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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The identity of the heritage and the memory of the identity: Lumumba as the Messiah of the Kasaian from Katanga
Author:Jewsiewicki, BogumilISNI
Periodical:Leidschrift: historisch tijdschrift
Geographic term:Congo (Democratic Republic of)
About person:Patrice Emery Lumumba (1925-1961)
Abstract:Paintings of a person express the public identity of this person, and can represent the image a community has of its history. This article examines the passion paintings of Patrice Emery Lumumba, in which he is depicted as Jesus Christ. This Congolese politician played a role in the political struggle for independence and for the unitary Congolese State (present-day Zaire) in the period between 1958 and 1960. The article shows how the passion paintings became both the vehicle for and the representation of the ethnic identity of the Luba Kasai of Katanga. It traces the historical background against which the image of Lumumba, who was perceived in the 1960s rather as a political evil than as a political hero in the Katanga and Kasai regions, could be transformed into the Messiah of Zairian politics. Thus, in the 1970s and 1980s, Lumumba, as the central figure of the Luba Kasai of Katanga martyrology, was the unique symbol that could stand up against explicit efforts on the part of the Zairian party-State officials to present Mobutu as the Zairian Messiah. Lumumba depicted as Jesus Christ is a political representation in the popular culture of the Luba Kasai that refuses to grant Mobutu this saviour image. Bibliogr., notes, ref.