Panda Farnana – A Disturbing Congolese

The portrait of an atypical character, astride two worlds: Belgium and the Congo.

Raised by a single Belgian woman and an artist, in 1909 Paul Panda Farnana became the first Congolese to receive a higher education diploma in Belgium.

Now an agronomist, he returned to the Congo as the first Belgian civil servant with black skin. He suffered apartheid there and little by little had to give up his various posts because of harassment. He went back to Belgium in 1914 and, when war was declared, he enlisted as a volunteer. Captured, he was taken back to Germany where he was held until Liberation in 1918.

Upon his return to Belgium, he devoted all his energy to demanding equality between whites and blacks through education and empowerment of the leaders, under the virulent attacks of the Belgian colonial press. In 1921, he closely collaborated with the Afro-American W.E.B. DuBois in organising the Pan-African Congress of Brussels.

Panda Farnana died a few months after his return to the Congo at the age of 42, under mysterious conditions.

The film retraces the life and work of Panda Farnana (1888-1930) thanks to never-before-seen documents and evocative scenes shot in the Congo.

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Directed by: Françoise Levie, based on a script written in collaboration with Ellen Meiresonne.
Historic advisors: Prof. Antoine Tshitungu Kongolo and Prof. Mathieu Zana Etambala.
© 2011- A Memento – Wild Heart Productions – VAF – French Community of Belgium – RTBF – WIP Coproduction.
Distribution: Memento Production and WIP.