Winnie Mandela-Mother of The Nation(Rest in Power)

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Nelson Mandela’s ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, an anti-apartheid activist in her own right whose reputation was sullied by scandal, has died. She was 81.

The woman many South Africans once described as the “Mother of the Nation” and a champion of the black majority, died “surrounded by her family and loved ones,” according to a statement released by Madikizela-Mandela’s family.

Madikizela-Mandela was the second of Mandela’s three wives, married to him from 1958 to 1996.

Mandela, who died in 2013, was imprisoned throughout most of their marriage, and Madikizela-Mandela’s own activism against white minority rule led to her being jailed for months and placed under house arrest for years.

“She kept the memory of her imprisoned husband Nelson Mandela alive during his years on Robben Island and helped give the struggle for justice in South Africa one of its most recognizable faces,” the family said.

However, Madikizela-Mandela’s political activism was marred by her conviction in 1991 for kidnapping and assault, for which she was fined. She faced these allegations again during the 1997 hearings before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a panel that investigated apartheid-era crimes.

As a parliamentarian after South Africa’s first all-race elections, she was convicted of fraud.

Still, Madikizela-Mandela remained a venerated figure in the ruling African National Congress, which has led South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994.

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She continued to tell the party “exactly what is wrong and what is right at any time,” said senior ANC leader Gwede Mantashe.

The ANC, which was the main movement against apartheid, had lost popularity in recent years in part because of scandals linked to former President Jacob Zuma, who resigned in February.

Nobel laureate and former archbishop Desmond Tutu, a periodic critic of the ruling party, noted her passing by describing Madikizela-Mandela as “a defining symbol” of the fight against apartheid.

“She refused to be bowed by the imprisonment of her husband, the perpetual harassment of her family by security forces, detentions, bannings and banishment,” Tutu said. “Her courageous defiance was deeply inspirational to me, and to generations of activists.”

Madikizela-Mandela had been in and out of hospital since the start of the year, according to her family. She had back surgery a year ago.

After hearing of her death, some people gathered Monday evening outside Madikizela-Mandela’s home in the Soweto area of Johannesburg to sing tributes. She had attended Easter services in Soweto over the long weekend.

The family said it will release details of her memorial and funeral services when they are finalized.

Madikizela-Mandela’s story was told in biographies and novels as well the Hollywood movie “Winnie,” starring Oscar-winning actress and singer Jennifer Hudson.

The young Winnie grew up in what is now Eastern Cape province and came to Johannesburg as the city’s first black female social worker. Her research into the high infant mortality rate in a black township, which she linked to poverty caused by racism, first sparked her interest in politics.

In 1957, she met Nelson Mandela, an up-and-coming lawyer and anti-apartheid activist 18 years her senior, and they married a year later.

The first five turbulent years of their marriage saw Mandela going underground to build the armed struggle against apartheid, and finally to prison in 1963, while his wife gave birth to two daughters.

Madikizela-Mandela always was aware of the danger of being in the shadow of her husband’s all-encompassing personality.

Even before they were separated by Nelson Mandela’s long stay in prison, she had become politicized, being jailed for two weeks while pregnant for participating in a women’s protest of apartheid restrictions on blacks.

The apartheid police later harassed her, sometimes dragging her from bed at night without giving her a chance to make arrangements for her daughters.

In 1977, she was banished to a remote town, Brandfort, where neighbors were forbidden to speak to her. She was banned from meeting with more than one person at a time.

The woman who returned to Johannesburg in 1985 was much harder, more ruthless and bellicose, branded by the cruelty of apartheid and determined vengeance.

In her book “100 Years of Struggle: Mandela’s ANC,” Heidi Holland suggested that Madikizela-Mandela was “perhaps driven half-mad by security police harassment.” In an infamous 1986 speech she threatened “no more peaceful protests.”

Instead, she endorsed the “necklacing” method of killing suspected informers and police with fuel-doused tires put around the neck and set alight.

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“Together hand-in-hand, with our boxes of matches and our necklaces, we shall liberate this country,” she said.

Madikizela-Mandela complained bitterly on a North American tour after she was forced to testify to South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 1997 that the commission never asked her about the treatment she suffered over 18 months in solitary confinement.

The Mandela marriage that survived decades of prison bars dissolved with a formal separation in 1992, two years after Nelson Mandela was released.

The couple divorced in 1996, two years after Mandela became president in South Africa’s first all-race elections, with Mandela accusing his wife of infidelity.

As the mother of two of Mandela’s children, Madikizela-Mandela and her ex-husband appeared to rebuild a friendship in his final years.

After Mandela’s death, however, she became involved in disputes over his inheritance.

Article from Detroitnews.com

Black Panther film- Psychological Warfare by Franklin Jones

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Most people believe that white dominance is maintained only through their economic and military powers. However, it’s also equally maintained through psychological means. Oppressors also maintain their power by constantly indoctrinating narratives into the minds of the oppress that aids in the preservation of their dominance. Because if the oppressed are left to functions based upon their own narratives, born of their oppression, this breeds dissent among them that leads to revolution. When the oppressed functions based upon their own narratives many are even willing to die and become martyrs for their causes.
This is why white societies never acknowledges, validates, nor provide a national platform for any narratives from a Black perspective against white oppression. White societies are scripted so that the prevailing narratives always favor themselves.
Have you ever noticed that whenever a Black person is invented as a guest on a national television show to speak out about how white racism and white oppression profoundly effects our communities, that the white establishment always invite another guess to vilify them and or to argument? However, to the contrary, whenever white people from anywhere around the world speak about their oppression by a white government their words are praised and efforts are applauded by white societies. In fact when Black people speak out about their oppression and seeking liberation from it, even when using the exact same words as whites, we’re immediately labeled as militant radicals and criminalized. In the U.S were now labeled by the FBI as Black Identity Extremest and are placed on their watch list. This action by the U.S. white establishment is actually much more nefarious than just white hypocrisy. It’s the deliberate tactic of:
THE MASS GAS LIGHTING OF BLACK POPULATIONS .
Nowadays, whenever Black populations attempts to protest any mistreatments they endure from white societies, the white establishment will never legitimize these grievances. They will instead always respond by presenting narratives that counters and undermines the Black protests. It’s a distraction tactic known as Mass Gas Lighting.
This tactic is also what’s being done when the white establishment response to the Black lives matter slogan by saying that all lives matters. It’s also what’s being done when Black protest against the repeated killing of their love ones by white police officers and the white establishment responds with the false narrative that Black people are declaring a war on police officers.
The term gas- lighting psychological abuse is usually associated with individual abusive relationships, wherein which one person is manipulated and mentally abused for the benefited of the other. However, that same system is also being used on a large scale level by white societies against Black populations. It’s then referred to as Mass Gas Lighting Psychological Warfare.
Mass Gas lighting psychological warfare is a form of mass psychological abuse wherein which the oppressors routinely creates, and then imposes, false narratives beneficial to their own cause upon the oppressed population. It is a insidious form of psychological abuse wherein in which information is always twisted, spun, and or selectively omitted to favor the oppressor. This routine behavior, by the white establishment, in response to Black protest, is intentionally being done to mentally abuse the Black population. It’s a insidious psychological warfare system. This tactic is also what’s actually being done to Black people whenever white societies labels us (Black people) as being racist for protesting against their white racism towards us. This tactic shifts the focus away from the inequality being expressed by the Black population and forces the Black population to instead engage in defending themselves against false accusation of racism. Meanwhile the true issue of Black inequality is never addressed by the white establishment.
This mass gas lighting system is the reason why we literally have peaceful Black protesters crying; “please stop the white cops from killing us”, and the white establishment responding by criminalizing them as thugs, and using many deflecting commentaries to avoid addressing the issue. This psychological warfare practice is what you’re witnessing when the white establishment says; “All Lives Matters”, as rebuttals to the “Black Lives Matters” slogan. This rebuttal is merely a distraction tactic. It’s intentionally designed to divert attention away from the issue of Black victims being routinely killed by white cops. It’s also used to defuse the moral statement of “Black Lives Matters”. The flag kneeling issue is also merely a distraction tactic. It’s intentionally designed to divert attention away from the issue of Black victims being routinely killed by white cops.

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Within this psychological warfare system, the white establishment is never acknowledged as morally wrong, and the Black oppressed are never acknowledged as morally correct. This practice is continued until the Black population begins to doubt their own positions. Many begins to doubt their reasons for protesting, thinking that if their cause isn’t being recognized by the dominant society then perhaps it lacks merit. The mind’s of targeted populations are quite easy to manipulate if they’re unaware of what’s being done to them. Once minds have been confused, manipulation becomes simple. The mind will even ignore common sense, and rationality falls away, even overlooking hypocrisy and deception.
Our common mistake, as Black people living within white dominant societies, is that we perceive ourselves as being fully citizens however in reality nothing could be furthest from the truth. Although white governments professes equality for all citizens they’re secretly unrelentingly committed towards the preservation of their nation’s white dominance. This unrelenting commitment has always necessitated that systems be secretly implemented against the interests of Black populations- as a means of protecting their white dominance.
During the 1960’s Civil Right Movement, the blatantly racist Jim Crow segregation systems used in the past for maintaining the U.S white dominance had ran their course– thus became no longer morally and socially acceptable with the changing times. Therefore moral judgement was on the side of African Americans. As a result of this African Americans gain much global attention and support. Dr. King was even awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The situation tarnished the U.S image, eroded its globally standing, and embarrassed the US government. This required that the white establishment abandon this blatantly immoral practice and develop more covert methods for protecting the nation’s white dominance. The logical solution was use the same well proven psychological warfare propaganda campaigns that were already used to control the masses domestically and used against foreign nations during wartime to now control Black populations. These warfare tactics that are presently being deployed against Black people by white nations are Mass Gas Lighting Warfare, Manufactured Consent (for Black mistreatment), and
Black Demoralizing Divide and Conquer Warfare.
I have already explained the Mass Gas lighting warfare tactic, now I will explain the two additional listed tactics of :
1. Manufactured Consent (for Black mistreatment).
2. Divide and Conquer Warfare.
1. Manufactured Consent for the mistreatment of Black populations.
Whenever those that are in power wants to created a national setting that allows their mistreatment of a targeted population they use media to spread fraudulent propaganda portraying the targeted population as being a major problem of the society –through lies and manufactured news items. This create a consensual national setting that justifies their mistreatment. The tactic is called:
MANUFACTURED CONSENT” ( to mistreat)
What this more specifically means is to turn a harmless population into a fearsome enemy of society through false negative news media propaganda. Then use the false negatives perception of the group to justify routinely attacking and killing them. This tactic is precisely what is being done to Black populations by white societies. The white media intentionally portrays Black people as being a part of a treacherous, frightening, and insane fringe, thereby creating a false impression of wanton Black criminality and violence. This create contemptuous, distorted perceptions and acrimonious beliefs about the Black population that are designed to makes the nation and the entire world insensitive to their plight, tranquilize efforts on their behalf, and makes any serious criticism of White racism now almost impossible. When contempt of Black people is made to appear to be justifiable, this creates conditioned responses in the nation for eventualities to unfold against Black populations without opposition or resentment. Furthermore, it creates a consensual national setting wherein which witnesses, and bystanders, will sit by idly allowing Black populations to be brutally mistreated under the belief that it is all justified. This is very evident within the U.S. Criminal Justice system wherein which Black people are disproportionately incarcerated, given stiffer sentences, and are more likely than other racial groups to be treated brutally, beaten, and fired upon by police officers while they are unarmed. This is the reason why it is possible for white cops to habitually kill unarmed Black people and avoid being indicted by merely saying that they feared for their lives. These injustices are now often ignored because the perception has subconsciously become that it’s all now justified.
BLACK DIVIDE AND CONQUER PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE:
The white oppressor’s greatest power over us is their ability to control information that shapes our perception of reality and the capacity to make us then act according to these false perceptions.
The white media’s unrelenting negative depictions of Black people– that amplifies the negative to the point that it distort reality– is much more than just bias media reporting. It is also actually a Divide and Conquer psychological warfare system. Throughout world history, oppressors have often deployed divide and conquer tactic against the oppressed because self loathing and division amongst the oppressed makes them easier to control. This modern system is deplored like a massive media marketing campaign that constantly subjects Black people to seeing only the fraudulent worst within themselves. Its weapon is the message that it carries. Within this system fraudulent black racially demoralizing propaganda is pumped unrelentingly into the unsuspecting minds of Black populations–without being challenged or counterbalanced by an equal amount Black positive racially affirming information. It conveys the subliminal message that Black people are there own worst enemy and therefore needs whites to govern over their lives. Moreover, that Black people should admire, respect, and trust only Whites. This system is extremely effective because when Black people are repetitively presented these noted narratives from trusted white media sources it can be very difficult to resist it’s implied programming. Especially when the propaganda is being told daily and so unrelentingly.
With time, being unable to refute the constant negative information about themselves, many Black people eventually comes to accept them. They unconsciously influences how many within the Black population perceives themselves, creating division and self hatred among themselves. It also turns the collective aggressions of Black people away from the white society and turns them inward towards themselves. Our core problem has always been the monopoly that the white oppressors have over our minds. This warfare tactic works so well that it not only makes Black people more compliant with white dominance over their lives, it in fact makes many even prefer it. It’s at the root of the self hatred affecting many Black people and false feelings of false superiority held by many whites.
Throughout history the oppressor’s depiction of the oppressed has never been a true one. It is always a false depiction of the oppressed that serves the nefarious agendas of the oppressors. The oppressors always vilify the oppressed to validate their mistreatment of them. They always dehumanize the oppressed to make others insensitive to their plight. And they always depict the oppressed in a manner that demoralizes them. Because this makes the oppressed self loathing and divided – which then makes them easier to control. These are the exact same tactics that white societies presently uses against Black populations.

Article by Franklin Jones.  Be sure to buy his book The BlackPeopleMatrix.

Nat Turner, Solar Eclipse on August 21:Pay homage to the Great Ancestor

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This coming Monday will be a solar eclipse.  They don’t happen too often in the western part of the world.  But this is a special one in particular.  It will be on August 21 which is the day of the slave revolt by the great prophet Nat Turner.  This would be the 186 year anniversary of the revolt. With all the racial tension created by the mainstream media I can feel the tension around me. And our racist President is not helping the matter.  There are a lot of racial films out right now as well.  As well as the boxing match between Mayweather and McGregor which will fan more racial flames.  Watching the news can get you angry and upset.  Especially  when watching protests and marches by white supremacists.  But this is how the media controls you through your emotions.  Many black people are being manipulated emotionally.   It’s time to calm down,relax for a moment and think clearly. I think during this eclipse we should do some type of ritual in honor of the Black God Nat Turner.  Maybe pour libation or whatever you feel like doing.  But we need to harvest our energy and use the power given to us by our African ancestors.  We must always give the utmost respect to those that fought and gave the ultimate sacrifice against this wicked,racist and corrupt system.  Ashe’

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Happy Bornday Khalid Muhammad!

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This past January 12th was the birthday of the great warrior  Khalid Muhammad.  He was born January 12,1948. I don’t know if there were any celebrations..but there should be.  Khalid never bit his tongue. He  always represented Black Power and Black Unity to the fullest.  And all who love freedom,justice and liberation should respect him for that.  He was an unflinching warrior in the face of white supremacy.  His speeches always moved me and gave me chills!  As far as Muslims go I like him much better than Louis Farrakhan.  Farrakhan tuned his back on him like a coward when he needed him the most.  That’s when I knew Farr-A -CON was a phony.  Since he passed away in 2001 I don’t hear black people mention him as much. But I don’t think he should be forgotten.  He loved black people,African culture and was not afraid to speak TRUTH to power!  I just wanted to pay some respect to a true African warrior.  May his spirit live on forever!

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Khalid Abdul Muhammad, the former Nation of Islam official during the Million Youth March in Harlem in September, 1999.

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Patrice Lumumba- Congolese Warrior

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During his exile in the 1980s, Mr Holden Roberto – president of the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA) – and one of his collaborators, visited me in my office at Howard University in Washington. In order to counter accusations (incidentally well-founded) levelled at his party, of colluding with American imperialism and selling out on their commitment to Pan-Africanism, my two visitors began by reciting in its entirety Patrice Emery Lumumba’s famous speech at the Congolese independence ceremony on 30th June 1960. This gesture – which strongly affected me – shows the attachment you still find across the whole African continent, even among its lost sheep, for this martyr for African nationalism and the struggles of oppressed peoples all over the world.

Rare are the African countries where one does not find streets, even main roads, named after Lumumba. Many African children born after his assassination have ‘Lumumba’ as their forename. The former executive secretary of the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission (2002-5) and president of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (2010-11) is called Patrick Lumumba, and his passion for change and eloquence recalls those qualities in his namesake.

These two references to the political heritage of Lumumba show how the assassination of this great African leader resonated – and continues to resonate – with Africans. In his excellent book, The Assassination of Lumumba, Belgian sociologist Ludo de Witte shows the significance of this particular assassination in the history of Western tactics against the anti-imperialist revolutions of the 20th Century – from Mossadegh’s Iran to Nasserist Egypt, Castro’s Cuba, Lumumba’s Congo and Sankara’s Burkina Faso.

It is in this context – the struggle between the interests of the international bourgeoisie and those of the popular masses – that we must understand the factors contributing to Lumumba’s assassination, its political consequences for Congo, and the place of this Congolese hero in the pantheon of universal defenders of the emancipation of peoples.

The assassination of Lumumba was the outcome of two conspiracies closely bound together with the American and Belgian governments, which relied on the complicity of certain Congolese leaders and a Belgian firing squad composed of soldiers and policemen under the Katanga puppet regime.

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Patrice Lumumba – the man and his political project

Who is Patrice Lumumba, and why was he so violently assassinated by the forces of counter-revolution? Born on 2nd July 1925 in Onalua, a small village in the region of Katako-Kombe, Lumumba received his education at primary school as well as among Belgian Catholic missionaries at Tshumbe Sainte-Marie and the famous Methodist mission in Wembo Nyama. He was not appreciated there, neither among the representatives of the colonial trinity (the State, big business, the Catholic Church) nor by the American missionaries – themselves fervent believers in the ideology of white supremacy prevalent in the Southern states of the USA, and too weak to contest colonial repression. An intellectually precocious pupil who rebelled against the thundering paternalism of the missionaries, the young Lumumba decided to leave Sankuru in 1944 without obtaining his certificate of study in order to spread his wings elsewhere. After several months in the region of Kindu, he would go on to pursue a career as a bureaucrat in Kisangani (then Stanleyville). It was during this long stay at Kisangani (1944-57) that Lumumba developed his characteristic traits; moral and intellectual integrity, immovability on points of principle, and exceptional bravery even in the face of death. As one of the members of the firing squad which killed him recalled, Lumumba maintained a glacial calm in front of the executioners.

At Kisangani, Lumumba distinguished himself as president, vice president, or secretary, of at least seven organisations of Congolese évolués – literally meaning ‘evolved people’, this term was used by the Belgian colonial establishment to distinguish a class of ‘Westernised’ blacks. An autodidact, with the exception of a year of professional training at the École Postale in Kinshasa (then Leopoldville), he succeeded in acquiring immense knowledge about the contemporary world through extensive, self-guided reading on politics and history. According to Thomas Kanza, his collaborator and biographer, Lumumba ‘read all that fell into his hands’. As leader, he was a convincing and effective representative for the Kisangani evolués, liaising with the governor of the province, the Belgian minister of the colonies, Auguste Buisseret, and the young king, Baudouin I, during his first visit to Congo in 1955. Still a believer in the idea of the Belgo-Congolese community, promulgated by amicales belgo-congolais, clubs comprising evolués and those Belgians open to a gradual process of integration, Lumumba was invited to Belgium for the first time in 1956.

Fearing his perspicacity and well-founded criticisms of colonial racism, the colonial authorities welcomed his return from Brussels with a charge of tax avoidance, followed by a sentence of two years in prison by a trial court in Kisangani. The public prosecutor, judging this punishment insufficient, made an appeal, but the court of appeal in Kinshasa confirmed the sentence of two years. This punishment was reduced to four months, which he had already served in preventative detention, followed by a royal order granting grace, signed on 27th August 1957.

If Kisangani had given him the political apprenticeship he needed to master the mysteries of organisation and political practice, these two experiences of Kinshasa, of the École Postale and his incarceration, contributed in a decisive way to the awakening of his political consciousness. During his training in postal service administration in 1948, Lumumba made a short visit to Brazzaville, on the right bank of the River Congo opposite Kinshasa. Thirsty from walking, he stopped outside a café with the hope of finding a waiter who would give him a glass of water. To his surprise, it was the European café patron who noticed him, and invited him to sit where the whites were seated and brought him, not tap water, but mineral water. For the sociologist Pierre Clément – for whom he would work as a research assistant four years later –here was the first time that Lumumba realised that another world was possible, habituated as he was to the system of apartheid practised in Belgian Congo. Reinvigorated by the model of assimilation among the French in Congo-Brazzaville – though the ‘card of civic merit’ in 1948 and formal registration in 1952 did not succeed in guaranteeing equality of access to jobs, medical treatment, housing, social services and recreation – an évolué Lumumba felt his long-cowed spirit emboldened enough to dream of a more beautiful country than Belgian Congo.

This dream of radical change would reinforce itself further during his months of incarceration, during which Lumumba had the occasion to lead a serious reflection on the future of Congo and to read the famous ‘Plan de trente ans pour l’émancipation politique de l’Afrique belge’ by A.A.J Van Bilsen, a little known professor at the Colonial University of Anvers, together with the two Congolese reactions to this document: first, ‘Manifeste de la Conscience Africaine’, the work of a group of catholic intellectuals represented by Joseph Ileo, Joseph Malula (future cardinal) and Joseph Ngalula; second, the counter-manifesto by l’Alliance des Bakongo (ABAKO), an ethnic association led by Joseph Kasavubu. After leaving prison, Lumumba installed himself in Kinshasa where, from 1957, he launched himself into the political struggle. Joining up with Ileo and Ngalula, he succeeded, in October 1958, in taking the leadership of the Mouvement National Congolais (MNC), a political organisation started up with the intention of eventually becoming a credible political party at the national level.

By a happy confluence of circumstances, the year 1958 ended with the emergence of Patrice Lumumba as one of the principal leaders in the struggle for independence. The turning point was the visit to Kinshasa by two east African leaders on their way to the first ‘Conference des peuples Africains’, held in Accra between the 5th and 13th December 1958. Concerned that a large country like Congo risked missing out on this great African rendez-vous, A.R. Mohamed Babu of Zanzibar and Tom Mboya of Kenya asked a hotel worker where they could find the political leaders of the emerging independence movement. The worker in question was very happy to bring about a meeting with Patrice Lumumba, then the commercial director of the Brasserie du Bas-Congo (Bracongo), which produced the beer Polar. Lumumba often offered this to clients, ostensibly for promotional purposes but often using this as an opportunity to awaken the clients’ political consciousness. Babu and Mboya were so impressed by Lumumba that they sent a telegram to the Pan African Freedom Movement for East and Central Africa (PAFMECA) asking for money to bring a Congolese delegation to Accra.

And so Patrice Lumumba, Gaston Diami and Joseph Ngalula accompanied Babu and Mboya to Accra, where Lumumba attracted the notice of the delegates at the conference, which brought together representatives from the 8 independent countries (Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia) and those of the political parties, trade unions and other organisations of the civil society of the Pan-African world. There he met the leaders of national liberation movements such as Félix-Roland Moumié of the Union des Populations de Cameroun (UPC), Frantz Fanon of the Front de Liberation Nationale (FLN) of Algeria, and Amilcar Cabral of the Parti Africain pour L’independence de Guinéeet du Cap Vert (PAIGC), and he established strong working relationships with some great African leaders such as Kwame Nkrumah, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Modibo Keita and Ahmed Sékou Touré.

On his return to Kinshasa, Lumumba organized a popular demonstration on Sunday 28th December to inform the Congolese population of the resolutions of the Accra conference and their implications for the independence movement in Congo. Following the refusal by the first Belgian mayor of Kinshasa to allow ABAKO to hold a similar meeting the following Sunday, 4th January 1959, the population of Kinshasa rose in a three-day rebellion which sounded the death knell for the Belgian colonial regime in Congo. “Indépendance immediate”, the slogan of protestors, became a non-negotiable demand in the struggle of the Congolese people for their total freedom. Instead of the thirty years suggested by Van Bilsen in 1956, independence was obtained in four. The mobilisation of the population by radical political parties like ABAKA and MNC-L was responsible for the erosion of legitimacy, as much as the repressive abilities, of the colonial regime. Lumumba benefited from this new situation by placing the MNC-L throughout all the provinces of the country, to the point that his party became the spearhead of the Congolese independence struggle.

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The assassination of Lumumba        

For more than 128 years, the US and Belgium played key roles in fashioning the destiny of the Congo. In April 1884, seven months after the opening of Congress in Berlin, the US became the first country in the world to recognise the claims of King Leopold of Belgium to the Congo basin territories. When the atrocities linked to the brutal economic exploitation of Congo led to millions of deaths, the US joined with other global powers to force Belgium to put an end to the status of Congo as a personal possession of King Leopold II and to give it the status of an ordinary colony. During the colonial period (1908- 60), the US saw Congo’s strategic advantage due to its abundant natural resources, above all its uranium, which was used to created the first atomic weapons, the bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

With the launching of the Cold War, it was inevitable that Washington and her Western allies would not be disposed to give Africans control over their own strategically valuable natural resources, for fear that they would fall into the hands of their Soviet enemies. Because of this, Patrice Lumumba’s attempt to secure an authentic independence and to obtain effective control over the resources of Congo, with the aim of improving the living standards of our people, was seen as a threat to Western interests. In their fight against him, Washington and Brussels used all the tools and resources at their disposal, including the United Nations under Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld and his U.S. assistant Ralph Bunche, Lumumba’s Congolese political enemies, and his assassins.

In Congo, the assassination of Lumumba is, for good reason, considered the ‘original sin’ of the country. Occurring less than seven months after independence (30th June 1960), it was a stumbling block for ideals of national unity, economic independence, and the African solidarity for which Lumumba had advocated, as well as being a terrible blow to the hopes for freedom and material prosperity of millions of Congolese people. In place of this, the country was divided into four parts: the west of the country under the central government of Kinshasa; the north west under a rival central government led by Lumumba partisans; and the mining provinces of Katanga and Sud Kasaï under the secessionist regimes of Moïse Tshombe and Albert Kalonji, at Lumumbashi (Elisabethville) and Mbuji-Mayi (Bakwanga) respectively.

The neo-colonial regime of Kinshasa was born from the dismissal of Lumumba by president Kasavubu in 1960 and the coup d’etat of 14th September by which colonel Joseph-Desiré Mobutu claimed to neutralise both protagonists of the institutional crisis. Based on an obscure article of ‘La Loi Fondamentale’, the temporary constitution bequeathed to Congo by Belgium, this action ran contrary to all the political conventions of a parliamentary system where the prime minister enjoys a majority in parliament. This was the case with Lumumba: the two chambers rejected Kasavubu’s action as invalid. The Western puppet-masters understood then that there would have to be a military intervention to remove Lumumba from power, and Mobutu had already been making preparations to this end from the beginning of the Congolese crisis in July. A former ally of Prime Minister Lumumba, he was at the same time linked to the forces of the counter-revolution as an informer for the Belgian and American security services.

It was this man who became the real master of Kinshasa, in his role as head of the Binza Group. So-labelled because its members lived and met up in the well-off residential district of Binza, this powerful clique drew its power from its members’ influence over crucial institutions and politicians; the army (Mobutu); the police (Victor Nendaka); the ministry of foreign affairs (Justin Bomkoko), the ministry of the interior (Damien Kandolo), the Central Bank (Albert Ndele). These individuals worked in close collaboration with Prime Minister Cyrille Adoula and President Kasavabu, and no important decision could be taken by these last two without the approval of the Binza group, the hub of neocolonialism in Congo.

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The secessions of Katanga and Sud Kasaï

Of these two secessions, that of Sud Kasaï is the lesser-known one yet it also played an important role in the political and physical assassination of Patrice Lumumba. Proclaimed on 8th August 1960 in Lumumbashi, the Sud Kasaï secession forged close links with its Katangan counterpart, siding with the interests of international high finance and the counter-revolution, with La Societé Diamantifère Forminière in Kasaï playing the same role – of money-lender – that the Union Miniere du Haut Katanga (UMHK) played in Katanga. The smaller secession took place as the Lumumba administration was receiving logistical assistance from the Soviet Union in order to fight a war against the secession in Katanga, due to the refusal of UN Secretary General Dag Hammerskjöld to allow the Security Council to perform its remit of helping the Congolese government expel the Belgian forces and white mercenaries and put an end to the secession. The soldiers of the National Congolese Army (ANC) en route to Katanga received the order to put an end to the small secession of Sud Kasaï before crossing the border. Unfortunately, the undisciplined soldiers committed atrocious massacres against innocent civilians, including close to a thousand men, women and children who believed themselves safe from danger in the sanctuary of the Catholic Cathedral of Mbuju-Mayi (today Bakwanga).

Dag Hammarskjöld defined these killings as ‘genocide’ against the Luba and pointed the finger at Prime Minister Lumumba. Aside from the fact that the atrocities committed in Sud Kasaï did not correspond to the definition of genocide in international law, these odious crimes were not the sole responsibility of the head of government, but of the entire chain of command: the superior officers on the ground; the Chief of Staff, Mobutu; Prime Minister Lumumba; and President Kasavubu, in his capacity as supreme commander of the armed forces. As such, neither Hammerskjöld nor Kasavabu had any justification either for accusing Lumumba of genocide, or for illegally dismissing him when the responsibility for this incident was largely a collective one.

The capital of Sud Kasaï would be baptised ‘la boucherie’, because it was the chosen site for the summary execution of Lumumbists whom the neo-colonial regime of Kinshasa wanted to destroy. The most famous among the victims is without doubt Jean-Pierre Finant (1922-61), the first democratically-elected governor of the eastern province, of which Kisangani is the capital. Of mixed Belgo-Congolais descent and father of the famous Congolese singer Abeti Masikini (Betty Finant, 1954-94), he was executed on 17th February 1961, exactly one month after the assassination of Lumumba, with eleven companions, including Jacques Lumbala (a former colleague of Mobutu), Emmanuel Nzuzi and Jacques Fataki. As in the case of Lumumba, who was handed over to Katangan secessionists, the Binza group saw no contradiction between collaborating with the secessionist regimes which it needed to destroy, and assassinating their common enemies, the Lumumbists.

The secession of Sud-Kasaï collapsed through its internal contradictions, mainly due to the struggle for power between Joseph Ngalula and Albert Kalonji, who was proclaimed Mulopwe or emperor of the Luba-Kasaï, a people who had never been under the leadership of a single leader since leaving their ancestral birthplace in Katanga in the 18th century. Having returned to Kinshasa to become minister of education for the central government, Ngalula plotted with the Binza group to destroy Kalonji and bring an end to the secession. This came about in September 1962, following an armed revolt under the direction of Kalonji’s Chief of Staff.

Contrary to the Sud-Kasaï secession, where the internal dimension was as crucial to its failure as it was to its birth; in light of the Lulua-Baluba conflict and its poor management – by first, the Belgians, later, Lumumba – the external factor was a defining one in Katanga. As Jean Ziegler aptly described it in his work La contre revolution en Afrique, in its progression towards the south of the continent, the African national liberation movement hit the wall of counter-revolution, whereby the white colonists, mining companies and their right-wing allies in the West, banded together to defend their privileges. Then, from Katanga to the Cape of Good Hope, the white counter-attack manifested itself in the creation of states controlled by white colonists, either directly, as in the case of South Africa, in Namibia and in the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyassaland, indirectly through the colonial state (Angola and Mozambique), or via a puppet government of paid-up blacks (Katanga). The essential continuity was that all these regimes succeeded in defending and promoting the interests of colonialists and of the corporations that sought to maximise their profits through the exploitation of badly-paid and quiescent labour. In the context of the cold war, the counter-revolution had no problem in inserting itself in the hegemonic discourse of Western values, Christian and democratic, which excluded communism, atheism and authoritarianism.

Well before the Rhodesian colonialist Ian Smith signed his ‘internal settlement’ with Bishop Abel Muzorewa, Pastor Ndabaningi and Chief Jeremiah Chirau in Zimbabwe, another agreement had already been negotiated in Congo, between the Conféderation des associations tribales de Katanga (CONAKAT) of Moïse Tshombe and Godefroid Munongo, the UMHK and the Union Katangaise – an association representing white colonialists – to allow Katanga to secede from Congo and become an independent state. In this sense, CONAKAT was just a way of giving voice to the interests of white colonialists through African mouths. Without the financial support of the UMHK, the military and technical support of Belgium, and the management of administrative and economic structures by the colonialists, Katanga could not survive as a political entity. Moreover, the secession relied on considerable external support; not only from Belgium, but also from France, the United Kingdom, and the US. In the country of Uncle Sam, the Katangan secession enjoyed solid backing in reactionary circles – lobbyists for the cause included influential senators Barry Goldwater of Arizona (a radical conservative), Thomas Dodd of Connecticut (a Democrat reprimanded by the Senate for corruption), and Strom Thurmond of South Carolina (a notorious racist, despite having fathered a daughter with a black woman).

Following on from the assassination of Lumumba, the Katangan lobby in the US and Europe lost its influence with the key deciders such as John F. Kennedy and Paul-Henri Spaak, the Belgian minister of Foreign Affairs. These men understood that in the context of the Cold War, the territorial integrity of Congo was more useful to the West than a secessionist province which would continue to sow dissent across Africa and in the Third World in general, in turn raising difficult questions about the West’s responsibility for the death of Lumumba. Besides, these deciders no longer perceived a great threat to the economic and strategic interests of the West in Central Africa, given the physical elimination of Lumumba and the marginalization of Lumumbists after Lovanium. It is within this context that Kennedy would give the green light for the UN to put an end to the secession with force. Taking place on 29th November 1962, the UN intervention succeeded, with an agreement of capitulation signed by Tshombe on 17 January 1983. Ironically, the restoration of national unity to which Lumumba had given his life was realised by the interests of the imperial powers and their puppets in the neo-colonial regime in Kinshasa.

These efforts succeeded in putting an end to the Lumumbist regime of Kisangani in August 1961, to the secession of Sud-Kasaï in September 1962 and to that of Katanga in January 1963. The end of these three regimes would consecrate the rise of General Mobutu and his clique, the Binza Group.

Lumumba’s Legacy

Hardly had this process of unification finished before a radical social movement pronouncing a ‘second independence’ rose up to contest the neo-colonial state in Kinshasa and its pro-Western leaders. This mass movement brought together peasants, workers, the urban unemployed and students, alongside low and mid-ranking officials, who found an enthusiastic leadership among the former lieutenants of Patrice Lumumba, of which the majority had reformed to create the Conseil National de Libération (CNL) in October 1963 in Brazzaville.

Divided on the field into two wings – the Kwilu front, led by Pierre Mulele, and the Eastern front under Christopher Gbenye, Gaston Soumialot and Laurent-Desiré Kabila – the strengths and weaknesses of the movement can be used to gauge the global heritage of Patrice Lumumba, for Congo and the whole of Africa. The most positive aspect of this legacy is reflected in Pierre Mulele’s dedication to a radical program of change to satisfy the deep aspirations of the Congolese people for democracy and social progress. On the other hand, the Lumumbists of the Eastern front were more interested in power, and the privileges it conferred, than in genuine social change. In the latter case, it was all rhetoric and no action. In effect, the challenge for all those who want to follow in the footsteps of Lumumba is to make the leap from words into action.

A struggle that is far from over…

According to unconfirmed reports, Walter Kansteiner – US Secretary of State for African Affairs under George W. Bush, between June 2001 and November 2003 – designed a plan for the division of Congo into four countries. The justification for such a Balkanisation would be that, in its present dimensions, the country is too large and ungovernable. For the extreme right of the US Republican Party, and those with interests in the resources of tropical Africa – as is the case with the family business W.H Kansteiner, Inc of Chicago – this would facilitate access to resources, and make their transfer to outside markets easier. Besides, if Rwanda and Uganda could play the role of facilitator, why not?

For those nostalgic for the ‘White Man’s Burden’, and their lackeys in Africa, the reality is that their project for the recolonization of Congo will always stumble against the determination of the Congolese people to defend their unity, their national patrimony, and the territorial integrity of their homeland. The legacy of Patrice Lumumba, Pierre Lulele, André Kisase Ngandu and so many other martyrs brings women, men and children to shout “No” to balkanization and “Yes” to a “United Congo, a strong nation.” Just as the progressive leaders of the struggle for independence chanted this slogan on the eve of the achievement of sovereignty – united and nationalistic men and women of integrity – the real children of Lumumba continue to defend, against the odds, the greater interests of the Congolese nation.

Article by Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja

Thomas Sankara-Revolutionary Hero

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Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara (21 December 1949 – 15 October 1987) was a Burkinabé military captain, revolutionary, pan-Africanist theorist, and President of Burkina Faso from 1983 to 1987. Viewed by supporters as a charismatic and iconic figure of revolution.

  • He vaccinated 2.5 million children against meningitis, yellow fever and measles in a matter of weeks.
  • He initiated a nation-wide literacy campaign, increasing the literacy rate from 13% in 1983 to 73% in 1987.
  • He planted over 10 million trees to prevent desertification
  • He built roads and a railway to tie the nation together, without foreign aid
  • He appointed females to high governmental positions, encouraged them to work, recruited them into the military, and granted pregnancy leave during education.
  • He outlawed female genital mutilation, forced marriages and polygamy in support of Women’s rights
  • He sold off the government fleet of Mercedes cars and made the Renault 5 (the cheapest car sold in Burkina Faso at that time) the official service car of the ministers.
  • He reduced the salaries of all public servants, including his own, and forbade the use of government chauffeurs and 1st class airline tickets.
  • He redistributed land from the feudal landlords and gave it directly to the peasants. Wheat production rose in three years from 1700 kg per hectare to 3800 kg per hectare, making the country food self-sufficient.
  • He opposed foreign aid, saying that “he who feeds you, controls you.”
  • He spoke in forums like the Organization of African Unity against continued neo-colonialist penetration of Africa through Western trade and finance. • He called for a united front of African nations to repudiate their foreign debt. He argued that the poor and exploited did not have an obligation to repay money to the rich and exploiting
  • In Ouagadougou, Sankara converted the army’s provisioning store into a state-owned supermarket open to everyone (the first supermarket in the country). • He forced civil servants to pay one month’s salary to public projects.
  • He refused to use the air conditioning in his office on the grounds that such luxury was not available to anyone but a handful of Burkinabes.
  • As President, he lowered his salary to $450 a month and limited his possessions to a car, four bikes, three guitars, a fridge and a broken freezer.
  • A motorcyclist himself, he formed an all-women motorcycle personal guard.
  • He required public servants to wear a traditional tunic, woven from Burkinabe cotton and sewn by Burkinabe craftsmen. (The reason being to rely upon local industry and identity rather than foreign industry and identity)
  • When asked why he didn’t want his portrait hung in public places, as was the norm for other African leaders, Sankara replied “There are seven million Thomas Sankaras.”
  • An accomplished guitarist, he wrote the new national anthem himself

Sankara seized power in a 1983 popularly supported coup at the age of 33, with the goal of eliminating corruption and the dominance of the former French colonial power. He immediately launched one of the most ambitious programmes for social and economic change ever attempted on the African continent. To symbolize this new autonomy and rebirth, he renamed the country from Upper Volta to Burkina Faso (“Land of Upright Man”). His foreign policies were centered on anti-imperialism, with his government eschewing all foreign aid, pushing for odious debt reduction, nationalizing all land and mineral wealth, and averting the power and influence of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. His domestic policies were focused on preventing famine with agrarian self-sufficiency and land reform, prioritizing education with a nationwide literacy campaign, and promoting public health by vaccinating 2.5 million children against meningitis, yellow fever, and measles. Other components of his national agenda included planting over ten million trees to halt the growing desertification of the Sahel, doubling wheat production by redistributing land from feudal landlords to peasants, suspending rural poll taxes and domestic rents, and establishing an ambitious road and rail construction program to “tie the nation together”. On the localized level Sankara also called on every village to build a medical dispensary and had over 350 communities construct schools with their own labour. Moreover, his commitment to women’s rights led him to outlaw female genital mutilation, forced marriages and polygamy, while appointing women to high governmental positions and encouraging them to work outside the home and stay in school even if pregnant.

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In order to achieve this radical transformation of society, he increasingly exerted authoritarian control over the nation, eventually banning unions and a free press, which he believed could stand in the way of his plans. To counter his opposition in towns and workplaces around the country, he also tried corrupt officials, “counter-revolutionaries” and “lazy workers” in Popular Revolutionary Tribunals. Additionally, as an admirer of Fidel Castro’s Cuban Revolution, Sankara set up Cuban-style Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDRs).

His revolutionary programs for African self-reliance made him an icon to many of Africa’s poor. Sankara remained popular with most of his country’s impoverished citizens. However his policies alienated and antagonised the vested interests of an array of groups, which included the small but powerful Burkinabé middle class, the tribal leaders whom he stripped of the long-held traditional right to forced labour and tribute payments, and France and its ally the Ivory Coast. As a result, he was overthrown and assassinated in a coup d’état led by Blaise Compaoré on October 15, 1987. A week before his murder, he declared: “While revolutionaries as individuals can be murdered, you cannot kill ideas.”

On October 15, 1987, Sankara was killed by an armed group with twelve other officials in a coup d’état organised by his former colleague Blaise Compaoré. Deterioration in relations with neighbouring countries was one of the reasons given, with Compaoré stating that Sankara jeopardised foreign relations with former colonial power France and neighbouring Ivory Coast. Prince Johnson, a former Liberian warlord allied to Charles Taylor, told Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) that it was engineered by Charles Taylor. After the coup and although Sankara was known to be dead, some CDRs mounted an armed resistance to the army for several days.

Sankara’s body was dismembered and he was quickly buried in an unmarked grave, while his widow Mariam and two children fled the nation. Compaoré immediately reversed the nationalizations, overturned nearly all of Sankara’s policies, rejoined the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to bring in “desperately needed” funds to restore the “shattered” economy,[34] and ultimately spurned most of Sankara’s legacy. Compaoré’s dictatorship remained in power for 27 years until overthrown by popular protests in 2014.

Sankara’s visionary leadership turned his country from a sleepy West African nation with the colonial designation of Upper Volta to a dynamo of progress under the proud name of Burkina Faso (“Land of the Honorable People”). He led one of the most ambitious programs of sweeping reforms ever seen in Africa. It sought to fundamentally reverse the structural social inequities inherited from the French colonial order.

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Sankara focused the state’s limited resources on the marginalized majority in the countryside. When most African countries depended on imported food and external assistance for development, Sankara championed local production and the consumption of locally-made goods. He firmly believed that it was possible for the Burkinabè, with hard work and collective social mobilization, to solve their problems: chiefly scarce food and drinking water.

In Sankara’s Burkina, no one was above farm work, or graveling roads–not even the president, government ministers or army officers. Intellectual and civic education were systematically integrated with military training and soldiers were required to work in local community development projects.

Sankara disdained formal pomp and banned any cult of his personality. He could be seen casually walking the streets, jogging or conspicuously slipping into the crowd at a public event. He was a rousing orator who spoke with uncommon candor and clarity and did not hesitate to publicly admit mistakes, chastise comrades or express moral objections to heads of powerful nations, even if it imperiled him. For example, he famously criticized French president François Mitterand during a state dinner for hosting the leader of Apartheid South Africa.