Seared into the Congo’s memory, Lumumba still fires its debate
In power for just over two months, his speech against the colonisers echoes as loudly as it did 60 years ago
When the Democratic Republic of the Congo celebrates 60 years of independence from Belgium on Tuesday, it will also remember Patrice Lumumba, one of its enduring national heroes and icon of those who demand that former colonial powers face up to their history.
Lumumba, a leading member of the independence movement, entered the history books on June 30 1960, the day the Republic of Congo, as it then was, formally broke away from Belgian colonial rule.
In the presence of Belgium’s King Baudouin, Lumumba – the 34-year-old prime minister of then president Joseph Kasavubu – launched into a coruscating speech, accusing the former colonial masters of racist maltreatment and forcing “humiliating slavery” on the Congolese people...