A Pan-Africanist and iconic revolutionary, Lumumba, founder and leader of the Mouvement National Congolais (MNC) party was Congo’s independence leader and the first democratically elected leader of the country. He dedicated his life to fighting colonialism, exploitation and injustices. Lumumba played a critical role in Congo’s fight for independence from Belgium.

We celebrate the legacy of one of Africa’s founding heroes and remember the words he left us with in his quest to see the liberation and development of Africa.

1. “The colonialists care nothing for Africa for her own sake. They are attracted by African riches and their actions are guided by the desire to preserve their interests in Africa against the wishes of the African people. For the colonialists all means are good if they help them to possess these riches”. Speech at the All-African Conference in Leopoldville August, 1960.

2. “Political independence has no meaning if it is not accompanied by rapid economic and social development”. Speech at the All-African Conference in Leopoldville August, 1960

3. “Without dignity there is no liberty, without justice there is no dignity, and without independence there are no free men”. Letter to his wife, Letter from Thysville Prison, Congo, My Country.

4. “A minimum of comfort is necessary for the practice of virtue”. Congo, My Country.

5. “The day will come when history will speak. But it will not be the history which will be taught in Brussels, Paris, Washington or the United Nations…Africa will write its own history and in both north and south it will be a history of glory and dignity”. Letter from Thysville Prison to Mrs. Lumumba.

Lumumba raises his arms, injured by shackles, after his release from prison in January 1960 Photo: Wikipedia

Lumumba raises his arms, injured by shackles, after his release from prison in January 1960 Photo: Wikipedia

6. “[T]he only thing which we wanted for our country is the right to a worthy life, to dignity without pretence, to independence without restrictions. This was never the desire of the Belgian colonialists and their Western allies…” Letter from Thysville Prison to Mrs. Lumumba.

7. “These divisions, which the colonial powers have always exploited the better to dominate us, have played an important role — and are still playing that role — in the suicide of Africa”. African Unity and National Independence speech, March, 1959.

8. “We know that Africa is neither French, nor British, nor American, nor Russian, that it is African. We know the objects of the West. Yesterday they divided us on the level of a tribe, clan and village…They want to create antagonistic blocs, satellites…” Speech at the opening of the All-African Conference in Leopoldville August 25,1960.

9. “No one is perfect in this imperfect world”. Congo, My Country.

10. “African unity and solidarity are no longer dreams. They must be expressed in decisions”. Speech at the opening of the All-African Conference in Leopoldville August 25,1960.