The year was 1925 in the Onalua village of Congo. The air was filled with pleas of the Congolese natives in their bid to reacquire the lost freedom to live and love as they would by themselves have it.
The grounds reeked of the spilled blood of men, women and children whose only crime was staying true to all they have held dear, holding fast unto all their ancestors before them have passed on to them in trust of the ones that are yet to be born.
But I guess the Belgian oppressors whose control and exploitation agenda were of core interest to themselves and the imperial empire they sought to build were also bent on reaching their set target by any means possible.
Elias Okit’Asombo was born 2nd of July on this fateful year, to bring to his fellow Congolese their kidnapped sense of worth and to remind them of their inherent birthright as a people who are by virtue of their existence deserving of all that is found within and without them.
The annals of history have now referred to him as Patrice Lumumba and this shall be the name of interest given this brief run through the back doors of time.
Patrice Lumumba was born into an ardent Catholic family of four boys. His parents made sure that he received his fair share of the Catholic doctrines that taught; unquestioning obedience, silence in the face of oppression as ‘Jesus Christ’ will come to the rescue of the oppressed, as well as lessons in accepting what is given and never asking for your due.
Young Patrice was too much of a rebel for these socio-religious restrictions because of his fiery ambition and free-spiritedness. Even as a school-going child, Patrice’s teachers avoided his endless ‘troublesome’ questions and clashed with the young maestro on several occasions concerning issues bothering around his relentless steadfastness to his personal principles and values, the ultimate of which spelt; ‘Justice for All’.
Growing up, one of Patrice’s major concern had to do with why the sermon preached by the Belgian clergy carried sweet-scented flavours of justice and equity, but their relations with the Congolese natives over whom they lorded were rather garnished with high levels of disrespect for human dignity and sheer cruelty. ‘Why the contradiction?’… he often times quizzed his devout Catholic parents and household?
Not finding their religion-inspired responses adequate enough for his free-mindedness, he exited his family community in Sankuru to the Upper Congo Province named; Kindu, where he believed held both the tools and atmosphere required for the evolution of his ambitions and competencies, always choosing the ‘Upper’ course one would say.
The young Patrice Lumumba was a charmer; very charismatic in approach and eloquent in speech even as a youngster. His high levels of intelligence and a keen sensitivity to justice earned him a respectable standing amongst his peers and contemporaries.
His natural talents and great inter-personal relational skills saw him fly through his academic pursuits with impressive records in Kinshasha and he begun work as a Tax clerk at the age 19.
This young rebel is one who came by birth to stay the waning hope of his people and the world at large, a high calling for which he paid a dear price in his older years, and though 1961 denied him a place among the living, his; memories, courage, valour and ideas still live to inspire us and all who believe there is an empire of freedom held in trust for everybody.