In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kisangani continues to pay tribute to the remains of Patrice Lumumba. The coffin of the first Congolese Prime Minister still stands on the Place de la Poste where the ceremonies take place in this city that marks the beginning of his political struggle. The delegation therefore went to symbolic places, especially the prison where Patrice Lumumba was imprisoned before independence.
From our special correspondent in Kisangani,
It was Lumumba’s political struggle that was widely praised this Saturday, the one that led Congo to its independence in 1960. A struggle that is born in Kisangani where Patrice Lumumba joined the MNC, the Congolese national movement.
It is also in Kisangani that the Lumumba myth was built. And for Alphonse Maindo, a professor at the University of Kisangani, his commitment is partly rooted in his two stays in the city prison: “These passages in the prison were a myth to him, but they were also the trigger to make him a great man. We arrested him, we martyred him and he was seen by others as a victim, a martyr, and so it helped make him a great man here.That’s why it’s important to visit this prison to see where he spent his first nights in detention.
A prison where the officials went, but also Patrice Lumumba’s family for a very special moment. If the cell he lived in at the time was consecrated, the rest of the prison is still occupied. It was therefore during the gaze and the songs of the prisoners that the delegation discovered this place that inspired its fights.
For the grandchildren a dive into the roots The visit marked his grandchildren a lot. They have been there since the first day of this trip, from Brussels. Not everyone could make the journey, but much of this third generation of Lumumba is present. They are now preparing to go to Shilatembo near Lubumbashi, where their grandfather was murdered.
For Yema, it is an essential stage of this journey: “I think it will be very emotional, it is a page in Congo that we will revisit through the fact that we revisit our personal history and our family history. It will be very strong in the symbol.It is a bit of a desire to know more, a curiosity that drives me to want to know the truth, to feel it in my flesh.It also creates a little anger, a lot of sadness necessarily.
Sorrow, pain, but also a great responsibility to bear this name Lumumba for Amaury, one of the grandchildren: “It inspires us because we are in a country with social inequalities that are painful and I believe that when you are born, you have a personal “Moral debt to your country, to the rest of the population. This debt does not necessarily lead to a political struggle, but it can also lead to examples.”
Exemplarism and dignity for these young people who finally made this journey a dive into their Congolese roots.
► Read also: our retrospective “Patrice Lumumba, a murdered independence”(January 2021)