A groundbreaking, personal analysis of the way politicians and the Western media manipulated the public image of Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, who was murdered in 1961. Lumumba was one of the most charismatic and controversial figures of the African struggle for independence in the 1960s. Filmmaker Raoul Peck, who grew up in Congo as the privileged son of an agricultural expert from Haiti, investigates why Lumumba failed to achieve his aims.
The filmmaker also draws on personal memory and home movies from this period, thus providing perspectives often ignored by historians and the media, who prefer to focus on history’s “winners.” For this reason, Western media portrayed the events quite differently than the Congolese press. In the words of Lumumba’s minister of information, “The Belgians gave us independence with one hand and took it away with the other.” Peck’s sorrowful conclusion is that the future died with the prophet.