MOSCOW, July 13 — Sputnik—The Russian government has honoured the founding father of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), former Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, who led the country to independence in 1960.
The government has completed the process to again name the People’s Friendship University of Russia (RUDN) after Lumumba, saying they were restoring “historical justice”. The university was originally called Patrice Lumumba University when it was founded in 1960, but was later renamed RUDN.
The revered Lumumba, one of the leaders of the anti-colonialism movement in Africa, is the national hero of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The announcement was made at a roundtable hosted at the Patrice Lumumba Sputnik International Multimedia Press Center in Moscow yesterday by the Russian government. The roundtable discussion focused on Russia-Africa: Media Cooperation and Media Sovereignty.
The discussion was attended by Sergei Kochetkov, First Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the Rossiya Segodnya International Media Group; Oleg Ozerov, Ambassador-at-Large of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Head of the Russia-Africa Partnership Forum Secretariat; and Svetlana Kukava, observer of the international TV BRICS network.
Director General of the TAP News Agency (Tunisia) Najesh Missaoui; Roland Lumumba; Hassane Baba Diombele, Director General of the Radio and Television Office of Mali (ORTM); and Eric Ndongo, Director of Radio bonne nouvelle (Cameroon), joined the discussion online.
During the dialogue on Russia-Africa cooperation focused on training highly qualified personnel, Ozerov announced the completion of the legal procedure for returning the name of Patrice Lumumba, national hero and first prime minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University).
“We restored historical justice. This is an important symbolic gesture, an indicator that Russia is turning its face towards Africa. Russia remembers the heroes of Africa and fighters for national liberation. Not just Patrice Lumumba, but also Nelson Mandela, and Kwame Nkrumah, and Leopold Sedar Senghor, and many others. Samora Machel, Ahmed Ben Bella, Gamal Abdel Nasser and all those who fought for national liberation, sometimes at the cost of their lives.”
In response, the son of Patrice Lumumba, Roland Lumumba, welcomed this decision.
“I am overwhelmed with pride that the name of my father was returned to RUDN University in Moscow. He was a spokesman in the struggle for progress in Africa in the early years of African independence. He was a martyr among the African leaders of his time. I have met people all over the world who told me that they graduated from Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow. This has always moved me,” said Ronald Lumumba, who is also the president of the Patrice Lumumba Foundation.
Speaking about work in the African field of work, Kochetkov, noted: “A year ago, we launched a French-language website targeting African audience: Sputnik Afrique. During the year, it has shown very positive results: a significant increase in the number of unique visitors, and the audience is growing steadily.”
The media manager talked about plans to expand Sputnik’s radio broadcasting in French and English, the agency joining the African Broadcasting Union as an associate member, the development of the SputnikPro project in Africa, and the amplification of the Sputnik partner network in Africa through content sharing partnership agreements.
Missaoui supported the need to develop Russia-Africa relations based on the principles of equality and justice.
“The horizons of peace and international cooperation are still open, and cooperation between Russia and the African countries prove this. We hope this will become a model for establishing fair, equal and mutually enriching international relations.”
Diombele added that there was a direct connection between high-quality unbiased news content and protecting a country’s sovereignty.
“Today we are trying to expand our capabilities in the field of processing news information coming from a variety of sources in order to be able to defend our national independence with the means that we have, together with our entire state and society. And our main tool is truthful information,” Diombele said.
Emphasizing the importance of spreading information in today’s world, Ndongo said: “The African people want to know more; they want to know what is happening in Russia, China and other countries, because it has a direct impact on the life of the continent.”
Kukava, TV BRICS observer, focused on the role of BRICS in promoting international dialogue.
“The agenda is expanding; world leaders and international media are highlighting BRICS’ enormous potential. It is important to note that the BRICS agenda is focused on addressing international development issues that unite absolutely all of its participants. Members of our international TV BRICS network are taking constructive unifying initiatives aimed at finding joint answers to the most current questions.”
The roundtable discussion, attended by top media managers from African countries, took place ahead of the Russia-Africa summit, which will be held on July 27-28 in St. Petersburg.
Patrice Lumumba Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN) – one of the best Russian universities, was founded in 1960. It offers a large variety of specializations, six faculties, 10 institutes, an academy and a higher school providing ample opportunities for getting a quality education.
RUDN University has over 200 laboratories, more than 40 scientific research and educational centers with modern equipment, annual scientific conferences, scholarships, and researchers on a federal and global scale.
RUDN University unites representatives from 160 countries of the world, and 500 nationalities. RUDN campus is a city in the city. It boasts academic and housing buildings, sports facilities and several stadiums, a clinic, a culture centre on a territory of 50 hectares.
African Times has published the article in partnership with Sputnik News Agency.