The family of Patrice Lumumba, an independence hero in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, buried his only known remains – one of his teeth – in the capital, Kinshasa, on Thursday, 61 years after his death at the hands of Belgian-backed separatist rebels.
Hundreds gathered in a wide plaza for the occasion, waving flags and looking at a large picture of Lumumba, with his rimmed rimmed glasses and hair framed in white flowers.
Lumumba was Shot dead on January 17, 1961 In the southeastern province of Katanga after the ouster of the former Prime Minister-General, all within months of the independence of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from Belgium.
A banner reading “Thank you, national hero,” was hung at the crowd, which included the President of the neighboring Republic of Congo, Denis Sassou Nguesso, the Belgian foreign minister, and several African ambassadors.
“Finally, the Congolese people can have the honor of offering a burial to their illustrious Prime Minister,” said President Felix Tshisekedi. “We are ending… the mourning we started 61 years ago.”
The funeral was held on the 62nd anniversary of the independence of the Central African country. On that day, Lumumba gave a fiery speech criticizing Belgium’s 75-year colonization of the Congo.
Congo’s first democratically elected prime minister, Lumumba alarmed the West by opening up to Moscow at the height of the Cold War.
His government lasted only three months before he was overthrown and assassinated. Supporters and some historians accuse the CIA of being involved. A Belgian parliamentary inquiry into Lumumba’s murder in 2002 concluded that Belgium was “morally responsible” for his death.
The body was not found. Reportedly, a Belgian police officer, Gerard Sweet, took his only remaining tooth, and claimed he dissolved much of the body in acid and burned the rest.
King Philippe of Belgium visited the Democratic Republic of the Congo for the first time this month and She handed over the tooth to the Lumumba family on June 20.
One of his granddaughters said in a letter to Lumumba that she read at the funeral: “Your return home, the honors you receive here is a page of history you are still writing.” “With you, today, Africa writes its history.”
“Gamer. Wannabe beer evangelist. Pop culture practitioner. Travel lover. Social media advocate.”