ABIDJAN — Papa Wemba, one of Africa’s greatest music stars, has died after collapsing on stage during a festival in Ivory Coast. He was 66.
The Congolese world music legend was renowned as the “king of Congolese rumba” for the fusion of Cuban and electronic rock that he pioneered in the 1970s.
He died after falling sick during a set at the Urban Musical Festival Anoumabo (FEMUA) in Abidjan, the first major cultural event in the country since a jihadist attack on a beach resort last month.
Video footage broadcast live on television showed the dramatic moment that Papa Wemba — wearing a bold black and white patterned tunic and oversized bowler hat — slumped to the floor behind a group of dancers, before performers rushed to his aid.
FEMUA organisers expressed “deep sorrow” at the death of a man who has been at the forefront of African music for more than four decades.
“Papa Wemba wanted to die on stage, that’s what he told me two weeks ago when I spoke to him on the phone,” said festival promoter and singer Salif Traore, known as A’Salfo.
A’Salfo, lead singer with the Ivorian group Magic System, said he understood Papa Wemba died on the way to hospital and that a journalist who interviewed him earlier in the day had noticed that he appeared unwell.
“[The journalist] told me that Papa Wemba was showing signs of fatigue. He was drinking water between every sentence,” A’Salfo said.
The festival was held just over a month after the Islamist attack on the beach resort of Grand-Bassam on March 13 that left 19 people dead.
Flood sweeps away bridge at Barhabise
CHUTARA — Flood and landslide triggered by the incessant rainfall have swept away a concrete bridge over a local Sandi stream at Barhabise bazaar last night.
It has resulted in disruption of vehicular movement, creating hassles to the people especially from Barhabise municipality and Bhotekoshi rural municipality, said Police Inspector at Area Police Office, Barhabise, Yadav Thapa.
Twenty-two houses of Barhabise bazaar area have been waterlogged after the settlement was flooded.
The Chinese government had constructed the 40-feet long bridge in 2024 BS. Mud and sands have piled up to five feet on the road sides.
Three excavators have been used to remove the landslide debris, added Thapa. Engineer at the Road Division Office, Charikot, said preparation was underway to install a bailey bridge there.Follow @gorkhapost