Belgium's 1st black mayor says country must apologise for racist past

Belgium's 1st black mayor says country must apologise for racist past

- Belgium's first black mayor calls for the country to apologise for its racist past

- He is the father of famous the footballer Vincent Kompany

- He said an apology would go a long way to atone for the atrocities committed in this country of birth the Democratic Republic of Congo

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Pierre Kompany is Belgium's first black mayor, the Congolese-born 72-year-old also happens to be the father of Vincent Kompany - the football star.

In an interview with AFP, shortly before the June 30 celebration of the then Belgian Congo’s independence, he spoke about Belgium's need to address its past, particularly in light of the anti-racist protests spreading across the globe.

While different countries grapple with their racist pasts and symbols, such as symbols of slavery in America and Europe, Belgium's protests have revolved around its former king.

Leopold II reigned over Belgium between 1865 - 1909 and while he was on the throne some of the worst atrocities committed by a colonial power happened in his territory of Belgium’s central African territory now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo according to the Citizen.

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Briefly.co.za learned that the area was used to produce rubber from massive plantations which operated with extreme cruelty. Historians estimate that as many as 10 million Congolese died as a result of the horrendous conditions imposed upon them.

Kompany believes the statues that celebrate Belgiums racist past should be placed in museums and should have been put there years ago before activists started defacing and demanding that the symbols fall.

“No one would go into a museum to smash them,” smiles Kompany, who was elected bourgmestre or mayor of the Brussels suburb of Ganshoren in 2018 and represents the centrist CDH party in the capital’s regional parliament.
“If the state makes an apology, that would already be a lot, but if the royal family were to do so as well, it would emerge all the greater for it,” Kompany says.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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