Commemorative plaque for Patrice Lumumba on show in Ixelles

Thursday, 26 October 2017 11:14
Associations are keen for Patrice Lumumba to be recognised and remembered in Ixelles as part of Belgium's colonial past. Associations are keen for Patrice Lumumba to be recognised and remembered in Ixelles as part of Belgium's colonial past. © Belga
The Ixelles Council government called a special committee on Wednesday evening to discuss its proposal to affix a commemorative plaque in Bastion Square, in honour of Patrice Lumumba.
He was an independence figure in the Belgian Congo (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). Citizen movements requesting a Place Lumumba (Lumumba Square) behind Saint-Boniface church met beforehand and agreed to this. This was indicated by Moïse Essoh, who is a member of the collective Colonial Remembrance and the Fight against Discrimination.

The associations are not abandoning the idea of having the square behind the church, in the heart of the Matonge district. Matonge is the name of the Prime Minister of the Congo assassinated in January 1961. They stress that their mobilization has in recent years enabled awareness-raising and acceptance of this road intersection, as the proposed Place Lumumba. Moïse Essoh considers, “This plaque will show that pressure paid off. The name of Lumumba will start to be visible in the public space. Bastion Square is a place both for passing and gathering which should help us in highlighting Lumumba’s name. The plaque may thus assist us to thereafter to obtain the proposed square.”

There are still further stages to be gone through before obtaining the commemorative plaque. Ken Ndiaye, the Ecolo communal councillor, said,“Given that the location is on the boundary of the area covered by Brussels City Council, and that part of the Bastion Square is private, it will still be necessary to negotiate further before reaching a stage where the proposal can be put to the vote by the communal council.” The communal councillor added, “The plaque is a step forward compared to the divisive situations seen since 2013, but the most important aspect is the work which will be undertaken in shared remembrance of this colonial past.”

Christopher Vincent
The Brussels Times
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