Black Panther: Pan African Superhero?

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One of the problems with Black superheroes in Marvel and DC comics is that they may look Black, but very rarely do they reflect the experiences and struggles of Black people. This was a point that was made Kenneth Ghee who explained in Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation that: “Historically in comic books and movies, the Black superhero operates in a totally Eurocentric (White) context; no Black family, no Black lover, no connection to community or culture…For him (and for us and our children) there is no Black consciousness or Black cause, only a generalized ‘humanitarian’ supportive role from a Eurocentric worldview and perspective.” Given that the Black Panther movie is set to be released next month, I would like to point out that one of the unique things about the Black Panther is that he is one Black superhero who has to confront many of the problems that Black people confront daily. The Black Panther doesn’t just live in Africa, he also lives many of the real problems that Africa has faced and continues to face. Black Panther comics are filled with themes of Western imperialism, colonialism, and neo-colonialism in Africa. These themes are especially prominent in the six episode cartoon series which was an adoption of Reginald Hudlin’s run of the comics.
In the comics Wakanda is the most technologically advanced country in the world because the people of Wakanda are able to utilize their country’s resources for their own benefit. Wakanda was the only African country never to be colonized or conquered, so it did not suffer through the ravages of the slave trade and colonialism which disrupted Africa’s development and, as Walter Rodney explained, underdeveloped Africa. Some have defended colonialism by arguing that colonization was a benefit to Africa because it introduced European technology, but this was not entirely the case. The technology that was introduced was utilized in the service of European domination in Africa. The vast majority of colonized Africans were exploited and impoverished, and they did not benefit from European technology in any significant way.

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Ethiopia was able to fend off the Italian invasion and under Menelik II’s rule Ethiopia made many technological advances, including establishing a railway, a postal service, and the country’s first hospital. This was because without European domination Ethiopia was free to adopt European technology and apply it in ways that were beneficial to their country, but the other colonized African nations did not have this benefit. Whereas Menelik was able to establish a hospital, in many colonies Africans were malnourished and given inadequate medical care. In Mozambique the Portuguese failed to train a single African doctor and Guinea-Bissau was even more neglected by the Portuguese colonialists than Mozambique was. Julius Nyerere, the first president of Tanzania, once explained that by the time Tanzania gained its independence the country only had 12 doctors. Wakanda presents us with a glimpse of where Africa could have been had it not been for colonialism, as well as a glimpse of where Africa could very well be with the proper leadership.
Comic book superheroes are typically people who decide to become superheroes due to personal tragedy or by obtaining superheroes, but the Black Panther is unique in that he has inherited his role as a superhero. T’Challa comes from a long dynasty of Black Panthers that have protected Wakanda for thousands of years. The Black Panther does fight the typical super villains that are found in comics, but what makes this character unique for people of African descent is that the Black Panther also fights a threat that Africans had to fight in real life, which is European colonization. For example, one story in Hudlin’s run depicts one of T’Challa’s ancestors defending his nation against an assault led by a European settler known as Klaue. In the story Klaue is a soldier who fought military campaigns in South Africa and has nothing but contempt for Africans, whom he views as uncivilized savages.

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T’Challa’s own story is rooted in Africa’s struggle against neo-colonial forces. T’Challa’s father, T’Chaka, was murdered for refusing to give up Wakanda’s most valuable resource, which is a fictional metal known as vibranium. In Hudlin’s retelling of the story, T’Chaka’s assassination was part of a plot that was carried out by various Western countries that were unable to talk T’Chaka into giving them his country’s resources. When they realized that T’Chaka could not be bought off, their next option was to simply kill him. This brings to mind the assassinations of Patrice Lumumba, Thomas Sankara, and other African leaders who were killed or overthrown by Western countries for refusing to serve the interests of those countries. T’Challa ascends to the throne and has to remain cautious about the fact that the very governments that assassinated his father would be plotting to do the same to him.
Aside from the Western governments that seek to undermine Wakanda to exploit its wealth, the Black Panther also has to confront African dictators such as M’Butu, who is one of the antagonists in the cartoon series. M’Butu is the dictator of a nation that borders Wakanda and he is depicted as being the opposite of T’Challa. M’Butu is greedy, self-serving, and is easily paid off like many of the dictators that continue to rule Africa today. M’Butu is also a close American ally and even agrees to participate in a plot to overthrow the Black Panther. Black Panther not only fights to protect his nation against European invaders, but against African traitors as well.
I am not sure how deeply the movie will delve into these themes. The anti-colonialist message found in the cartoon series and some of the comics was toned down when the Black Panther was introduced in Captain American: Civil War. In that movie T’Chaka’s assassination was part of a plot to frame the Winter Soldier rather than being an assassination that was carried out because T’Chaka refused to give up his country’s resources. Even if the anti-colonialist message is toned down, I still think the significance of the Black Panther movie is that it’s a movie that will challenge some of the ways Africa and African people are typically depicted in the mainstream media. It is also significant in that it has a message that is relevant to all people of African descent. For African Americans and others in the diaspora it is a reminder that there is more to our history that slavery, and for those on the African continent it is a reminder of the great potential that Africa has.

Article by Dwayne Omowale

A United Kingdom-Interracial propaganda Film

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Looks like Hollywood has the perfect film just in time for their Greco-Roman, pagan,orgy-inspired holiday known as Valentine’s Day.  The interracial propaganda is relentless.  When President Obama was in office there a big increase in interracial couples in television dramas,sitcoms and films.  By him being biracial,he was used as a symbol of some type of racial harmony. Of course we know this is nonsense. There can be no racial harmony when one racial group has more power than another group.  This is where the propaganda comes in. I   have covered  this subject many times in the past.  And it looks like I’ll have to continue to do as long as they keep putting these films out.  Now we have the film A United Kingdom. The basic synopsis :

“The film is based on a true story. Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo) is the Prince of Bechuanaland (now Botswana). In 1948 he meets and falls in love with London office worker Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike). But their interracial relationship is not approved of by either of their families, nor by the British and South African governments. Seretse and Ruth must defy family, apartheid and the British empire to return from an imposed exile to their African kingdom, and assume power after independence.”

This trailer(above) is very hard to watch.  Here you have an African prince and he wants to marry a white woman??  This is total insanity.  This is self hatred to the fullest!  I don’t want to hear any crap about color blind love.  This is nothing but propaganda to make us love our oppressors.  A white woman as a queen in an African nation is blasphemous! This is a slap in the face to black love.   Seretse Khama is a disgrace to African people. Khama sold out his nation.  He is no prince!  Isn’t it interesting that Hollywood can find money to make this film but not about real African heroes.  There were African men and women that did great things in the past.  What about a film about Thomas Sankara?  Patrice Lumumba? Yaa Asantewaa? Queen Tiye? Marcus Garvey? Haitian revolution?  Queen Nzinga? Nope!  Instead they give a stupid ass love story between a brain dead Negro who gives his fortune away to a common white woman.  This film is stupid  and insulting on so many levels.

This is a very interesting interview with the stars David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike. Pike says that the film tackles racial prejudice from both sides.  She says that it’s about two people that are color blind.  Give me a break!  This white woman is lying through her teeth.  She knows damn well no one is color blind.  And our society is nowhere near that.  The world is comprised of racial groups.  Color blindness is a myth. Then Oyewolo goes on to say that the way to “unite a kingdom” is through love. And that Botswana has control of “most” of it’s resources.  How did they lose some of their resources?  How took them? I think you know the answer. And he says that Botswana sees itself has post-racial.  This is man is insane! How can Africa be post-racial when you got Europeans trying to steal land and resources?  He also says that his white wife has a small part in the film.  She plays a…..racist!  How fitting is that.  You can’t make this stuff up. Black love and black unity is the way to fight white racism.  The answer is not marrying and making babies with your oppressor.  This film is designed to confuse black people about racism.

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This picture(above) is  of Amma Asante and her husband.  She is a screenwriter and director. She is the director of A United Kingdom. Why would a black woman do an interracial love story?   Well that’s an easy answer.  Just look  at her husband and  it’s easy to see why this so-called universal love story is close to her heart.

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Amma Asante is a very sick woman!  This black woman has lost her damn mind.You don’t think so?  Well check out the picture(above).  That is a photo of the upcoming film When Hands Touch.  It’s a World War 2 “love story”. It stars Amandla Stenberg who plays a biracial girl who falls in love with a Nazi youth.  What the hell??  Even though Stenberg is biracial in this racial context she will be seen as just a black girl.  I will cover the problem of biracial women representing black women in a later post.  But anyway this film has taken “love they enemy” to a whole different level!  They want us to love Nazi’s now???  What’s next?  A  love story with Adolf Hitler and Angela Bassett?   Or maybe Denzel Washington falling in love with a female skinhead?  I wouldn’t put it pass Hollywood at this point. Amma Asante has sold her sold for the chance to corrupt the minds of black people.  She is a female version of Lee Daniels.

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I understand better now why  David Oyelowo was chosen for the lead role.  In Hollywood he’s the go-to Negro at the moment.  He’s been in other anti-black propaganda films like The Butler,Red Tails and The Help.  And judging by the pic(above) of Oyelowo and his family,I think he was perfect for the role.  Oyelowo and Asante are one in the same.  They are both from the United Kingdom.  And neither one of them believes in  black love or black unity.  They believe the way to defeat racism,oppression, and colonization is to just love your oppressor.  Both of them are brain dead swirlers. But whatever you do,don’t support this film.  Save your money and stay far away from this garbage of a film.

Pan African Proclamation of 2016

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Hotep family! It’s your brother KP.  I hope everyone is doing well.  I enjoyed my little break from posting. I thought this would be a good post for my return. Here at Kushite Kingdom I have always promoted  the idea of being Pan African. As well as covering topics like Black consciousness,economics,African culture and Black liberation. In exposing the lies that we are told about our history, I’ve tried my best to wake up my people. Many of us get so much disinformation in the media we are very confused.  That’s why I do my best to get out important information to my people. Even if I offend other races in the process. Offending people is not my concern.   If I was scared to offend others I would’ve stop blogging a long time ago.The survival of my people is my main concern.  I have always believed  that black consciousness was a spiritual path based on health,wellness amd knowledge of self. Black consciousness is appreciation for our African heritage,our people and families. And real  power is about determination and self control.  You can call this a proclamation,manifesto,mission statement or public declaration.  But I just wanted to list some ideas and things we as black people should be doing if we want to survive as well as change our mindset.  We have a lot of work ahead of us.  But together we can do this.  I’m sure some of you will like some of it…and others will disagree.  But that’s okay. I’m open to any suggestions anyone may have.

Pan African Flag..

  1. Promote Black Love
  2. Reject ideologies that have European origins
  3. Do not celebrate European holidays(White Gods)
  4. Learn a trade or skill to empower your people
  5. Teach African culture and Black History to your children. And how it can be used as an instrument of Power
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6. Study biology and genetics. Learn about your African bloodline.
7.Accept the harsh reality that biracial people are not black
8.Realize that you must sacrifice so that others can be free
9. To live with honor and integrity
10. Must understand that healing means we no longer allow trauma to control our lives
11. Do not engage in sexual activity with non-blacks
12. Stand for justice and equality
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13. Learn about great African heroes such as Marcus Garvey,Nat Turner,Queen Nzinga,Shaka Zulu,Thomas Sankara,Steve Biko,Harriet Tubman,Dutty Boukman,Patrice Lumumba,Martin Delany,Edward Blyden,Alexander Crummel,Assata Shakur,Mansa Musa,Malcolm X and Jean Jacques Dessalines. Appreciate their greatness but also learn from their mistakes.
14. Read The Blueprint for Black Power by Amos Wilson(then get all his books)
15. Read The Destruction of Black Civilizations by Chancellor Williams(then get all his books)
16. Read books by black scholars such as John Henrik Clarke,Queen Afua, Kwame Ture,Marimba Ani,Jewel Pookrum,Dr Sebi,Umar Johnson,Llaila Afrika,Bobby E.Wright …among others.
17. Reject European standards of beauty and uplift African Beauty
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18.Trust your ancestors and your instincts
19. Support Black businesses
20.Learn how to fish and hunt
21.Grow your own food
22.Learn to speak and write an African language
23.Learn how to read a map and use a compass
24.  Don’t be violent towards black homosexuals,transgenders and lesbians. Live and let live.  But realize that it is not conducive behavior for African people.
25.Understand that homosexuality,bestiality,lesbianism and pedophilia is sexual perversion.
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26. Do not be slut or whore.  It is very self destructive  and shows your immaturity. This applies to women….and men.
27. Assume that all non-blacks do not have your best interest in mind.
28. Brothers: Do not display a misogynistic mindset. Hating and despising black women shows ignorance and no growth as a man.  You must learn to respect your woman. Let sistas express themselves although it is okay to disagree at times. But give sistas their space.
29. Sistas: Do not be a man hating feminist.  Do not put down or degrade your man. Use words of encouragement to uplift your man.  And realize that men want to be leaders. Every gender has their role and should compliment the other gender.  A relationship is a partnership that both can benefit from.
30.  You must realize that the masculine principle  and feminine principle compliment one another. And that black men and women must work together to strengthen the family unit.

Knowledge is Power (My Library part 2)

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I got a really great response when I did a post called My Library back in May.  I had a few people ask me what other books I had.  So I thought I’d list some of the books I have.  This is a list..but not all the books I own.  I’d also like my subscribers to list what books they have in their library. And also any books they would recommend for good reading.

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Book Collection6.

  1. The Destruction of Black Civilization-Chancellor Williams
  2. Black Athena- Martin Bernal
  3. Solutions for Black America-Jawanza Kunjufu
  4. Blueprint for Black Power- Amos Wilson
  5. Black on Black Violence- Amos Wilson
  6. Falsification of Afrikan Consciousness-Amos Wilson
  7. African Centered Consciousnes vs New World Order- Amos Wilson
  8. Awakening the Natural Genius of Black Children-Amos Wilson
  9. Rock My Soul-bell hooks
  10. Killing Rage- bell hooks
  11. When We Ruled-Robin Walker
  12. Color Blind-Ellis Cose
  13. Dirty Little Secrets-Claud Anderson
  14. The Isis Papers- Frances Cress Welsing
  15. Black Man of The Nile-Dr Yosef Ben-Jochannan
  16. From Babylon to Timbuktu- Rudolph R. Windsor
  17. Conspiracy to Destroy Black Women- Michael Porter
  18. Egypt:Child of Africa- Ivan Van Sertima
  19. Blacks in Science-Ivan Van Sertima
  20. Golden Age of The Moor-Ivan Van Sertima
  21. $40 Million Slaves-William C. Rhoden
  22. Race Code War- Khari Enahora
  23. We Who are Dark-Tommie Shelby
  24. White Man Can’t Hump(Vol 1. & 2)- Todd Wooten
  25. Ready for Revolution-Ekwuene Michael Thelwell
  26. Black Planet-David Shields
  27. Civilization or Barbarism-Cheikh Anta Diop
  28. African Origin of Civilization- Cheikh Anta Diop
  29. Precolonial Black Africa- Cheikh Anta Diop
  30. The Cultural Unity of Black Africa-Cheikh Anta Diop
  31. Assata(biography)- Assata Shakur
  32. Racism without Racists- Eduardo Bonilla-Silva
  33. White Logic,White Methods- Eduardo Bonilla-Silva
  34. Who is White?- George Yancey
  35. African People & European Holidays-Ishakamusa Barashango
  36. Afrikan Woman the Original Guardian Angel- Ishakamusa Barashango
  37. 100 Years of Lynchings- Ralph Ginzburg
  38. White Whores & Black Whoremongers- Marsha Stewart
  39. The Interracial Con Game-Umoja & Trojan Pam
  40. Death of a Dark Nation- Anon & Trojan Pam
  41. Black Love is a Revolutionary Act- Umoja
  42. The Beauty Con Game- Umoja
  43. Blacked Out Through Whitewash- Dr. Suzar
  44. The Great Black Mamma of Creation- Dr. Suzar
  45. Drugs Masquerading as Foods- Dr. Suzar
  46.  How to Hustle & Win- Supreme Understanding
  47. The Hood Health Handbook Vol.1 & 2- Supreme Understanding
  48. Black God-Supreme Understanding
  49. When the World was Black Vol.1 &2-Supreme Understanding
  50. Knowledge of Self- Supreme Understanding
  51. The Wounded Womb- Dr. Phil Valentine
  52. Dismantling The Matrix- Baz Moreno
  53.  Essential Warrior- Shana Mfundishi Maasi
  54. The Afrikan Warriors Bible- Balogun Ojetade
  55. Igbo Dictionary & Phrasebook- Onyekachi Wambu
  56. Hip Hop Matters-  S. Craig Watkins
  57. How White Folks Got So Rich
  58. Debating Race- Michael Eric Dyson
  59.  Working toward Whiteness- David R. Roediger
  60. Presumed Alliance- Nicolas C. Vaca
  61. Makes me wanna Holler- Nathan McCall
  62. n*gger- Randall Kennedy
  63. Fire and Blood(a History of Mexico)-T.R. Fehrenbach
  64. Who’s gonna take the weight- Kevin Powell
  65. Behold a Pale Horse- William Cooper
  66. The Color Complex- Kathy Russell
  67. Skin Deep- Cedric Herring
  68.  We Aint no N*ggas- N. Quamere Cincere
  69.  The Book they never Wanted You to Read- Che’ Nazzerith
  70. The Liberation of the African Mind- Adisa Franklin
  71. The Sankofa Movement- Kwame Agyei & Akua Nson Akoto
  72. Christopher Columbus and the Afrikan Holocaust- Dr. John Henrik Clarke
  73. Nutricide- Dr. Llaila Afrika
  74. Melanin:What makes Black people Black- Dr. Llaila Afrika
  75. African Holistic Health- Dr. Llaila Afrika
  76.  An Afrocentric Guide to a Spiritual Union- Ra Un Nefer Amen
  77. Metu Neter Vol.1- Ra Un Neter Amen
  78. Maat,The 11 Laws of God- Ra Un Neter Amen
  79. From N*ggas to Gods- Akil
  80. Radical Ways of Ancient Days- Okeba Ra Auset
  81. Nile Valley Contributions to Civilizations- Anthony Browder
  82. Survival Strategies for Africans in America- Anthony Browder
  83. What they Never Told You in History Class- Indus Khamit Kush
  84. Revolutionary Suicide- Huey P. Newton
  85. Marcus Garvey,Life and Lessons- Robert Hill
  86. Mentacide- Mwalimu Baruti
  87. Excuses,Excuses- Mwalimu Baruti
  88. Homosexuality and the Effeminization of Afrikan Males- Mwalimu Baruti
  89. The Sex Imperative- Mwalimu Baruti
  90. War on the Horizon:Black Resistance to the White Sex Assault- Irritated Genie
  91. Yurugu- Marimba Ani
  92. The Rebirth of African Civiization- Chancellor Williams
  93. Autobiography of Malcolm X
  94. Spiritual Warriors are Healers- Mfundishi Jhutyms Ka N Heru
  95. Niggers,Negroes,Black People & Africans- Paul Grant
  96. The Philosphy of Maat Kemetic Soulism- Maaxeru  Tep
  97. We are Heirs of the World’s Revolutions- Thomas Sankara
  98. Supreme Mathematic African Maat Magic- African Creation Energy
  99. Modern Guide to Non Hybrid & Wild Foods- Chef Ahki
  100. Psycho-Academic Holocaust- Umar Johnson

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.

BELGIUM LUMUMBA

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.