As his fate was decided, Patrice Lumumba decided to write a letter to his wife, as a token of the promise he had made to himself about his country and his people.
This letter, although keeping a militant tone, reveals the more private side of Lumumba, yet freer still to express what is deep inside him. This story, mainly told in his own words, gives Lumumba back the humanity he was not afforded throughout his career.
It is about understanding the passion that animated his convictions. But above all, it is about seeing the man behind the political emblem, facing a destiny that gradually escapes him.
When I started toying with the idea of a Lumumba biographical documentary,
I knew that I had to focus the story on Patrice Lumumba as a person and tell
it from his own perspective. I needed a different angle; and the last letter to
his wife Pauline was the most complete document which showed a vulnerable
side but also the militant Lumumba who became synonymous with the
African independence movement.
I felt that I knew the film I wanted to make, but I was also very conscious of
producing a film about a person who most Congolese regards as the number
one national hero. It was intimidating at first as I felt an enormous sense of
responsibility to deliver this documentary. Patrice Lumumba’s story is very
important, not only for Congolese, but for all Pan-Africans.
I wanted Lumumba to regain his humanity with this film. I needed his voice,
vision and thoughts to be heard. I felt it was the best way to get the
emotions into the story. I had to tell it right. I needed to make sure that the
core of the story was his narrative; through his interviews and the letter.
Once I mentally accepted the responsibility, I remembered Lumumba’s line
from the letter which says; “Africa will write its own history and both
north and south of the Sahara it will be a history full of glory and dignity.”
and knew that I had the responsibility to do this film. I had the responsibility
to produce a film which would show Lumumba, the man who just wanted an
independent Congo and a free Africa. I hope to have achieved that.
I want the viewers to be shocked when they watch it. I want them to
question what they knew about the man, and most importantly, I want the
viewers to be in the moment and feel all those events and what it was like for Lumumba to have been the main character in this story.
I hope this documentary will do just that. –Patrick Kabeya
Festival Lumieres d’Afrique 2019, France
International Moving Film Festival 2020, Iran
Leuven Afrika FilmFestival 2020, Belgium
The Black Cinema Meeting 2020, Brazil
Ânûû-rû Âboro 2021, Caledonia
Ottawa Black Film Festival 2021, Canada
Liberation DocFest 2021, Bangladesh
Calgary Black Film Festival 2021, Canada
Reelworld Film Festival 2021, Canada