Following the visit of King Phillipe of Belgium to Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Belgian authorities have sent back to DRC a tooth of the Congolese independence hero Patrice Lumumba to his family, 61 years after he was murdered by agents of the former colonial power.
The tooth is all that remains of the legendary Mr Lumumba, the first prime minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and a fiery revolutionary who campaigned for independence and finally among other revolutionaries to freedom from Belgium.
He was an beacon of hope for a new beginning in Africa and a symbol of the struggle against colonialism in Africa.
In1961, he was murdered by Western conspiracies involving secret agents of Western Powers, Congolese separatists and Belgian mercenaries in 1961. His killers dissolved his remains in acid, though some kept his teeth as macabre, morbid mementoes.
A tooth was retrieved from a Belgian police commissioner, Gerard Soete, who in 2000 confessed to being a party to Mr Lumumba’s murder.
According to The UK Guardian, the gold-capped tooth was handed in a light blue case to a group of family members at the Egmont Palace in Brussels on Monday morning.
It was placed in a casket that will be taken to the embassy of the DRC.
Mr Lumumba’s son, Roland Lumumba, said last week that the return of the tooth meant his family would be able to “finish their mourning”.
According to Alexander de Croo, Belgian prime minister, “this is a painful and disagreeable truth, but must be spoken.”
“A man was murdered for his political convictions, his words, his ideals,” he added.