You might have heard of increased violence in the Kivu region of Eastern DRC, which have been accompanied with several accusations, finger pointing and civic debates as to what the crux of the Congo problem is.
A couple of weeks ago I watche
d a documentary about Patrice Lumumba. If the name isn’t familiar to you, you should definitely read up on him! He was the first Prime Minister of what is now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and is one of African’s heroes. He would fall into the league of Kwame Nkrumah and Julius Nyerere. His greatest strength was the cause of his downfall. He was an eloquent-blunt- optimistic nationalist who wanted to rebuild a new Congo where the colonial Belgians and the Congolese could live and work together to build a stronger and better Congo. This was contrary to the likes of Robert Mugabe who kicked out the British.
In the face of a break-away movement supported by the Belgians, Lumumba turned to the Americans for support. Rejected by the Americans he turned to the Soviets. This really was the beginning of his end. Caught in the middle of two super powers during the Cold War Lumumba’s elimination was designed by the Belgians and Americans. He was killed, along with 2 of his officials, in the most disturbing manner; shot dead and dissolved in battery acid. What didn’t dissolve was burnt.
The history of the Congo is an intricate one and difficult to spell out in a few lines. Lumumba was a sign of unity and hope for Congo.
I really don’t see the value of dwelling on the past unless it is to diagnosis or contextualise a problem in order to prescribe to correct solution. As Africans our task has been and continues to be how to correct a situation we inherited and part of this lies in revisiting the songs that were once sung by our fallen heroes.