What Remains: Reviving Lumumba's Legacy in Music Video
In the face of prolonged violence, rupture, and erasure, the music video, 'Agizo ya Lumumba,' reflects efforts by emerging artists in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to mediate memory. This video, produced by the Yole!Africa cultural centre in Goma, is part of an online series, Art on the FrontLine, that probes the possibilities for political art in sites of active conflict. But where other episodes evoke overt protest through aesthetics of hip hop and Third Cinema, 'Agizo ya Lumumba' relies on embodied, textual, and archival engagement with a poem by Patrice Lumumba. In this video, rappers, contemporary dancers, and filmmakers creatively interrogate both the contested record of historical facts crippling Congo's postcolonial development as well as the underlying questions of agency, power, and accountability that obscure narrations and representations of Lumumba's political legacy. Through close reading and analysis of its aesthetic and moral implications, this essay frames 'Agizo ya Lumumba' as an example of socially engaged art that foregrounds history and social memory as both dialogic and fundamental to discourses on human rights in conflict zones. By extension, it queries the potential for socially engaged scholarship to influence the conception and administration of international aid.