A conversation with Patrice E. LUMUMBA, 60 years after his assasination: is the time for Africa now?
I just re-watched Raul Peck’s LUMUMBA, hadn’t seen it again since high school, and am moved a-new. Afrooptimists have tried in the past , but forces of evil (former colonies reluctant to really let go as well as gain-smelling looting world powers at our borders with fawns outstretched) were too powerful. We wanted to build and prosper, they wanted us divided, subservient and at war, to be able to continue looting in peace. It was David against Goliath. We could not win then.
Tribute to Patrice Emery Lumumba, Thomas Isidore Sankara and all our courageous forefathers who still upheld their beautiful vision for what Africa could become, against all odds. They were 50 years too early. Is now the time for Africa?
This month’s AfroOptimism page is dedicated to the memory of this illustrious AfroOptimist, who gave the ultimate sacrifice for his belief that Africa could be prosperous and free: his own life. His entire life was dedicated to this vision which he made his mission on Earth, at the expense of his family life and life as a regular man, husband and father to his only daughter Juliana.
I invite you to revisit Lumumba’s life, words and vision through the video links below, and be inspired anew to work for the advancement of Africa. Then please join in the discussion of this month: “60 years after Lumumba: is the time for Africa now?”
Let us make Lumumba’s vision a reality, so that he may be smiling down from heaven with the reassurance that his sacrifice was not in vain.. RIP Congo’s Afro-Optimist.
Lumumba proclamant l’indépendance du Congo libre, le 30 juin 1960, et apportant la rétorque historique aux belges (FRENCH)
More context & background on Lumumba’s June 30 1960 Independence speech (English):
Exclusive historical footage of Lumumba live before his assassination
I can’t believe this is really all on tape!! so far back, yet so very recent.. (courtesy of Raoul Peck)
60 years after Lumumba: is the time for Africa now?
Perhaps Lumumba, Sankara and all the visionaries at Africa’s Independence, our first missed turn, were 50 years too early. Colonial interests (la Françafrique, Belgafrique, UKAfrik, whatever you wish to label it) were then too strong, too tenacious for our first revolutionaries to win their struggle for true freedom, social justice and prosperity for Africa.
Today though, one can assert that the continent, in many of its parts at least in its urban centers, today experiences more transparency. The CIA can no longer just abduct an acting elected . The true evil role of former colonialists is now an accepted fact. The new word of the day is Partnership à la américaine, and no longer Paternalism. One can purport that in this context of waning colonial grips on the continent, there are better chances today of Africa taking off its development project, and delivering on the vision of our independence day revolutionaries, making their dream then a reality now
Does Africa have better chances today?
What new odds, opportunities and constraints, different from those at Independance day, are we confronted with today? Relative to those of the 1960s, do these new odds augur of a brighter or a darker future possible for the continent?
Is the time for Africa ripe today? Or is the time not yet ripe? Why and why not?
This is the discussion theme of the month. Afro-Optimists: let the comments galore begin!
My 2 cents
The odds that Lumumba, Sankara and co. faced are starkly different from the ones our generation of Afro-optimists face. The evil. Globalization can be used as a force for good to generate income in our income-deprived rural areas, and open up opportunities
But still tenacious is the mental colonization of our people, evident in the psyche and choices our governors make, perpetuating former extractive illegitmate institutions (Aimé Césaire’s nightmare of “black imperialists replacing the white ones” has unfortunately become reality); evident in even the most minute yet alarming practices of our people, who bleach their skins off its melalin and straighten the beautiful kinks that God has endowed us with, dying them blonde even sometimes.
These deeply-entrenched self-hate practices, the fruit of a century of foreign domination preceded by 4 other centuries of slave trade, will take a while to uproot. But seeing young girls, the new generation, in Nairobi’s upbeat streets brandishing their Afros high, and a new wave women leaders such as Ellen Johnson Sirleaf , our newest Peace Nobel Laureate, taking center stage; then I lose my fears and have hope renewed that we will get there. We will be free, one day, soon.
I’ll end my 2 cents with the following thought:
Knowledge of your history is a burden. Once you know where you’ve come from, and all of the past sacrifices and lives laid down on the way to where we stand today, you can no longer remain passive. You have no option other than to take on the historic mission of making Africa’s advancement a priority, and carry on the struggle for a prosperous and bright future for the looted martyr continent.