Rico Speight & Ezra Mabengaza

Aimé Césaire (1913-2008), was a Francophone, poet author and politician from Martinique. A writer of immense stature, Césaire was one of the founding fathers of the négritude movement in African (and Francophone) literature, who along with Léopold Sédar Senghor and Léon Damas created (négritude and) the literary review known in English as the 'The Black Student.' Known as the “poet leader that lit the fire of Africa”, Césaire explores the themes of racism, betrayal and decolonization in this seminal piece of political theatre.

A Season in the Congo chronicles the rise and fall of Patrice Émery Lumumba, the first Prime Minister of the newly independent Republic of Congo, in the year 1960. Patrice Lumumba served as the first prime minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo for less than three months in 1960, when it gained independence from Belgium. He was murdered by rebel troops with the support of Belgium intelligence and the complicity of the CIA, as well as Belgian and US governments. His mutinous chief of staff, Mobutu Sese Seko, seized power and ruled for nearly three decades, after which the DR Congo fell into a debilitating civil war in which over 10 million people have died.

Half a century later Patrice Lumumba remains the reference point in the DR Congo and in Africa, as his memory continues to haunt the country. The play is Césaire's homage to a leader “who all too briefly held the hopes of a nation.”

Guests

Rico Speight is director of the 1997 documentary Who's Gonna Take the Weight? – An hour-long documentary portraying the parallel lives of African American and Black South African youth. Speight is Currently producing a feature documentary on Frantz Fanon, psychiatrist, philosopher, and revolutionary thinker.Ezra Mabengeza is a NYC-based actor, photographer and cultural activist. Born and raised in the Eastern Cape region of South Africa, Ezra has performed in several plays and films including Spike Lee’s Miracle at St. Anna (2008), 419 (2012) and Attack on Darfur (2009).

Host:
Wuyi Jacobs