A couple of years ago, I saw the movie Lumumba, a biography of Patrice Émery Lumumba, the first Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was the type of movie one never forgets. Lumumba, born July 2, 1925, was a primary force behind the DRC’s independence from Belgium. He served as PM for just four short months, from June to September 1960. Lumumba was brutally assassinated on January 17, 1961 by political adversaries acting on behalf of the State of Katanga, a province of the DRC that split off shortly after independence had been achieved. The evidence suggests that this heinous act was carried out with the complicity and encouragement of both the Belgian government and the CIA. Lumumba was considered pro-Soviet, a fatal condition during the Cold War. The theory was that if the DRC went communist, the rest of the continent might follow, as one African country after another achieved independence.
It was a hard film to watch, due to the horrors it portrayed, but his story was so moving that I’m glad that I did. Shortly before his death, Lumumba said, “L’Afrique écrira sa propre histoire. Une histoire faite de gloire et de dignité” (lafreak aykreerah sah propruh eestwar. oon eestwar fet duh glwar ay duh deekneetay), which means, “Africa will write its own history. A history made of glory and dignity.” Lumumba is one of those people who makes me wonder if I would be as brave as he was. I doubt it.
- Discours/Speech of Patrice Lumumba, June 30, 1960 with english subtitles (congoayuk.wordpress.com)