Day of the Martyrs of Independence
January 4th is a seminal day in Congo’s history, which serves as a national holiday. On January 4, 1959, Congolese stood in defiance of Belgian colonialism demanding independence. Congolese in Kinshasa unleashed an uprising out of frustration against the repressive Belgian colonial regime. Several hundred people died in the riots that grew out of what was otherwise a peaceful march organized by one of the leading voices at the time (ABAKO).
Nine days later the King of Belgium announced that in due time Belgium would grant Congo full independence. In the conscience of the nation, the day represents the historic point of departure for the independence of the Congo from Belgian colonialism.
The courageous stance by that generation of Congolese served as a key catalyst for Congo’s independence in 1960. Since the 1960s Congolese have celebrated and commemorated that generation’s actions and named the day “la journée des martyrs de l’indépendance.” Without a doubt, Congolese of that era made enormous sacrifice for freedom and independence. This begs the question – what sacrifice are the Congolese youth of today making for the future of the sons and daughters of the Congo?
Click here for more information on January 4, 1959