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Papa Wemba Awarded Highest National Honor as Thousands Pay Tribute

Radio Okapi | Published on May 02, 2016
Joseph Kabila during the ceremony honoring Papa Wemba
Joseph Kabila during the ceremony honoring Papa Wemba | Enlarge
President Joseph Kabila has posthumously awarded Papa Wemba the title of Grand Officer of the National Order. The iconic Congolese musician died on Sunday while performing in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

“We elevate you posthumously to the rank of Grand Officer of the National Order of the Kabila-Lumumba national heroes for your merits, and your loyal and distinguished services to the Congolese nation,” Joseph Kabila said during an official ceremony honoring Papa Wemba on Monday, May 2 at the People's Palace in Kinshasa.

Several authorities, including the presidents of both houses of Parliament, the Prime Minister, and members of the government, attended the ceremony.

In his address during the ceremony, Minister of Culture Banza Mukalay proposed that April 24 (the day Papa Wemba died) be proclaimed a national day for Congolese music.

He also announced that the Congolese government was going to propose to UNESCO that Congolese rumba be added on the world intangible cultural heritage list.

The representative of Congolese musicians, Nyoka Longo, and a daughter of Papa Wemba also spoke.

After the laying of wreaths, Papa Wemba remains were taken to the Molokai village, in the Matonge district, where his bands were based.

Papa Wemba’s funerals will continue on Tuesday. He will be buried in Kinshasa on Wednesday.

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