A Pan-Africanist and iconic revolutionary, Patrice 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.
Lumumba was born into the Tetela Tribe on 2 July 1925 in Onalua, Belgian Congo. He was raised in a Roman Catholic family and attended missionary school, and the government post office training school.
He dedicated his life to fighting colonialism, exploitation and injustices. Lumumba played a critical role in Congo’s fight for independence from Belgium.
At 34, Lumumba became the first Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and he was critical of Belgian involvement in Congolese politics. His administration faced a serious breakdown of order. There were a series of significant threats, which destabilised the government, and these included a military revolt and secession crisis, and these among others subsequently led to the demise of Lumumba.
As the political crisis spiralled out of control, Lumumba was imprisoned and he was later executed in a complex plot that is said to have involved Belgian, British and American collusion.
Lumumba was executed on 17 January 1961 by firing squad, and the execution caused an international outrage.