Anniversary Of Prime Minister Patrice Emery Lumumba’s Assassination

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, there are several holidays dedicated to remembering the assassinations of various leaders, which should be a good indicator of the type of political and social upheaval the country has had to endure over the years.

One of these holidays is the Anniversary of Prime Minister Patrice Emery Lumumba’s Assassination, a public holiday observed in the country on January 17th. This holiday commemorates a leader who fought for Congo’s independence, social justice, and internationalism. On January 17th, 1961, he was tortured and then executed along with several other Congolese leaders.

The History of the Anniversary of Prime Minister Patrice Emery Lumumba’s Assassination

Patrice Lumumba was born on July 2nd, 1925, in Katakombe in the Belgian Congo. He belonged to the Tetela ethnic group and was raised Catholic. During his studies at various Protestant and Catholic schools, he took an interest in Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, as well as Victor Hugo and Molière.

He worked as a beer salesman in Leopoldville and then took a job as a postal clerk. In 1951, he married his wife, Pauline Opangu, and the following year he worked as a personal assistant for the French sociologist Pierre Clement. In 1955, he joined the Liberal Party of Belgium and edited and distributed literature for the party. In 1956, he was arrested for embezzlement and was convicted and sentenced to a year’s imprisonment.

He became Prime Minister of the Republic of Congo from June 1960 to September 5th, 1960. After the military coup by Mobutu, Lumumba tried to escape to Stanleyville to join his supporters who had established the Free Republic of the Congo, but he was captured and imprisoned. He was handed over to Katangan officials who then tortured and executed him.

Observing the Anniversary of Prime Minister Patrice Emery Lumumba’s Assassination

Because this is a public holiday in the Democratic Republic of Congo, it is a non-working day, and many institutions and businesses are closed. It is also a day on which memorial services are held for Lumumba all over the country.

Where is it celebrated?
Congo Democratic Republic (Public holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
January 17 Wednesday
Next year (2025)
January 17 Friday
Last year (2023)
January 17 Tuesday