Belgium has elected its first black mayor in the nation’s history.
Pierre Kompany was elected mayor of Ganshoren, one of the 19 boroughs in Brussels on Sunday, according to The New York Times. Kompany arrived in Belgium as a refugee the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1975.
“My success, my election, shows the direction of the march of history, which is towards a more peaceful history,” Kompany said of his victory. “I think one has to regard this as a victory for humanity as a whole.”
The win is even more remarkable because he won in a mostly white area in a country that colonized his homeland.
“I’m especially proud, and so is the whole Congolese community, that a black man was directly elected by Belgians in a city like Ganshoren, which has maybe 100 people of Congolese origin,” Mathieu Zana Etambala, a professor and expert in African colonialism, told the Times.
Etambala believes the election is a step in the right direction for a nation that has not fully confronted its problematic past.
“Most people don’t realize anymore what happened, I know of no politician who cares, colonial history is barely taught in primary school or even in high school,” he said.
Kompany is the father of famed soccer stars Vincent and Francois Kompany, reports BBC. The brothers posted a video on Instagram to congratulate their father.
"He's the first black mayor in Belgium – it's never happened before, it's historic…. congratulations to my dad!" Vincent said.
The elder Kompany will be sworn in by the end of the year.
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