The International Committee of the All Africa Music Awards, AFRIMA, in partnership with the African Union Commission, AU, mourns the death of Papa Wemba, real name Jules Shungu Wembadio Pene Kikumba.
The iconic musician from the Democratic Republic of Congo died in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, during the FEMUA urban music festival on Sunday April 24, 2016. He was 66.
Papa Wemba was considered an African icon and world music star after fusing his Central African musical heritage with Western pop, rock and rap. He pioneered a blend of African, Cuban and Western sounds, which became one of Africa’s most popular music styles. This earned him the nickname “King of Rhumba Rock”. Besides his musical influence, Wemba popularised Sapeur fashion, an eccentric look with three-piece suits, shiny black leather shoes and flashy accessories.
Reacting to the death of Papa Wemba, President and Executive Producer, AFRIMA, Mr. Mike Dada said: “At AFRIMA, we feel a sense of humongous loss since the announcement of the death of Papa Wemba. This is the time we at AFRIMA and Africa at large need him the most. He was one of the African music legends that had shown interest in attending AFRIMA 3.0 in November this year. He was a voice of Africa, an icon of African music and epitome of Africanness. His pride and commitment to African music and sense of dressing were part of the narratives of African culture. These are the African narratives we shared and are propagating across the world.”