi Boziana, Gina Efonge, Pepe Manuaku and Djuna Djanana, would be leaving last evening for Kinshasa to attend Papa Wemba’s funeral.
Meanwhile, the Congolese music fraternity was Saturday morning thrown into a fresh round of mourning, following death of singer Koffi Olomide’s father in Paris. According to reports from Paris, Charles Agbepa, a former footballer, who featured for one of Congo’s greatest clubs, Vita Club, died after a short illness.
Koffi’s mother, Mamy Amy, who has been living with her husband in Paris, has Congolese and Sierra Leonian parentage, which is reflected in the star musician’s name.