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7 Years after the Death of Papa Wemba, the DRC Government has Finally Acted on Its Promise

Over the weekend, the arts and heritage minister officially handed over the late superstar’s Kinshasa home to the Institute of National Museums of Congo, who are turning it into the house of Congolese rumba. A recording studio will also be installed there, the ministry says. Two years ago, Congolese rumba gained protected status when it was added to Unesco’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Known by his stage name Papa Wemba, Jules Shungu Wembadio Pene Kikumba was one of the Congolese singers who took Africa’s most influential music genre to the world from its hub, Congo-Brazzaville and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2016 Papa Wemba passed away on stage while performing in Ivory Coast, after a career spanning four decades. There’s one more promise that the DR Congo’s government has yet to fulfil – and that’s putting up a statue in Papa Wemba’s memory.