Lumumba, the broken destiny of Congo | African history | -

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Patrice Émery Lumumba was born under the name of Elias Okitasombo on July 2, 1925, in Onalua, a village in Eastern Kasai. After a rudimentary education in local schools of missionaries, he moved to Stanleyville, now Kisangani, in the early 1940s, then joined the capital Leopoldville, now Kinshasa. He continues the trades – postal worker, press correspondent or representative of a brewery – while asserting himself as an anti-colonialist political leader. He becomes the first prime minister of the independent Congo on June 30, 1960, but is quickly ejected from power. Patrice Lumumba is murdered in Lumumbashi (formerly Élisabethville), Katanga, on January 17, 1961.

Famous in various ways

African Roots Patrice Lumumba (Comic Republic)

Self-taught, charismatic and idealistic, Patrice Lumumba has federated the independence aspirations of the Congolese. His deadly fight against colonialism earned him recognition well beyond the borders of his country, founding a true Lumumba myth.

On January 30, 1960, images of his speech at independence ceremonies circumnavigated the world. "No Congolese will be able to forget that (independence) was conquered by the struggle, a struggle which was of tears, fire and blood ", he says, before detailing in the presence of the King of Belgian Baudouin the injustices suffered by the Congolese during the colonial period.

Lumumba has written throughout his life articles, essays and speeches that specify his political thought, addressing both societal issues and the destinies of the Congo and Africa. His writings and personality have inspired generations of anti-imperialist intellectuals and activists from Africa and elsewhere, including his contemporary Aimé Césaire (A season in Congo1966).

African Roots Patrice Lumumba (Comic Republic)

Famous quotes

"We are not against anyone, but only against domination, injustices and abuses … (…) These injustices and the complex idiom of superiority displayed by colonialists are at the root of the tragedy of the West. Africa."

"We will begin a new struggle that will lead our country to peace, prosperity and greatness … and we will make Congo the center of influence for all of Africa."

"Brutality, abuse, tortures have never led me to beg for grace, because I prefer to die with my head held high."

Controversy around him

At the heart of the controversies, there is the question: who killed Patrice Lumumba? In 2002, the Belgian government officially apologized to his family, but many gray areas persist. During his lifetime, it is the chaotic passage of Congo to independence, marked by episodes of great violence, which tarnish the image of Lumumba.
Tamara Wackernagel, Saleh Mwanamilongo, Julia Salmi-Maas and Philipp Sandner contributed to this story which is part of the series "Roots of Africa". A series launched in early 2018 by Deutsche Welle, in cooperation with the Gerda Henkel Foundation.

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