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Remembering Papa Wemba, the Voice of Africa -- An Interview Be the first to comment!

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A great musician who put his talents at the service of his Africa.  The world of music, and not only, weeps for the premature departure of Papa Wemba, African musical icon, defined as the “King of Congolese Rumba.”  The artist died last Sunday at 66 years of age, right while he was taking part in a cultural event in Ivory Coast.  Committed Christian, Papa Wemba transformed into music the message that Benedict XVI wanted to offer to Africa in the continental Synod.

Here is the interview with Fr. Federico Lombardi conducted by Fr. Jean Pierre Bodjoko:

Fr. Lombardi: “I have a very good memory of him, very pleasing, friendly and, I’d say, also of real gratitude to him, because he collaborated with us during the beautiful initiative that we made together in the programs for Africa of Vatican Radio in the context of the last continental Synod of Bishops for Africa.  It was a Synod, as might be remembered, dedicated to the theme of “Justice, Peace, and Reconciliation.”  We were convinced that to pass this message on to the people of Africa, a long well composed document and great discourses were not enough; we needed music, songs that pass on the message and then make it stay spontaneously in the memory and in the heart, that you can sing to yourself even on the street.  We looked for African artists who would have the sensibility to translate into song this message of peace, reconciliation and justice in a simple way too.  Papa Wemba answered with great availability.  For that reason he came for a concert that we prepared in the Auditorium of the Conciliazione [in Rome] – it was full of people, almost all the bishops participating at the Synod were there, a beautiful evening – and very probably he was the principle African artist who took part in this concert singing, generously putting at our disposition his presence and his very spontaneous artistry.

Q. After the concert, also a CD …

R. Continuing in the same line, we prepared a CD entitled “Africa Tenda Amani,” which in Swahili means “Peace and Reconciliation.”  This CD contains songs done by Papa Wemba and by other African artists on the themes of the Synod, and we sent it to all the African dioceses as an instrument to pass into life, through song, the message of peace and of reconciliation.  Lastly, he took part in the concert that we organized in Cotonou the evening of the arrival of Benedict XVI to promulgate, publish and diffuse the document Africae Munus, which brought the message of the Synod into Africa.  Thus three great and beautiful initiatives, all with a certain line:  to bring through song the message of peace, reconciliation for the African people.  A well known artist, much loved by the people, he was certainly a particularly effective witness for this initiative.  Then we also had the possibility to let him, together with his wife, meet the Holy Father during an audience.  I remember his joy at this meeting that was basically the grand “compensation” that we gave for his generous and well disposed participation in our initiative.  I remember him as a very lovable and affable person, really happy to put at the disposition of his artistry a great ideal at the service of the Church.

Q. Concerning Papa Wemba we will always remember that he did this service as a Christian.  His voice, especially for Africans, was important to give a way of hearing in a simpler way the themes of justice, reconciliation for those who do not read …

R.  Certainly.  I believe that this is true for all cultures.  The forms to effectively pass a message are many, and music, as we see for example for young people, is particularly important.  But in African culture music becomes rhythm that penetrates life and is extremely important. I believe it is more effective to pass a message in depth than a written and conceptually articulated word, even if both are necessary.

source: Apostolic Nunciature Uganda

1075 Last modified on Friday, 29 April 2016 09:32
Ronald Ojilong

I have so much attraction to the service of the church which i do so passionately. All my life, i have lived in the service of the Lord especially through singing in Church and this is my passion, I attribute all this to the foundation i got in my Primary school, St. Kizito Primary School which moulded me to love church service. Here, find reflections to improve your faith, I also invite you to join us at Mbuya and praise the lord. You'll love being part of our community. 

I also invite you to promote this, our Parish website that gives us global outlook to enable us reach and evangilize to millions all around the world. You may do this through promoting the site to all your friends and families online and you may also donate to this project through the office of the Parish priest to enable us upgrade and keep uptodate with the Latest technologies.

May the Good Lord keep and bless you all the days of your life.

Contact: +256776070487 / +256714070487

Email: rojilong@ourladyofafrica.org

 

Website: www.ourladyofafrica.org

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Luganda: 7:30 am.  English: 9:00 am, 11:00 am and 5;00 pm.

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Welcome to Our Lady of Africa Parish Mbuya. We are located near Bugolobi Township in Nakawa Division. It is about 5 kms from the City Centre of Kampala. Mbuya Catholic Parish is a vibrant and diverse community made up of people from different parts of Uganda. We welcome you warmly and joyfully.

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