samedi 16 novembre 2013

D.R. of Congo: The Fabulous Destiny of Paul Panda Farnana*, first Congolese nationalist!*

 Born at Banana, the first station of the Congo Free State.

Son of the chief medalist Fernando Luizi Nzemba born near the port of Banana in 1888. He was baptized and educated the school colony Boma. In 1898, he was hired as a boy in the officer Eugene Derscheid. In the rest of the Belgian captain of the Police Force, Eugene Derscheid, he arrives in Brussels on April 25, 1900, where he enrolled at the Ateneo François Rabelais at Ixelles (Brussels). After the death of Captain E. Derscheid, Panda Farnana is adopted by her sister Louise Derscheid "in memory of the care he lavished on his brother's unfortunate". In October 1904, he passed the examination for admission to the School of Horticulture and Agriculture at Vilvoorde (Brabant), where he earned a degree in agronomy and a certificate of competency in tropical crops with "distinction" on 7 September 1907. He continued his training at the School of Tropical Agriculture in Nogent-sur-Marne in France. He completed his education with a diploma at the Academy commercial and consular of Mons (Belgium). After graduation, he was hired as "head of the third class cultures" in the Ministry of Colonies in Brussels. On June 1, 1909, he returned to Boma and was assigned to Botanical Garden near Eala, Coquilhatville as trainer agronomists and indigenous growers. On 12 July 1911, he received in Brussels the Colonial Office Medal of Merit "Star Service " which then rewarded the first term of a colonial official mandate. Returned to Congo December 16, 1911, he worked in several administrative departments before being appointed director of the Agricultural Station in Leopoldville Kalamu on December 22, 1913. After many difficulties with his superiors who probably can not bear to see a native occupy as high responsibilities, it turns off and goes to Belgium January 22, 1914. 

First university and first veteran of the Great War

From the beginning of the First World War, he is enrolled in the Volunteer Corps with two other Congolese compatriots Joseph Adipanga and Kudjabo. Taken prisoner by the Germans on August 25, 1914 in Namur, he remains until 11 November 1918. On April 10, 1919, he received a layoff. With his former colonial civil servant pension and veteran, he moved to Belgium, where he founded in November 1919, "the Congolese Union: a society and moral and intellectual development of the Congolese race" on the model the "National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People" of the African American professor William Edward Burghardt Du Bois* (1868-1963). Bringing together the dozen Congolese living in Belgium, this non-profit association which demanded the abolition of forced labor, the rapid improvement of the intellectual level of the Congolese, their participation in the management of public affairs and elections to persons to sit on the General Council on Legislation (an organization to create the Belgian Congo) receives from the Liberal Minister of Colonies, Louis Franck and the support of the Minister of Justice, the Socialist Emile Vandelvelde. Having participated in the first Pan-African Congress in Paris in February 1919, organized by Professor W.E.B. Du Bois. He took an active part in the Colonial National Congress held in Brussels from 18 to 20 December 1920, where he met the first Congolese priest, then secretary of the apostolic vicar of Upper Congo, Father Stefano Kaozi* with whom he established friendly relations. Au second Pan-African Congress in Brussels (1921), organized by the Senegalese deputy to the French National Assembly, Blaise Diagne* with the support of Council of French government, President Georges Clemenceau, who claimed that "the natives of Africa have the same rights as Whites", he was elected member of the board alongside W.E.B. Du Bois, the African American Jessie Fauset and the Belgian P. Otlet. 

 The utopian Congolese and his chimera.

On a practical level, his association was confined to the commemoration of the taking Tabora (Tanzania) by the Public Force on September 16, 1916 and gave the Belgian colonial administration to erect in Leopoldville on July 11, 1927 a memorial monument to the memory Congolese combatants. He finally returned to his native village, where he built a chapel and a school for black, that he called St. Paul. On 12 May 1930, he suddenly died in Mzemba probably shot down by grief and bitterness of being misunderstood. On 18 July 1930, the Congolese Union organized a funeral for him at Cambre which took part a large audience. The Belgian colonial press did little spared and demands were minimized by the colonial administration. His activity remained unknown to the Belgian Congo, where the Governor General A. Tilkens was signed in June 1930, a circular, reminiscent of his predecessor Eugene Fuchs of June 13, 1913, formally prohibiting Belgian colonial officials to bring Blacks with them in Belgium. The agro-forestry engineer Paul Panda Farnana can be logically considered the first university and especially the first nationalist Congolese (D.R.C.).
 *Jean I.N. Kanyarwunga, Dictionnaire biographique des Africains (Biographical Dictionnary of Africans), N.E.N.A., Dakar, 2013. French Digital Edition.

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