Lumumba: Race and Revolution

3724 Words15 Pages
Lumumba: Race and Revolution In the French film entitled Lumumba, director Raoul Peck recreates the revolutionary struggle of Patrice Lumumba, the newly elected Prime Minister of The Congolese Republic. In the movie, we do not see much of the independence struggle against the Belgian government, but we begin to see the reconstruction of the African state in African hands. While no one ever claimed that decolonization was easy, maybe this particular example can best be explained by Fanon’s simplified little quip “decolonization is always a violent phenomenon. ” In this paper, I will seek to locate where this post-colonial violence is located in discourses regarding race, class and gender. Particularly, I will look at the representations of race and class, and the lack of the representation of gender, in order to draw conclusions about the nature of representation and the effects this has on anti-colonial film. Locating the violence within the anti-colonial struggle may be harder than it seems. One can easily note the physical and sexual violence brought upon the people (black and white) of Congo after independence, but we must locate the other forms of violence in order to bring the entire story of Patrice Lumumba to light. The director’s attempt at bringing the story of Patrice Lumumba to the “silver screen” had political intentions. It had intentions of breaking post-colonial hegemonic forces that portrayed Lumumba as a nationalist dictator. In regards to race and class in Congo, I will refer to the work of Franz Fanon, in particular his book entitled The Wretched of the Earth. In this book Fanon develops a theory of “dual citizenship” required by the colonizers in order to validate the colonization process. We have to view the movie Lumumba as being part of the anti-colonial discourse in the history of the Congo but also as a historical fiction produced in 21st century France. In viewing this movie, we must locate race and class and the intersection between the two, as this is constantly the case in post-colonial states. We must also understand the exclusion of gender from revolutionary discourses as being part of patriarchy that is not challenged in certain revolutions. The exclusion of gender equality from what Lumumba struggled for is where there is a certain patriarchy, and this kind of patriarchy is evident in almost all revolutionary anti-colonial writing.

More about Lumumba: Race and Revolution

Open Document