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Remembering Patrice Lumumba, Another African Hero killed by the West

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For seven months between 1960 and 1961, Patrice Lumumba was the Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo. He would only live for 36 years, the last seven months of which he spent in the supreme office of the Congolese government. Lumumba was assassinated on the 17th of January in 1961 under not so secret circumstances. It is now common cause that Belgium was the major player in the killing of a man whose pan-African legacy has been immortalized like the legacies of such African giants as Thomas Sankara and Kwame Nkrumah…



Mission: To make the Congo the pride of Africa

Lumumba’s tenure in office started with a moving speech that reminded the Congolese who they were and indeed even now, every black man is better for reading it. This was a man with an unprecedented consciousness of who he was and though he forgave, he did not forget. In his Independence Day speech, he rhetorically posed the question, “Who will ever forget the shootings which killed so many of our brothers, or the cells into which were mercilessly thrown those who no longer wished to submit to the regime of injustice, oppression and exploitation used by the colonialists as a tool of their domination?” He added, “All that, my brothers, brought us untold suffering.”

His goal was to lead his country to “peace, prosperity, and greatness”. The whole vision was encapsulated in the words, “We shall show the world what the black man can do when working in liberty, and we shall make the Congo the pride of Africa.” His ideas went as far as encouraging freedom of speech, eradicating discrimination and going past the armed struggle to “peace resting on concord and goodwill”.

However, the West was not about to let him have his way. What Lumumba stood for were futuristic democratic values even Western nations had not fully mastered. He was too intelligent, too conscious and too African.

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