Author – Lutumba Elyon Nzinga
It is difficult at times to know where you are going or even if you are walking the right path to get you there. The future is full of wonder and possibility. Some of it is set in stone and written in the stars beyond our control and understanding. While some elements are determined by the actions we take today. I have always been proud of my African heritage; proud of our strength, beauty, creativity and capacity to love.
However, I have only recently found myself able to be proud of being Congolese. Don’t get me wrong, I have never been ashamed to let the world know where I am from. My nappy hair and blatantly African name have assured that there are no illusions as to my origins. No, my reservations came from a more dismal place. It stemmed from a ranged observation and realisation of the mentality of the Congolese people, especially those of us living in the industrialised nations. I felt betrayed by our elders and pitied our youths; betrayed by the importance placed on materialistic things such as designer clothes, wide screen TVs and flamboyant excess. Those who are accustomed to Congolese parties or other such social gatherings will now what I mean.
This is not to say that people should not dress well and enjoy the fruits of their success. Life is for the living after all and should be lived to the fullest. But what I am touching on is a level of ignorance that has been allowed to prevail and even be celebrated within our culture. It is a shame when a father will save up his entire earnings for a month only to lavish it on the latest Versace suit. Then parade around like a spectacle with labels and price tags hanging out. He forgets that he is responsible for the wellbeing of his children at home and relies on benefits to feed them. He forgets his humble beginnings in Congo fighting for the opportunity to escape the poverty and restraints that a whole nation still suffers.
Somehow many Congolese that have managed by Gods grace to find a way out have convinced themselves that they have made it. They are convinced that it is all rosy and smooth sailing. That from here on end it is a Prada and Gucci affaire. Familiarity has made us forget from whence we came, and neglect out responsibilities to those we have left behind.
But lo and behold a new spirit that is sweeping our people, a spark of hope amidst the darkness and chaos of our times. It is a revolutionary rumble the likes of which would put a smile on the face of Lumumba himself. Our people are rallying together for a greater cause. They are tired of seeing their loved ones mercilessly killed, tired of witnessing our women raped and maimed, tired of our land being pulled from under our feet and our resources being exported to satisfy the needs of others while we starve. I salute the brave souls who are doing what they can when faced with the opposition of huge corporations and corrupt governments. I salute those who are freeing themselves from the mental chains that have held us down and kept us docile.
In truth, we have only just touched the surface, and it will become increasingly harder before it gets easier. As in every war there will be casualties, and yes it is a war. Let us not delight in fantasies of peaceful transition. Change, real change, never comes easy. I’m not talking about the type of change Obama ran his campaign on or the type promised by most politicians. I’m not even talking about reform with its concessions and piece-meals. No, what I speak of is revolution, emancipation and freedom. This is what we aspire for, what we need and what we will be fighting for. I commend those Congolese who have risen from despair putting down their Versace and picking up there banner to insure the future of our people. Truly I am proud to be among your ranks, those of you who wish to stare injustice in the face and say no more! Though we do not know what the future holds, we can say that we are affecting it today.