Côte d’Ivoire prepares to say goodbye to DJ Arafat

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Ivory Coast's coupe-decale musician DJ Arafat holds his best artist of the year award during the Coupe-Decale Awards on October 2, 2017 in Abidjan. Coupe-Décal is a type of popular dance music originating from Côte d'Ivoire and the Ivorian diaspora in Paris, / AFP PHOTO / ISSOUF SANOGO (Photo credit should read ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images)
Ivory Coast’s musician DJ Arafat performs after receiving the best artist of the year award during the Coupe-Decale Awards on October 2, 2017 in Abidjan.
Coupe-Décal is a type of popular dance music originating from Côte d’Ivoire and the Ivorian diaspora in Paris, / AFP PHOTO / ISSOUF SANOGO (Photo credit should read ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images)

More than 100,000 people are expected to pack Félix Houphouët-Boigny Stadium on Friday for a tribute to DJ Arafat. The popular musician and producer and king of coupé-decalé died in a motorbike accident two weeks ago.

Six screens will be set up around the stadium to allow crowds to follow the ceremony, which will also be broadcast on screens in neighbourhoods elsewhere in the capital explained Zoumana Bakayoko, member of the organising committee.

The ceremony – a mix of speeches, testimonials and a mega concert – begins at 16h local time and will be rebroadcast live on state TV.

Over a hundred artists are expected to attend the music show.

“There will be a lot of Ivorian artists,” says Zoumana Bakayoko, “people like Kedjevara, DJ Leo, the country’s most prestigious artists.” Along with what he described as “African heavyweights” from abroad such as Nigeria’s Davido and Congolese duo Koffi Olomide and Fally Ipupa.

DJ Arafat will be laid to rest on Saturday in the Williamsville Cemetery, in Adjamé.

Given the huge numbers expected to attend, the organising committee and the Ivorian authorities have deployed significant means to secure the funeral premises.

“More than 10,000 uniformed [police] officers are being deployed,” says Zoumana Bakayoko.

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