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Israel Gershoni

the third and last khedive of Egypt, ruled the country from 1892 to 1914. ʿAbbas was the seventh ruler in Mehmet ʿAli’s dynasty, which was established in the early nineteenth century. ʿAbbas came to the throne at the very young age of eighteen in January 1892 after his father, Khedive Tawfiq (r. 1879–1892), died unexpectedly. Born in Cairo ʿAbbas was educated by tutors at the Thudicum in Geneva and later in the Theresianum Military Academy in Vienna.

Unlike his father, a weak ruler who was considered a puppet of the British colonial rule, the young ʿAbbas strove to restore the original khedival status as sovereign ruler, patterned after the model established by his grandfather Ismaʿil (r. 1863–1879 and to assert Egypt s unique status as a semiautonomous province within the Ottoman Empire ʿAbbas s aspirations clashed with British rule particularly with the authority of the powerful agent ...


Jeremy Rich

Chadian politician and writer, was born in southern Chad on 22 September 1933. His father had problems with a state-appointed chief in his home village in the year before his son Antoine’s birth, so he fled to the neighboring colony of Ubangi-Shari (the Central African Republic). His mother followed and carried Antoine hundreds of miles on the long journey south with his elder sister. His father nicknamed the boy Bangui after the capital of the colony where the family had found sanctuary. When a teacher asked the boy in 1940 what his name was, Antoine answered, “Bangui.” The teacher threatened to expel Bangui for insolence, but his father persuaded the teacher to accept the name. Bangui attended schools in the Central African Republic until 1947, even though his family finally returned to Chad in 1946 Luckily for Bangui he won a contest held by the colonial administration ...


Richard A. Bradshaw

pan-African political activist and author who worked with several African heads of state during the decolonization era, was born in the village of Bessou, near Fort de Possel (present-day Possel), in the French colony of Ubangi-Shari (present-day Central African Republic, CAR) on 16 December 1921. Her father, Pierre Gerbillat, was a French businessman from Lyon. Her mother, Joséphine Wouassimba, was the daughter of Gbanziri chief Zoumague of Kuango. Her father paid bridewealth to marry Zoumague’s daughter, but he then married a Belgian woman, after which Andrée, like many young métisse or Euro African mixed blood girls at that time was sent away to be raised and educated by nuns of the Order of St Joseph of Cluny in the Republic of the Congo Brazzaville where she was registered as number twenty two For the next fourteen years Andrée s education and upbringing was supervised by extremely strict and ...


Larvester Gaither

businessman, author, and presidential candidate, was born in Memphis, Tennessee, the elder son of Lenora (Davis) Cain and Luther Cain Jr. His mother, from Georgia, worked as a domestic, while his father, from Arlington, Tennessee, worked mainly as a private chauffeur for Robert Woodruff, president of the Coca-Cola Company. Cain's parents were both raised by poor subsistence farmers (sharecroppers) in the South. In 1943, at the age of eighteen, Cain's father migrated to Mansfield, Ohio, and landed a job working for a tire factory. While there he met Lenora Davis, who had also come there in search of better opportunities. The two moved to Memphis in 1945 for a brief stay and then settled in Atlanta, Georgia, shortly after Herman Cain was born. Thus, while born in Memphis, Cain, along with his younger brother, Thurman (who died in 1999 was raised in Atlanta ...


Grant Christison

South African writer and politician, was born somewhere within the territory of present-day Namibia. His Zulu sobriquet was “Nongamu”; in Swaziland he was known as “Longamu.” His father, Joseph Grendon (1834–1926), was an Irishman who served the British Army in India (1854–1860) before beginning a career (1860–1878) as trader and big-game hunter in precolonial southwest Africa. Robert’s mother was a Herero woman, known to us only as Maria (d. 1870?). According to a contemporary source, Robert and his elder siblings were “the grandchildren of a great chief in Damaraland” (Anonymous 1876, 40). Maria’s descendants claim that she was a daughter of Maharero (1820?–1890). She died when Robert was a small boy, after which her children were fostered (1870–1872) by Carl Hugo Hahn and his wife, Emma Sarah, at their Otjimbingwe mission station.

By late 1875 the children had been placed in a Cape Town orphanage, but in 1877 ...


Reidulf K. Molvaer

Ethiopian politician and author, was born to Alemayyehu Selomon, a priest in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and Desta Alemu, the daughter of a priest, in a small village not far from Debre Marqos, the main town of Gojjam province in Western Ethiopia. He was first sent to a church-run school from the age of six to fifteen, and besides learning to read and write became good at singing church chants (zema), a love of which he preserved all his life. His main teacher was his maternal grandfather. After a couple of years away from home, but still in his home province, when he learned the rules of traditional Ethiopian church poetry (qine he moved to the capital Addis Ababa There he first went to the Swedish Mission School for two years starting from grade 1 because he had no previous knowledge of English the language used ...


Charles D. Smith

Egyptian journalist, author, and politician, was born in the village of Kafr Ghannam, located northeast of Cairo, on 20 August 1888. His father’s family had for decades held the post of ʿumda (head of the village) of Kafr Ghannam. Haykal’s father had attended the Sunni Muslim mosque/university of al-Azhar; his mother was illiterate. In 1895 Haykal’s father sent him to Cairo to live with an uncle and attend a government primary school. By 1905 he had graduated from the Khedivial Secondary School in Cairo and entered the Khedivial Law School, from which he graduated in 1908. In 1909 he traveled to Paris, where he earned a doctorate in law from the Sorbonne in 1912 and published his doctoral thesis on the Egyptian public debt. In 1914 he published a novel, Zaynab which dealt with rural life similar to that of his early childhood Scholars no longer consider ...


Juan Fandos-Rius

Central African sociologist, politician, and author, was born at Bossangoa in the Ouham region of the French colony of Ubangi-Shari. His mother was Anne Koffio-Yassingué. His father, Fraisse Lala, a Muslim Gbeya from the village of Sassara near Bossangoa, was influenced by a Muslim from French Sudan who settled near Bossangoa and who named Fraisse's fourth son Idriss, or Iddi for short. Several of Iddi's ten siblings became prominent Central Africans, including Bernard Lala, Bevarrah Lala, and Jean Barkès Gombe-Kette. After primary school at École Préfectorale in Bossangoa, middle school in Berberati, and high school at Lycée d’État des Rapides in Bangui, Iddi studied civil engineering in Bamako, Mali, then led by socialist president Modibo Keïta Iddi then went to Paris to study civil engineering at the École Spéciale des Travaux Publics in Paris but his leftist views led him to abandon engineering and study ...


Elisabeth Bekers

Kenyan radio and television broadcaster and producer, public relations specialist, educator, farmer, writer, and politician, was born at Kahuhia Mission, in Fort Hall (now Murang’a) District, the daughter of Gikuyu Christian pioneers, Mariuma Wanjiura and Levi Gachanja Mgumba. Likimani’s father was one of the first Kenyan Anglican Church ministers and helped develop St. John Kahuhia Church and Mission (established in 1906). A successful commercial farmer, the Reverend Gachanja was able to provide well for Muthoni and her eight surviving siblings. Likimani was educated at Kahuhia Girls School and at the Government African Girls Teachers College, Lower Kabete.

After her graduation she briefly worked as a tutor at her old school in Kahuhia but moved to Nairobi soon after marrying Dr Jason Clement Likimani d 1989 A Masai and a fellow student of her eldest brother s at Makerere College in Kampala Uganda in the 1930s Dr Likimani was the first ...


Marika Sherwood

writer and public intellectual, was born in Arondizuogu, in eastern Nigeria, and was the third son of the second of ten wives of Ojike Emeanolu, an Ibo farmer and trader who had been badly injured in the struggles against the British conquerors in 1901 and 1902. Ojike was one of about a hundred children in this large family. Supported by his eldest brother who had converted to Christianity, but against his father's wishes, Ojike attended the Church Missionary Society School in his village from 1918 until 1925. As his parents refused to pay for further education, he became a pupil-teacher in the CMS School in Abagama and in 1929 won a scholarship to the CMS Teacher Training College in Awka In his memoir he recounts that the scholarship required him to teach in CMS schools on graduation he was returned to his old school ...


Richard Watts

Jean Price-Mars was born in Grande Rivière du Nord, Haiti. After studying medicine, anthropology, and political science in Haiti and Paris, he joined the Haitian diplomatic corps. It was through this work that Price-Mars discovered his oratorical skills, giving a great number of lectures on Haitian culture and politics in the 1910s and 1920s that were gathered in his first published works, La Vocation de l'élite (1919), Ainsi parla l'Oncle (1928), and Une étape de l'évolution haïtienne (1929). Price-Mars subsequently split his time between active politics and more intellectual pursuits throughout the rest of his life. During the tumultuous middle of the century, he remained close to Haiti's ever-changing power élite, running twice for president and being appointed ambassador to Paris by François Duvalier in 1957.

More significantly Price Mars continued to write on the history of Haiti and on the ...