Home World News Here’s why it is a relic charting Congo’s colonial history

Here’s why it is a relic charting Congo’s colonial history

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Here’s why it is a relic charting Congo’s colonial history

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Lumumba's tooth returns home 60 years after assassination: Here's why it is a relic charting Congo's colonial history

Patrice Lumumba’s tooth returns residence 60 years after assassination. AP/Twitter.

Kinshasa: Patrice Lumumba, an anti-colonial hero, pan-African nationalist and the DRC’s first democratically elected prime minister was tortured and assassinated in 1961. Now, over half a century later, his coffin – manufactured from black wenge (a hardwood) recognized for its resilience – has been returned to Congo from Brussels. The journey of the casket is uncommon due to what it accommodates – single, gold-capped molar belonging to the slain chief.

Who was Patrice Emery Lumumba?

Patrice Emery Lumumba was a Congolese politician and independence chief who served as the primary prime minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo. He was killed by firing squad on January 17, 1961. He performed a vital function within the transformation of the Congo from a colony of Belgium into an unbiased republic.

According to a report in Financial Times, Lumumba was arrested, tortured and shot to demise by political opponents within the province of Katanga. His homicide befell within the presence of Belgian officers.

What occurred to Lumumba’s physique?

Lumumba’s physique and people of two colleagues who had been travelling with him, Joseph Okito and Maurice Mpolo have been by no means discovered. However, many years later, as per the report, a Belgian police commissioner within the Congo named Gerard Soete confessed that he and his brothers had disposed the physique, reduce into corpses and dissolved in vats of sulphuric acid that belonged to the Union Minière du Haut-Katanga.

Incidentally, this Union Minière du Haut-Katanga established by King Léopold II in 1906 to use the Congo’s mineral sources was what Belgium was focused on defending from Lumumba’s nationalist motion.

Lumumbas tooth returns home 60 years after assassination Heres why it is a relic charting Congos colonial history

Source: AP

The gold-capped tooth

Ludo De Witte, a Belgian sociologist who wrote a groundbreaking account of the homicide and its causes many years later had revealed that Soete had admitted that he had two of Lumumba’s enamel however had thrown them into the North Sea. He died that very same yr.

Later in 2015, his daughter had in an interview with a Belgian journal confirmed one gold-capped tooth in a padded field. De Witte complained to the police and Belgian authorities confiscated the tooth.

Letter to King Philippe of Belgium

At the peak of Black Lives Matter in June 2020, Lumumba’s daughter Juliana wrote to King Philippe of Belgium urging for the “return of the relics of Patrice Émery Lumumba to the land of his ancestors.”

“Why, after his terrible murder, have Lumumba’s remains been condemned to remain a soul forever wandering… used on the one hand as trophies by some of your fellow citizens, and on the other as funereal possessions sequestered by your kingdom’s judiciary?” she requested in her letter.

Lumumbas tooth returns home 60 years after assassination Heres why it is a relic charting Congos colonial history

Source AP

It was three months later that a Belgian court docket cleared the best way for the tooth to be returned to DRC and the ultimate stage of its journey started within the yr 2022.

No DNA check

However, no DNA check has been carried out on the relic as a result of it might have destroyed the tooth. The report talked about Belgian officers saying that they’ve sufficient proof to successfully say that it is the tooth of Patrice Lumumba.

Eric Van Duyse, spokesman for the Belgian federal prosecutor’s workplace stated they don’t have the DNA proof as, in session with the household, they determined to not do it.

Importance of Lumumba’s tooth

The president of Congo Félix Tshisekedi says Lumumba’s is a true icon. “Despite the many generations that came and went, and this is the third generation since Lumumba, he is still regarded as an icon,” he stated.

Lumumbas tooth returns home 60 years after assassination Heres why it is a relic charting Congos colonial history

Source AP

Tshisekedi understood the facility of the second Lumumba’s tooth lastly got here residence and on the ceremony Tshisekedi informed the assembled crowd that the nation was lastly capable of finish the interval of mourning that had begun 61 years earlier than.

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