Author – Joe Mulumba
At the heart of Africa, with its luxurious forest that gives planet the necessary lungs to survive, my beloved country Congo rests. When these white men brought their Bible, guns, and stuffed up piece of clothes, they envied these precious stones that our land has always carried. Our chiefs and leaders at the time didn’t know and couldn’t understand to what extent the threat was. When agreement couldn’t be reached, they were quickly dismissed. In the 1950s, African students all over Africa started agitating for freedom. Having received the Western education, they understood that in order to recover their own power, they had to give up their tribal allegiances and unite as a nation. Thousands of lives if not millions of lives were lost in the process to obtain independence. Lumumba was one of the students, ardent believer that no limb or life could be spared in order to fight for independence. His passion led him in jails and receive beatings but in June 1960, with the help of thousands men and women, Congo became free.
Before, during and after colonization, western powers have always used the divide to rein stratagem and not too long after we received our independence, they turned misunderstandings into power struggle between Moise Tshombe, Lumumba, Kasavubu and Mobutu and at the end, Mobutu came out on top, and started his Western powered reign for 35 years. The one legacy he would take from Lumumba is the maintaining of a nationalist spirit where Zairois and Zairoise of all tribes came to identify with their country and their leader.
When he wasn’t useful anymore to his Western allies, Mobutu was taken down and Kabila who took powers got killed a few years later because he sounded too communist for the liking of the Western interests. Kabila Jr. proved himself and is still proving very understanding of those interests of his Western allies to the point that Uganda and Rwanda have made of the East of Congo, their hunting grounds just because they are friendly with the same Western allies that support him.
Rape of women and men, malnutrition, homelessness, prostitution, lack of education, lack of roads and infrastructures, and the list goes on ad nauseam, but despite it all, hope for Congo can’t be quenched. Every day, healthcare professionals, activists, musicians, artists and débrouillards find ways to make a difference in someone’s life. The spirit that animated Lumumba is still animating many of our vibrant Congolese youth who excel at home and abroad in all disciplines, attaining for themselves and their nations the necessary intellectual tools to match their indomitable spirit to see a better Congo.
I know that a Google search on Congo only gives the grim news, but I know not only from my family that still lives there, but from all those years I grew up there, that Congolese are resilient. Our musical, intellectual talent and our beautiful spirit haven’t been diminished by all the trials and it falls upon each and every one of us to see to it that those deaths of innocent civilians and other warriors for freedom weren’t in vain by digging in our pockets and thinking hard about our place in Congo’s future. It’s all about saving one life, one day at a time while pressuring the political leaders to implement the needed changes.