Status: 06.12.2023, 04:53 a.m.
By: Julian Mayr
Chocolate with rum is known to many as Lumumba. At the same time, it is the name of a murdered black politician. Now a debate about racism has flared up.
Kassel – In times of high inflation, visitors to domestic Christmas markets are particularly annoyed by the high prices for mulled wine and punch. But the name of a well-known hot drink also caused outrage. A former historian and city councillor in Bautzen, Saxony, criticised on X, formerly Twitter, the name Lumumba for cocoa with rum – the name was racist.
Popular drink at Christmas market: Is Lumumba racist?
The name of the popular hot drink goes back to an African folk hero. Patrice Lumumba was an important figure in the independence movement in Congo. The first prime minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo was shot dead in 1961 with the alleged involvement of Belgium and the United States. "The name of the drink is racist," writes Annalena Schmidt, a former historian and now active in political education, on X.
"He was shot," Schmidt explains, "and you name 'Cocoa with a shot' after him." Thousands of users on the news platform reacted to the post of the former city councillor of the Greens. For many, the criticism of racism is met with incomprehension. "Because he was shot, is that racist?" asks one user. As further postings by Schmidt show, the native of Hesse may even have received numerous anonymous calls to her phone number.
Origin of the name Lumumba for cocoa with shot not clear
In other comments, however, there are also words of thanks. "In fact, I didn't know that for a long time and was glad that I read it," writes one user. "At a time when society is more sensitive to racism, I wanted to reach people who don't even know that the cocoa drink with a shot is named after a black person," historian Annalena Schmidt told Bild.
Many people know hot chocolate with a dash of rum or spirits other than Lumumba – but many don't know where the name comes from. © William Perugini/Imago
In contrast to an Austrian beverage manufacturer, which often has to face criticism because of its company name and logo, the origin of the name of the hot drink cannot be clarified beyond doubt. While the name of the drink goes back to the politician Lumumba, contrary claims are circulating on the Internet as to why it is called that.
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"Cocoa with a shot for shot politician tastelessness"
For Tahir Della, however, another aspect is central to the debate: "A central figure of resistance against colonization and racism is reduced to a drink here," said the press spokesman Initiative Schwarze Menschen in Deutschland back in December 2022 on the radio program Cosmo. This is met with great resentment by black people, as they are degraded to objects. According to Della, however, it is difficult to point out this problem because many people in Germany do not know the story behind it.
However, as historian Jürgen Zimmerer writes on X, ignorance does not protect against racism, which is becoming increasingly extreme, especially in Germany and Austria, as a study from October 2023 shows. "And 'cocoa with a shot' for a politician who has been shot is (also) an unparalleled tastelessness," tweeted the professor at the University of Hamburg. Possibly also tasteless, but certainly not racist is the North German name for the hot drink. Especially in North Frisia, cocoa with a shot is known as the "dead aunt".