30th June, 1960 : After 80 years of Belgian rule, the independence of the Congo was proclaimed today in bitterness and acrimony. Speaking at the ceremony in the Palais de la Nation, King Baudouin dwelt on the benefits Belgium had bestowed on the Congo, a territory the size of India, but with the population of only 12 million. “For 80 years we sent you the best of our sons,” he said as he presented the purple Order of Leopold to the Congo’s first Prime Minister, the fiery 34-years old Patrice Lumumba, a former postal clerk. When Lumumba spoke, he launched into a furious denunciation of Belgian rule, “We had to submit to ironies, insults and blows day and night because we were black. In towns there were magnificent houses for whites, while there were only broken-down hovels for blacks. A black man paraded on foot like a hen, while the whites travelled in luxury in motor cars.”

[Free, independent Congo ruled by its own people more than a half of century later –

About Avadoro Worden

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