our wounds: Patrice Lumumba

50 years ago, yesterday (17 Jan) , the USA and Belguim killed Patrice Lumumba. Lumumba was the first democratically elected prime minister of the Congo. like Thomas Sankara, he was one of the brightest lights on this continent. he was one of the best of the best. and in Afrika, thanks to a lot of factors, the ‘best’ were very few.

most of us have forgotten all about Lumumba. they have succeeded in making us forget about the few who would stand up to the West, dream of a far better Afrika than the one we had been given and when they dared to turn dreams into reality they were brutally cut down.

“…Our wounds are too fresh and too painful still for us to drive them from our memory. We have known harassing work, exacted in exchange for salaries which did not permit us to eat enough to drive away hunger, or to clothe ourselves, or to house ourselves decently, or to raise our children as creatures dear to us.” ~ Patrice Lumumba

there’s the Senegalese concept of Sankofa that says it is not taboo to go back and remember. we have to keep these memories alive to never forget

quotes from Lumumba’ Speech at the opening of the All-African Conference in Kinshasa (formerly known as “Leopoldville”) – August 25, 1960.

All of them [President Bourguiba, His Majesty Mohammed V, President Sekou Toure, President Tubman, President Nkrumah and President Olympio, President Nasser and His Majesty Haile Selassie], fighting for African unity, have said “No” to the strangulation of Africa. All of them immediately realised that the attempts of the imperialists to restore their rule threaten not only the independence of the Congo but also the existence of all the independent states of Africa. They all realised that if the Congo perishes, the whole of Africa will be plunged into the gloom of defeat and bondage.”

on compromise:

 There can be no compromise between freedom and slavery. We chose to pay the price of freedom.

this he knew, and to this he fell:

The classical methods of the colonialists, which we all knew or partially still know, are particularly vital here: survivals of military occupation, tribal disunity, sustained and encouraged over a long period, and destructive political opposition, planned, directed and paid.

You know how difficult it has been for a newly independent state to get rid of the military bases installed by the former occupying powers. We must declare here and now that henceforth Africa refuses to maintain the armed forces of the imperialists in its territory. There must be no more Bizertes, Kitonas, Kaminas and Sidi Slimanes. We have our own armies to defend our countries.

Our armed forces, which are victims of machinations, are likewise freeing themselves from the colonial organisation in order to have all the qualities of a national army under Congolese leadership.

Our internal difficulties, tribal war and the nuclei of political opposition seemed to have been accidentally concentrated in the regions with our richest mineral and power resources. We know how all this was organised and, in particular, who supports it today in our house.

on Afrika’s jewels, our downfall perhaps?

Our Katanga because of its uranium, copper and gold, and our Bakwanga in Kasai because of its diamonds have become hotbeds of imperialist intrigues. The object of these intrigues is to recapture economic control of our country.

But one thing is certain, and I solemnly declare that the Congolese people will never again let themselves be exploited, that all leaders who will strive to direct them to that road will be thrown out of the community.

Afrika for Afrikan’s the Pan-Afrikan call that lives in the hearts of many Afrikans yet we struggle still to shake off our colonisers.

We all know, and the whole world knows it, that Algeria is not French, that Angola is not Portuguese, that Kenya is not English, that Ruanda-Urundi is not Belgian. We know that Africa is neither French, nor British, nor American, nor Russian, that it is African.

We know the objects of the West. Yesterday they divided us on the level of a tribe, clan and village. Today, with Africa liberating herself, they seek to divide us on the level of states. They want to create antagonistic blocs, satellites, and, having begun from that stage of the cold war, deepen the division in order to perpetuate their rule.

on peace:

We are acutely in need of peace and concord, and our foreign policy is directed towards co-operation, loyalty and friendship among nations. We want to be a force of peaceful progress, a force of conciliation. An independent and united Africa will make a large and positive contribution to world peace. But torn into zones of hostile influence, she will only intensify world antagonism and increase tension.

and i chant along with Lumumba:

Long live African unity and solidarity!

Forward, Africans, to complete liberation!


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