Patrice Lumumba was also a poet.
Poem by Patrice Lumumba.
Weep, O my black beloved brother, deep buried in eternal, bestial night.
O you, whose dust hurricanes have scattered all over the vast earth,
You, by whose hands the pyramids were reared
In memory of royal murderers,
You, rounded up in raids; you, countless times defeated
In all the battles ever won by brutal force;
You, who were taught but one perpetual lesson,
One motto, which was–slavery or death;
You, who lay hidden in impenetrable jungles
And silently succumbed to countless deaths
Under the ugly guise of jungle fever,
Or lurking in the leopard’s fatal jaws,
Or in the slow embrace of the morass
That strangled gradually, like the python….
But then, there came a day that brought the white,
More sly, more full of spite than any death.
Your gold he bartered for his worthless beads and baubles,
He raped and fouled your sisters and your wives,
And poisoned with his drink your sons and brothers,
And drove your children down into the holds of ships.
‘Twas then the tomtom [drum] rolled from village unto village,
And told the people that another foreign slave ship
Had put off on its way to far-off shores,
Where God is cotton, where the dollar reigns as King.
There, sentenced to unending, wracking labour,
Toiling from dawn to dusk in the relentless sun,
They taught you in psalms to glorify
Their Lord, while you yourself were crucified to hymns
That promised bliss in the world of Hereafter;
While you–you begged of them a single boon:
That they should let you live–to live, aye–simply
And by a fire your dim, fantastic dreams
Poured out aloud in melancholy strains,
As elemental and as wordless as your anguish.
It happened you would even play, be merry
And dance, in sheer exuberance of spirit:
And then would all the splendour of your manhood,
The sweet desires of youth sound, wild with power,
On strings of brass, in burning tambourines.
And from that mighty music the beginning
Of jazz arose, tempestuous, capricious,
Declaring to the whites in accents loud
That not entirely was the planet theirs.
O Music, it was you permitted us
To lift our face and peer into the eyes
Of future liberty, that would one day be ours.
Then let the shores of mighty rivers bearing on
Their living waves into the radiant future,
O brother mine, be yours!
Let the fierce heat of the relentless midday sun
Burn up your grief!
Let them evaporate in everlasting sunshine,
Those tears shed by your father and your grandsire
Tortured to death upon these mournful fields.
And may our people, free and gay forever,
Live, triumph, thrive in peace in this our Congo,
Here, in the very heart of our great Africa!