Pauline Opango

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Pauline Opango Lumumba, also known as Pauline Opangu, was a Congolese activist, the wife of Patrice Lumumba.


Pauline Opango Lumumba was born on January 1, 1937, [1] in Wembonyama, Sankuru, Belgian Congo.[2] Pauline was Patrice Lumumba's third wife, and together, they shared four children whose names were Patrice, Julienne, Roland and Marie-Christine. The two children Pauline had with Patrice were: Patrice and Marie-Christine. [1][3][4][5] Her husband fought for the independence of the African Congo. He went on to become the first, elected Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he was shot and killed one year after assuming his new position.[3] Patrice was beaten mercilessly by two agents and dragged away where they poured acid on his body and buried him [1]In 1961, Pauline was only 23 years old when she watched Patrice get arrested, beaten, and taken away by his murderers.[1] She never remarried because she was unable to "find someone else of the same quality". [2] The exact reasoning behind his murder is unknown, although he was likely targeted for his socialist views.[6] After Patrice's assassination, the Belgian police ("agents of death") uncovered his body and poured acid all over it, so they could make him unrecognizable.[1] The Belgians sought to remove Patrice's face from Africa.[7] In 1975, the U.S senate committee found out that the CIA had hatched a plan to kill the Congolese leader; the plan failed.[8][1] Patrice's death was extremely significant, as it paved the way for a US-backed dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko, to take hold in the Congo[6]. As he seemed to know that he would die for his cause, Patrice wrote a letter to Pauline that encouraged her to carry on his work[9]. In this letter, he expressed the importance of rebuilding their country's history, as he thought it was "degrading" and "shameful" to allow the influence of Belgium, and other Western countries, to continue to permeate their culture[9]. As a result, to avenge his death, his followers set off on peaceful mission in hopes of decolonizing the Congo.[10] On February 14, 1961, Pauline marched through the African Streets bare-breasted, accompanied by nearly one hundred of her late husband's followers, in order to reach the United Nations Headquarters. Pauline protested with her breasts out, in order to protest her husband's death.[11][12] Female followers of her husband were also bare-breasted, and the men followed with bowed heads when they marched to the headquarters.[11] Once Pauline and the followers had arrived, she asked to speak with Rajeshwar Dayal, a United Nations representative.[11] She was permitted to meet with him, and she was accompanied by Albert Lumumba, Joseph Lutula, and her young son, whom she carried in her arms.[11] Her talks were successful, as she got Dayal to agree to help find her husband's body. She wanted it to be returned to Léopoldville, where she would give her late husband a proper, Christian burial.[4] [1] Pauline was targeted by the people who killed Patrice, and sought protection from other countries. Pauline finally found temporary safety when she and her children left the Congo and were taken in by President Nasser of Egypt.[3] After Egypt "she traveled to Belgium, France and later returned to Congo after the government recognized Patrice Lumumba as a national hero."[3] In her years to come, Pauline was seen as a strong fighter, who stood by her husband even after his death. She endured 54 years colonial oppression by propaganda about her husband before she died. On December 23rd, 2014, at seventy-eight years old, Pauline died while sleeping in her home in Kinshasa, Congo.[1] Pauline was the third wife of Patrice and carried out his ways after his death. They married on March 15, 1951 but the marriage had periods of fights and separation due to Patrice's strange habits and incarceration. They raised four children, she was the most unique out of all of Patrice's wives. [3]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Pinky Khoabane (2018-09-28). "Women Forgotten In The Shadow Of History: Pauline Lumumba". Uncensored Opinion. Retrieved 2019-04-28.
  2. ^ a b A Tribute to Pauline Opango Lumumba
  3. ^ a b c d e Adedeji Ademola, Why Patrice Lumumba’s widow marched bare-breasted across Leopoldville in 1961, F2FA, January 17, 2019
  4. ^ a b "Widow of Lumumba Marches in Mourning to Ask U.N. Help." New York Times (1923-Current File), Feb 15, 1961.
  5. ^ Zeilig, Leo (2015). Lumumba: Africa’s Lost Leader. Haus Publishing. p. 23. ISBN 9781908323958.
  6. ^ a b Yeldell, Kyle (2014-12-23). "Widow of Congo's Independence-Era Hero Dies". BlackPressUSA. Retrieved 2019-05-11.
  7. ^ Perez, C. T. (2019-04-30), "Bare-Breasted Woman", Indigenous Literatures from Micronesia, University of Hawaii Press, pp. 251–252, ISBN 9780824877385, retrieved 2019-05-08
  8. ^ Dawkins, Yanique. "Pauline Lumumba, Widow of Congo's Patrice Lumumba, Passes Away at 78".
  9. ^ a b "Letter from Thysville Prison to Mrs. Lumumba by Patrice Lumumba". Retrieved 2019-05-06.
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b c d "'The Poacher's Widow'". The Musical Times. 64 (963): 348. 1923-05-01. doi:10.2307/911189. ISSN 0027-4666.
  12. ^ Landon, H. C. Robbins (November 1961). "Haydn's Marches". The Musical Times. 102 (1425): 712. doi:10.2307/949182. ISSN 0027-4666.

(WIdow of OCngos Independence- Era Hero Dies)