In African history, emblematic leaders have never been in short supply. During the pre and post-independence era, several leaders emerged to champion the cause of their people. Some lived old enough to see the fruits of their sacrifice while others were not so fortunate.
In the same vein, while some died of natural causes, others were gruesomely butchered or assassinated, cutting them in their primes and denying them a befitting burial or final honour from their people.
For instance, while Nelson Mandela paid the price of being incarcerated for 27 years for fighting apartheid and societal injustice in South Africa, he was later elected as President in post-apartheid South Africa. When he died some years after office, he was accorded, deservedly so, a heroic funeral by the South African government, people and the international community.
But Patrice Lumumba, who fought vigorously for Congo’s independence, was brutally killed just some months after he became the country’s first leader and his remains dissolved with acid.
In the same vein, the following iconic leaders were not as lucky as Nelson Mandela as they died very sad and lonely deaths. Their deaths and burial is still a matter of emotional debates whenever their names are mentioned. Some were not even lucky to be buried in their fatherland while the causes of the deaths of some of these leaders remain unresolved till today.
Their contributions cannot, however, be forgotten and perhaps would remain alive in the hearts of their followers as the conscience of African struggles and political emancipation.