Saturday, January 04, 2014

Commemorating Independence Martyrs Day

January 4th is a historic day in Congo’s history, which serves as a national holiday. On January 4, 1959, ordinary Congolese stood in defiance of Belgian colonialism demanding independence. Congolese in Kinshasa unleashed a spontaneous uprising out of frustration with the repressive Belgian colonial regime. In his seminal work "Congo: From Leopold to Kabila," Dr Georges Nzongola Ntalaja said the march on January 4, 1959 "sounded the death knell of Belgian Colonialism in the Congo." The unifying chant of the marchers was "Indépendance Immediate" or "Independence Now" in English. The uprising represented the radicalization of the struggle for independence. It frightened not only the Belgian authorities but also the Congolese elites know as évolués.

Nine days later on January 13, 1959 both the King of Belgium and the Belgium government 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,” or in English, independence Martyrs Day. Without a doubt, Congolese of that era made enormous sacrifices for freedom and independence.

This year's Martyrs Day is without a doubt dedicated to the recently passed Congolese hero Colonel Mamadou Ndala who was assassinated on January 2nd due to a mortar attack near Beni in the North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Colonel Mamadou was a solider of the people and loved by the people due to his bravery, patriotism and willingness to sacrifice his own life to protect a beleaguered people. Colonel Mamadou is the latest in a long line of martyrs who have fought for peace, justice and human dignity in the heart of Africa.

Congolese youth of today continue to make sacrifice for a better future for the sons and daughters of the Congo?

Join the global movement in support of a peaceful and just Congo!