Paul Panda Farnana M’Fumu was born in colonised Congo in 1888 ou 1890 (?) and arrived in Belgium as a child in 1895. He had the good fortune to be educated at the Athénée Royal d’Ixelles. Then, he passed the entrance exam for the Institut Royal d’Horticulture in Vilvoorde, where he graduated with great honours.
He became the first Congolese to obtain a higher education diploma in Belgium, which he completed with a course in Agronomy at the École supérieure de Nogent-sur-Marne, near Paris.
Returning to the Congo in 1909, he worked as an agricultural engineer for the Belgian colonial state. He experienced segregation and discrimination against him and his fellow Congolese by the colonial authorities.
When the First World War broke out in 1914, Paul Panda Farnana joined the Congolese Volunteer Corps and was even taken prisoner of war by the Germans. On his return from the battlefield, and driven by the rise of Pan-Africanism, Paul Panda Farnana founded the first Congolese association, the Union Congolaise, in 1919. It was also the first anti-racist association in Belgium, campaigning for the social and cultural rights of the Congolese, with a particular focus on Congolese veterans and political rights, advocating the emancipation of the Congolese people.
Despite his little-known history, Paul Panda Farnana has undoubtedly left a legacy of determination and struggle for the social and political rights of the Congolese people. A leading figure in the fight to free the Congolese people from the yoke of Belgian colonial rule, he recently appeared in the "Canon van Vlaanderen", marking the extent of his legacy to the history of Flanders and Belgium.
Immerse yourself in the story of Paul Panda Farnana through the comic strip, Paul Panda Farnana, une vie oubliée, available in our webshop.
(1) Paul Panda Farnana, nationaliste et panafricaniste congolais. (s. d.). Musée royal de l’Afrique centrale - Tervuren - Belgique. https://www.africamuseum.be/fr/learn/history_articles/paul_panda_farnanaRetour ligne automatique
(2)Canon van Vlaanderen. (2023, 17 mai). Paul Panda Farnana - Canon van Vlaanderen. https://www.canonvanvlaanderen.be/events/paul-panda-farnana/Retour ligne automatique
(3)Contributeurs aux projets Wikimedia. (2023). Paul Panda Farnana. fr.wikipedia.org. https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Panda_FarnanaRetour ligne automatique
(4) Asimba Bathy et al.,Paul Panda Farnana, une vie oubliée, Bruxelles, Africalia, 2014.