Skip to main content

Patrice Lumumba

First Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo

July 2, 1925 - January 17, 1961

Patrice Lamumba

Lumumba was born in Onalua, Belgian Congo.He was the leader of the Congolese National Movement (MNC) from 1958 until his execution in January 1961. Ideologically an African nationalist and pan-Africanist, he played a significant role in the transformation of the Congo from a colony of Belgium into an independent republic. Lumumba was a man of strong character who pursued his policies regardless of the enemies. The Congo was a key area in terms of the geopolitics of Africa, and because of its wealth, size, and proximity to white-dominated southern Africa. 
In his 1960 independence Day speech Lumumba said, "We are going to show the world what the Black man [and woman] can do when he works in freedom, and we are going to make of the Congo the center of the sun’s radiance for all of Africa. We are going to keep watch over the lands of our country so that they truly profit her children.”
There was an army revolt with secessionist groups from the mineral-rich province of Katanga. Lumumba ask the U.N. to help and they refused. He then turned to the Soviet Union for help. He was accused of being a communist because he believed that the wealth of Congo should remain in Congo to create a strong society. This did not sit well with Western views. Belgium, Britain,The U.S. CIA, Congolese military + Joseph Mobutu had Lumumba kidnapped and held prisoner. 
On January 17, 1961, Patrice Lumumba was executed by a firing squad. After his body was his body was dissolved in acid and burned. In 2022 Belgium returned his gold tooth. The only remains of tortured body. 

Patrice Lumumba: DR Congo buries tooth of independence hero

The gold-crowned tooth of Democratic Republic of Congo independence hero Patrice Lumumba has been buried more than 60 years after he was assassinated.

Belgium to return Patrice Lumumba’s gold tooth in bid to atone for colonial crimes

The Belgian government will return a tooth of Patrice Lumumba to his family this week, hoping to draw a line under one of the most brutal and shameful episodes in the country’s bloody exploitation of central Africa.