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Jeremy Rich

political leader and president of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC; former Zaire), was born in the town of Likasi, located in the northern section of the southern Katanga region of the then Belgian Congo, on 27 November 1939. His father, Désiré Kabila Taratibu Obashikilwe, born in 1900, was a post office clerk from the town of Ankoro in northern Katanga and a member of a Luba-speaking clan. His mother, Jeannine Mafik Mwad Kanambui a Mubol, belonged to a Lunda community from southern Katanga. Taritibu was a remarkable figure in his own right, as he demanded his children speak French at his house and strongly supported his children’s education along Western lines. The family’s trading enterprises allowed the young Kabila to grow up in prosperous surroundings. Kabila’s father became a state-appointed chief in 1952 As Kabila attended primary and secondary school he followed his father s passion ...

Article

Linda Melvern

Rwandan military leader and president, was born on 23 October 1957, in rural Tambwe, in the prefecture of Gitarama, Rwanda. His parents belonged to Rwanda’s Tutsi minority. His father, Deogratias Rutagambwa, was a farmer, while his mother, Asteria, was a cousin of Rwanda’s Queen Rosalie Gicanda, the wife of King Mutara III Rudahigwa. This connection to royalty afforded the family some protection from periodic violent political campaigns waged by Rwanda’s Hutu majority against the minority Tutsi elite. In November 1959, four months after the death of King Mutara, and at the beginning of the Hutu-led Rwandan revolution, Kagame’s father took the family into exile. Kagame, his four sisters, and his brother were among more than 100,000 Rwandans, most of them Tutsi, forced to flee.

Kagame grew up in destitution in a refugee camp in the Ankole district of Uganda the family later moved north to Toro He attended ...

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Wunyabari Maloba

legendary and enigmatic Mau Mau rebel leader in Kenya, was born around 1919 in Mahiga Nyeri District He enlisted in the British army during World War II and like so many other African enlisted men he fought in Burma After the war he joined many radical political and social movements in the country especially in Nairobi He was one of the founding members of the Anake 40 the Forty Group that was based in Nairobi but had representation in all the districts in Central Province This group overwhelmingly Kikuyu in composition included war veterans petty traders thieves and criminals It was however associated with defiance of colonial rules and regulations Loosely organized it carried out armed robberies as both a source of income and a means of raising funds for the purchase of weapons needed by the Mau Mau Many members of the Forty Group were also informally linked ...

Article

a founder of the Resistência Nacional Moçambicana (Renamo, Mozambique National Resistance), a guerrilla movement opposed to the FRELIMO-led government of Mozambique, was born in Chirara, a village in the central Manica region of Mozambique. His ancestors were part of the mfecane (or Nguni push into the north from present-day South Africa) who settled in eastern Zimbabwe. His father Ngharife Matsangaíce was a farmer born in Zimbabwe who migrated to the Chimoio region of Manica in the late nineteenth century. His mother was Chinene Chinandaua, a Mozambican born in Chirara. André Matsangaíce is not believed to have left any children as he had never married.

Matsangaíce studied at a Catholic mission school in Jécua and then at a school in Musapa District in what was then Southern Rhodesia Upon completing school Matsangaíce worked as a heavy machine operator for a road construction company in Mozambique As FRELIMO expanded its independence war ...

Article

Sean Jacobs

South African parliamentarian and guerrilla fighter for the military wing of the African National Congress (ANC), was born on 6 July 1963 in a Coloured section of a government hospital in Durban, a port city on South Africa’s northeast coast. McBride has two sisters. His parents, Derrick and Doris McBride, were both schoolteachers. Doris’s father, Colin Campbell van Niekerk, was an Afrikaner, and her mother Grace the daughter of a Zulu-speaking mother and a Coloured father. Robert McBride grew up in Wentworth, a Coloured township in Durban next to an industrial area and a toxic oil refinery. At his trial in 1987 it also emerged that McBride was related to Major John MacBride, an Irish Republican major who had fought on the side of Afrikaners against the British in the Anglo-Boer War.

McBride was politicized at an early age by his father who introduced him to the history of Coloured ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

Chadian politician and military leader, was born in the northern Chadian town of Zouar. He is also known as Goukoumi Oueddei. His father was Oueddei Kichidemi, the most important spiritual and political leader of the Toubou, or Teda, people who live in northwestern Chad. As the chief (terde), Goukouni’s father judged disputes between various Toubou clans. He collaborated with the French government, which allowed Goukouni to live a relatively affluent lifestyle in comparison to other Toubou people. Goukouni was the youngest of four brothers. He attended Qurʾanic schools and then found work in the northern Chadian provincial capital of Faya-Largeau.

At independence in 1960, the French government continued to administer the northern region of Chad, where Goukouni lived. In 1965 the French government handed over direct control of northern Chad to the Parti Progressiste Tchadienne PPT Chadian Progressive Party of southern Chadian president François Tombalbaye Goukouni ...

Article

Born into the Touré clan in the Beyla region of present-day Guinea, Samory Touré became a soldier in the local conflicts that ravaged the area around the middle of the nineteenth century, and soon began to exploit the situation to his own ends. By 1870 he had forged a large private army, with which he eventually conquered an area reaching from the Fouta Djallon in the west to the Asante country of present-day Ghana in the east. Establishing his capital at Bissandougou in what is now Côte d’Ivoire, he tried at first to hold off the encroaching French by diplomacy and negotiations but later waged a brilliant, although ultimately unsuccessful, guerrilla war against them. Captured by the French in 1898, Samory Touré died two years later in exile in Gabon. He was the great-grandfather of Sékou Touré, the first president of modern Guinea.

Article

Mohammed Hassen Ali

Oromo educator and resistance leader in Ethiopia, was born in the region of Bale, around the famous Madda Walaabuu, the sacred place in traditional Oromo religion. At a young age Waaqoo Guutuu became the pride of people, for his physical strength, courage, intelligence, gift of leadership, and determined resistance against land confiscation by Abyssinian settlers in Bale.

Between 1942, when Emperor Haile Selassie consolidated his authority, and 1970, when Waaqoo Guutuu made a peace settlement with the emperor, no fewer than 1,448,558 hectares of land were confiscated from Oromo farmers in the highlands of Bale, which is nearly 30 percent of all lands confiscated in southern Ethiopia at the time, clearly indicating that the Oromo farmers in the province of Bale were singled out for confiscation of their land. From 1958 to 1960 Waaqoo Guutuu tried by peaceful means to lessen the tax burden on his people ...

Article

Tim Stapleton

Born in what is now southern Namibia around 1825, Hendrik Witbooi was a member of the chiefly family of the Nama people. The Nama had originated from the Khoikhoi and other African groups, but also from some Malaya slaves and European fugitives who generations earlier had fled north away from colonial rule in the Cape. They developed as a decentralized trans-frontier society of horse-mounted raiders who had adopted aspects of Western culture and Christianity. Educated as a Christian by German Lutheran missionaries, Witbooi became literate and thus was one of the few nineteenth-century hereditary African leaders to leave behind a significant collection of personal documents. An eager writer of letters, his correspondence from the 1880s and 1890s reveals a leader determined to dominate his African neighbors and preserve his independence from German colonialism In his letters Witbooi insisted on his equality with the German Kaiser and emphasized ...