The children of the Congo.
Children are mentioned several times throughout the film, Lumumba, however they portray different ways the Belgium people and the people of Congo view Congo’s future. In the beginning of the film when a Flemish white women is yelling at a native Congo child about how to properally set a table, there is a radio broadcast playing in the background. This broadcasts says,
“Though native children learn to work and study, they are also taught heathy amusements. If the teacher loosens the reins, primitive ways take over…”
What I understand from this statement is that the colonizers believe it is possible and important to teach the Congolese children how to work for them and benefit the white society. However they believe that the children are still taught the Congolese traditions and values which are referred to as amusements because the Belgian government does not believe that the Congolese way of life is valid and capable of producing a successful society. The last sentence of this broadcasts drives home the point that the Belgium government believes that they must remain in control over the Congolese people because they are too “primitive” and unsophisticated to be able to properly rule themselves and maintain order. Without the Belgium government controlling the institutions of the Congo state, whether directly or behind the scenes, the country would fall apart.
One the other hand, Lumumba uses his children as an example of what he sees for the future of Congo. Before he is killed, what I believe to be a letter to his wife or what he wished he could say to his wife, says:
“Tell my children the Congo has a bright future, that it is up to them to restore our dignity. Tell them that throughout our struggle, I never for a moment doubted that the cause for which we gave our lives would triumph.”
Once again children are mentioned but in the eyes of Lumumba, they have a very different meaning. For him the children represent a future of peace and justice. He truly believes that even though he will die, the hope and fire of Congo is far from dead but rather the fight for justice has been instilled in the children of Congo. When making speeches and big decisions, Lumumba and his staff constantly ask, what will the children think if we set this example? This drives them to prove to the youth that they do not need to stand down and there is hope and a reason to continue fighting for true independence.