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PATRICE LUMUMBA CONGOLESE 100 GREATEST AFRICANS
(born July 2, 1925, Onalua, Belgian Congo—died January 1961, Katanga province, Republic of the Congo) African nationalist leader, first prime minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (June–September 1960). Lumumba worked as a trade-union organizer before founding the Mouvement National Congolais, Congo's first nationwide political party, in 1958.
That same year his militant nationalism at a major Pan-African conference in Accra, Ghana, brought him to prominence. During negotiations in Belgium in 1960, he was asked to form the first independent Congolese government. His rival Moise Tshombe immediately announced the secession of Katanga province. When Belgian troops arrived to sustain the secession, Lumumba appealed first to the UN and then to the Soviet Union. He was dismissed by Pres. Joseph Kasavubu and, a short time later, assassinated by Tshombe loyalists. His death caused a scandal throughout Africa, where he was looked on as a leader of Pan-Africanism.
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The Last Letter of Patrice Lumumba
My dear wife, I am writing these words not knowing whether they will reach you, when they will reach you, and whether I shall still be alive when you read them. All through my struggle for the independence of my country, I have never doubted for a single instant the final triumph of the sacred cause to which my companions and I have devoted all our lives.
But what we wished for our country, its right to an honourable life, to unstained dignity, to independence without restrictions, was never desired by the Belgian imperialists and the Western allies, who found direct and indirect support, both deliberate and unintentional, amongst certain high officials of the United Nations, that organization in which we placed all our trust when we called on its assistance. They have corrupted some of our compatriots and bribed others. They have helped to distort the truth and bring our independence into dishonour. How could I speak otherwise?
Dead or alive, free or in prison by order of the imperialists, it is not myself who counts. It is the Congo, it is our poor people for whom independence has been transformed into a cage from whose confines the outside world looks on us, sometimes with kindly sympathy, but at other times with joy and pleasure. But my faith will remain unshakeable. I know and I feel in my heart that sooner or later my people will rid themselves of all their enemies, both internal and external, and that they will rise as one man to say No to the degradation and shame of colonialism, and regain their dignity in the clear light of the sun.
We are not alone. Africa, Asia and the free liberated people from all corners of the world will always be found at the side of the millions of Congolese who will not abandon the struggle until the day when there are no longer any colonialists and their mercenaries in our country. As to my children whom I leave and whom I may never see again, I should like them to be told that it is for them, as it is for every Congolese, to accomplish the sacred task of reconstructing our independence and our sovereignty: for without dignity there is no liberty, without justice there is no dignity, and without independence there are no free men. Neither brutality, nor cruelty nor torture will ever bring me to ask for mercy, for I prefer to die with my head unbowed, my faith unshakable and with profound trust in the destiny of my country, rather than live under subjection and disregarding sacred principles.
History will one day have its say, but it will not be the history that is taught in Brussels, Paris, Washington or in the United Nations, but the history which will be taught in the countries freed from imperialism and its puppets. Africa will write its own history, and to the north and south of the Sahara, it will be a glorious and dignified history. Do not weep for me, my dear wife. I know that my country, which is suffering so much, will know how to defend its independence and its liberty.
Long live the Congo! Long live Africa!