What is important to remember when discussing Lumumba is that his legend and the way he is portrayed, like in the case of Tshibumba do not tell a chronologic story.[i] Rather, each facet and each sort of use or remembrance is an active use of memory, which goes beyond just the historical figure Lumumba. For a lot that we do not know completely sure about the historical person Lumumba, or that which is still subject of speculation, such as his character which can be seen both as a power by uncompromising idealism in a positive way or in a negative way as ultimately self-destroying principles that bound him and led to his demise. It is the understanding of the argument of Cooter Roberts and Roberts that brings light to the way we understand Congo, the Congo crisis, pan Africanism and Africa, versus the way we could try to understand Congo. For which as we are writing as European students, we are not Africans and will have to remain satisfied with trying to approach Lumumba and the conflict of the Congo Crisis in a just way.

We first saw the extraordinary youth of Lumumba and the way in which he connected with the cause of Congo, we also see his focus on national independence, in contrast to the wider Pan-African Movement. However, the memory function heroes like Lumumba fulfil show us, how he can also later have his place in Pan-African idealism. We can also see a change in master narrative, especially towards the discussed speeches made in 1960 by king Baudouin and Lumumba, the roles have changed in the paintings of Thsibumba, this shows the ‘pure potentiality’ meaning of memory as discussed by Nooter Roberts and Roberts, with which images of heroes of Lumumba can be changed and given a new meaning. Now portraying Lumumba and bringing back both sides is vital in trying to understand his historical meaning in Africa, up till this day.

Also read:

Introduction to Lumumba

Lumumba the Political-Actor

Active memory and Lumumba

Lumumba as a symbol for Pan-Africanism

Lumumba: Bibliography

[i] Thijs Lammers, ‘Painting Congolese history: Tshibumba Kanda Matulu’, (31-07-2006), retrieved on 20-12-2018 from