Ivory Coast bids singer DJ Arafat farewell, fans open his coffin - GulfToday

Ivory Coast bids singer DJ Arafat farewell, fans open his coffin


Ivorian singer Tina Glamour pays her respects to his late son Ivorian singer DJ Arafat.

Fans of Ivorian singer DJ Arafat opened his coffin Saturday to take photos of the corpse, prompting police to fire teargas after an overnight funeral concert where tens of thousands paid tribute to the one of West Africa's most popular stars.

Following hours of musical homage, tears, and solemn reminiscence at Abijan's main stadium, events took a dark turn as fans battled police preventing them from entering the cemetery where the singer's family gave him a private burial.

Police fired teargas to disperse the grave profaners, and several people were injured, witnesses told AFP.

Pallbearers carry the coffin of late Ivorian singer DJ Arafat leaves the Felix Houphouet-Boigny stadium in Abidjan.

'Icon and ambassador'

News of his death led to scenes of hysteria among fans and Twitter tributes from fellow artists. President Alassane Ouattara called him "a youth icon and ambassador of Ivorian music and culture".

DJ Arafat's five children were present at the concert. There was tight security at the venue with some 6,500 security forces deployed across the stadium overlooking Abidjan's picturesque lagoon.

State radio and television broadcast the event live and giant screens were installed in Yopougon and other working-class areas, as well as the upmarket Cocody-Angre district where DJ Arafat lived.

Congolese singer Fally Ipupa (C) leaves after paying his respects to late Ivorian singer DJ Arafat.

'Divisive personality'

He "revolutionised coupe-decale by mixing sounds and rhythms. For instance he was inspired by African traditional music, but also by Nigerian Afrobeat, by rap and by Brazilian funk," Kacou said.

"He was also an exceptional dancer and he linked the music he made to new dance forms."

Coupe-decale originated in the bars of the lively Rue Princesse in the working-class Yopougon district of Abidjan and clubs and spread across West Africa.

Agence France-Presse

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