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IDN-InDepthNews

Papa Wemba, photographed in 2009. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

NEW YORK (IDN | GIN) – To some, he was the King of Congolese rumba – a sound that layered luscious Cuban rumba with African instruments and beats.

Papa Wemba, or Jules Shungu Wembadio Pene Kikumba, was rebellious, prolific, a style icon, at times notorious and always innovative.

“The world of popular music has lost a giant—a consummate musician, a shape-shifter who challenged norms and rewrote the rules of his nation’s music repeatedly over four decades, who spearheaded a fashion movement, and now has left us suddenly and far too young,” wrote ethnomusicologist Banning Eyre on the website Afropop.

Photo: Oumar Ly poses with his first camera at Fes­ti­val mon­dial des Arts Nègres held in Dakar, Senegal from 10-31 December 2010. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

NEW YORK (IDN | GIN) – The vast archives of two remarkable photographers from West Africa who passed this year will ensure that authentic images of African life will be their legacy to future generations. The images radically depart from the clichés of colonialism.

Malick Sidibé, whose pictures of Mali’s youth conveyed the high-spirited feeling of a country that has just gained its independence, passed away at 80 years of age. His black-and-white pictures influenced many of his contemporaries in Africa and beyond. Sidibé died of complications of diabetes, according to Associated Press reports.

Mali’s culture minister N’Diaye Ramatoulaye Diallo, expressed the nation’s grief. “It’s a great loss for Mali. He was part of our cultural heritage,” he told The Guardian. “The whole of Mali is in mourning.”