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Papa Wemba: Stars remember the 'voice of Africa'

Music fans across Africa are mourning the death of Papa Wemba, the musician from the Democratic Republic of Congo who died at the age of 66 after collapsing on stage on Sunday morning.
Papa Wemba posing in Kinshasa with some of his gold discs

Stars have been paying tribute to a man whose music influenced artists from around the continent.
Angelique KidjoImage copyrightGetty Images

I'm sad, and I've been struggling since the death of Prince and now we have the passing of Papa Wemba and I'm wondering what this is all about.

I worked with Papa Wemba and he was a very nice, genuine soul and very shy at the same time.

I did a duet with him, Ami Oh, on a Manu Dibango album, and when you heard him sing it was magical that a guy who was that big had such an angelic voice.

He was a generous soul when it came to helping people, and he didn't say much, but he observed a lot and when he spoke in that gentle voice everything he said was right on the spot.

His whole attitude about dressing well was part of the narrative that we Africans have been denied our humanity for so long.

People have always had stereotypes about us, and he was saying dressing well is not just a matter of money, not just something for Westerners, but that we Africans also have elegance. It was all about defining ourselves and refusing to be stripped of our humanity.

Angelique Kidjo was speaking to the Manu Dibango

Image copyrightAFP

Africa has lost another worthy son in the shape of Papa Wemba. It's a painful beginning to 2016.

He was the voice of Africa.

We are all orphans... May the heaven and the spirits welcome him in peace. Papa Wemba will remain forever in our hearts.

Manu Dibango left this message on his Facebook page.
Koffi OlomideImage copyrightAFP

It's a catastrophe. Congolese music has been decimated, it's been blown apart. I don't know what to say.

I refused to believe it when the Ivory Coast government official told me. To be honest, from now on, life means nothing, we are nothing.

Today, with God's forgiveness, I want to ask Him to accept Papa Wemba. He is His son.

I don't know what to say. I want to give my condolences to all Congolese people and all Africans.

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