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Shani Roper

chief minister of Barbados (1948–1958); premier of Barbados (1954–1958); and prime minister of the West Indian Federation (1958–1962), was born on 28 April 1898 in Government Hill, Barbados. The third of seven children born to Fitz Herbert and Rosa Adams (née Turney), Adams attended St. Giles’ Primary and later Harrison College. In 1918 Adams was awarded the Barbados Scholarship, which enabled him to attend Oxford University to study law. At Oxford, he regularly participated in political debates and became a member of the Liberal Party there. He campaigned for the Liberal candidate Frank Gray in 1922–1923 and canvassed for C. B. Fry in 1924. He returned to Barbados in 1925. Adams met and eventually married Grace Thorne in 1929 One year later she gave birth to their only child John Michael Geoffrey Adams otherwise known as Tom Adams prime minister of ...


popularly known as “Tom,” was born on 24 September 1931 into the politically prominent Barbadian Adams family. He was the son of Sir Grantley Adams, a Barbadian lawyer who later served as the only Premier of the failed West Indian Federation (1958–1962) and Grace Thorne. Tom Adams’s political philosophy and career were significantly influenced by his father, Sir Grantley Adams, his early Barbadian education and upbringing, study at Oxford University, work at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), and membership and leadership of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP).

The political upheavals of the 1930s altered the political landscape of the Caribbean and impacted the role that the Adams family and Barbados played in the region’s political evolution. By 1938 Tom s father Grantley Adams became a leading political figure in the struggle for civil rights in Barbados when he founded the Barbados Progressive League later called the Barbados ...


Grantley Herbert Adams was born in Government Hill, Barbados, then a British colony. His father, Fitzherbert Adams, was a black man and the head teacher of one of the island's largest primary schools, Saint Giles. His mother, Rosa Frances Adams, was a coloured woman (of mixed African and European descent). By West Indian standards, the Adams family was part of the lower middle class, removed from the endemic poverty that engulfed the disenfranchised black majority.

Like his father, Adams attended Harrisons College, the colony's premier secondary school. In 1919 he won a prestigious island scholarship to Oxford University in England, where he studied law. In England he met intellectuals from the colonized world, many of whom, like himself, had joined the Fabian Society, a socialist movement that supported decolonization and the end of the British Empire. In 1925 Adams returned to Barbados working as a lawyer ...


Walter Clarke

nationalist leader and first prime minister of independent Djibouti, was born in the Mabla mountain area north of Obock, Afar. Ahmed Dini Ahmed was fired by an intense sense of social justice and fairness and worked at one time or another with all of Djibouti’s early preindependence leaders with the objective of facilitating an independent government in which all ethnic groups would work together for the betterment of all citizens. The failure of his close friendship with Hassan Gouled Aptidon immediately after independence was a personal blow to both of them, but was probably inevitable in two such committed but divergent individuals. Ahmed Dini had a political career roughly parallel to that of Hassan Gouled. He completed his primary school in Djibouti and then worked as a nurse’s aide. He became interested in politics at a young age. In 1959 after Gouled had been elected to the French National ...


Klaas van Walraven

prime minister of Niger, was born in Soudouré, west of the capital, Niamey. Although he was the son of a village chief, Bakary was a talaka (a commoner), since his father did not hail from a noble family. Bakary was related by blood to Hamani Diori, Niger’s later president. Although he was a member of the Zarma ethnic community, many people in western Niger regarded Bakary as a Songhay, a closely related ethnic group. Later, he used this to mobilize political support along the Niger River valley.

At the age of 7 Bakary was taken by his uncle to the city of Tahoua central Niger where he was enrolled in a colonial primary school A diligent student he learned to speak Hausa before continuing his education in the capital It was here that his political consciousness began one day he met his father who had been sentenced to forced labor ...


Lawrence Vernon

was born in Belize City, Belize, on 2 March 1951, to Arthur Innes Barrow, a pharmacist, and Joyce Erica Barrow née Lindo, a housewife. Barrow was the second in a family of three children. His early education in Belize City occurred at St. Michael’s College; he then went on to study law at the University of the West Indies at the Cave Hill campus in Barbados where he earned a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) in 1973. He attended the Norman Manley Law School, Mona, Kingston, Jamaica, and achieved a Certificate of Legal Education in 1975. He attended the University of Miami School of Law in 1981 and earned a Master of Laws (LL.M.) as well as a Masters in International Relations.

Barrow was admitted to practice law in Belize in 1975 beginning his career at the law firm of his uncle Dean Lindo He eventually formed ...


Ari Nave

Born in Quatre Bornes, Mauritius, Paul Bérenger was raised in a Franco-Mauritian family. He became interested in Marxist politics while studying philosophy, French, and journalism in Wales and in Paris, France. Upon returning to Mauritius, he immediately became involved in the independence movement. Finding the politics of the Mauritius Labour Party (MLP) too conservative, he created the left-wing Club des Étudiants Militants and began organizing demonstrations against the MLP and allied parties. He also became a union organizer, leading a series of strikes.

Bérenger envisioned a country unified by a common language and culture rather than divided by ethnic tensions. In 1969 he founded a new political party, the Mouvement Militant Mauricien (MMM), together with Dev Virahsawmy, a Telegu, and Jooneed Jeerooburkhan, a Muslim. The party’s socialist platform and nonethnic orientation appealed to the large working class, particularly dockhands, plantation workers, and unemployed youth.

In response to Bérenger s disruptive ...


was born on 16 September 1916 in St. Paul’s Village, St. Kitts, to domestic worker Mary Jane Francis, and blacksmith and laborer William Bradshaw. His interaction with trade unions began at an early age. His grandmother often sent him to pay her union dues to her union representative, one Gabriel Douglas, on his way to school. Like many boys in his community, Bradshaw worked on the neighboring sugar estate after completing his education. At the age of 16, he was apprenticed to the foreman in the machine shop at the St. Kitts-Bassetere Sugar Company. He joined the St. Kitts Workers League on the recommendation of his boss in the machine shop. In 1935 another boy pushed Bradshaw and his right hand went through a glass window during the altercation severing all the tendons After he recovered Bradshaw was promoted to the office of the machine shop This accident changed ...


Hamid Ghany

was born on 4 October 1928 in Port of Spain, Trinidad, to George and Ruby (née Noel). According to Therese Mills, then editor of the Sunday Guardian (a newspaper published in Trinidad and Tobago) in an article “A Giant Leap for the Quiet Man” printed on Sunday 5 April 1981: “He attended Nelson Street Boys’ R.C. School and Burke’s College. After a period at Osmond High School his formal education stopped, but he continued his own self-education and development.” Before entering active politics, Chambers worked as a law clerk at the prestigious law firm of Hamel-Smith and Company in Port of Spain. He also worked as a legal assistant in the law department of the Dominion Oil Company, a North American oil company that maintained operations in Trinidad in the 1950s and 1960s.

Chambers joined the People s National Movement PNM led by Dr Eric Williams in its founding ...


Kenneth P. Vickery

lawyer, politician, vice president (1970–1973), and prime minister (1973–1975, 1977–1978) of independent Zambia, was born in Nampeyo, an area near Monze, in the Southern Province of Zambia (then Northern Rhodesia), on 21 January 1930. He was the son of Hameja Chilala, a spiritual leader, legendary hunter, and Tonga chief—though “chiefship” in this region is problematic and probably owes as much to British colonial rule as to indigenous origins. His mother was Nhandu. Chona attended the local school sponsored by the main Catholic Jesuit mission in Southern Province, Chikuni, and then Chikuni itself, before completing secondary education at Munali, the elite Lusaka high school founded by the Northern Rhodesian colonial administration in 1939 He was clearly an outstanding student After graduation he worked for a time as an interpreter for the High Court in Livingstone and this may have fueled his desire to become a lawyer He found time ...


Dag Henrichsen

Namibia’s first prime minister (1990–2002), was born on 3 August 1941 in the Grootfontein district of the Otjozondjupa region in central Namibia. He trained as a teacher at the Augustineum Training College in Okahandja between 1958 and 1961, where he became a student activist against the apartheid politics of the South African administration. He then also joined the newly founded South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) of Namibia, soon experiencing harassment by the South African police and thus fleeing into exile to Botswana in late 1962. Here he became the assistant to SWAPO’s representative in Francistown until 1964, when he was granted a scholarship to study in the United States. Initially he attended Temple University (1964–1966); he later graduated with an MA in international relations from the New School of Social Research in New York.

Simultaneously he became a SWAPO petitioner to the UN until 1971 at ...


Sterling Recker

Rwandan politician and prime minister is a Hutu who came of age under Belgian colonial rule Gitera was educated in a Catholic seminary which had been established by the Belgian colonial powers The institutions of colonialism and the Catholic Church had both favored Tutsi supremacy for most of Gitera s life which contributed to his ideological development and his determined focus on revolution and reform by the late 1950s Gitera was a businessman who went on to create a political party which was ostensibly based on class interests as opposed to the principles of ethnicity but nevertheless attracted only Hutu members He challenged the privileges that Tutsi held and demanded independence for Rwanda during the 1950s Gitera was attempting to appeal to all Rwandans regardless of ethnicity by using nationalist ideology to create a movement against the colonial powers and church influence both of which were supportive of the Tutsi ...


Chris Saunders

Boer general, Afrikaner nationalist, and South African prime minister, was born near Wellington in Cape Province in 1866 He studied law at Victoria College Stellenbosch and then at the University of Amsterdam After practicing as a lawyer in Pretoria he was appointed a judge in the Orange Free State OFS then became legal adviser to the OFS forces during the Anglo Boer War before becoming a general and leading a guerrilla commando on daring raids against the British After the war he became active in politics founding the Orangia Unie Party When the Orange River Colony ORC became self governing Hertzog joined its cabinet as attorney general and director of education in which capacity he demanded equal status for English and Afrikaans in schools He represented the ORC in the negotiations for a Union of South Africa and the first prime minster of the Union Louis Botha asked him ...


Patricia Glinton-Meicholas

was born on 4 August 1947 in impoverished circumstances in Pine Ridge, Grand Bahama, to Isabella MacIntosh and Jerome Ingraham, a stevedore. When Hubert was 3 years old, Isabella (“Dama” to her son) married Sherwin Laroda. The couple migrated to Nassau, capital of The Bahamas, leaving the boy in Cooper’s Town, North Abaco, to be raised by his maternal grandparents.

Elizabeth Cooper Cornish, Ingraham’s grandmother, greatly influenced his character and choice of profession. She was his valued counselor until she died in 1998. Ingraham dedicated his 2012 election campaign to Cornish and acknowledged his debt to her in a speech in the aftermath It is impossible for me to reflect on my life of service without speaking of my grandmother Mama Lizzie Her dream and faith in The Bahamas her belief in my ability to achieve and her dedication to raising me to be honest hardworking and loyal ...


first prime minister of the Republic of the Congo (later Democratic Republic of the Congo), was born 25 July 1925 in Onalua a small village in Kasai Province Belgian Congo His parents belonged to the small Tetela ethnic group known for its resistance to Belgian colonial domination which in Onalua was well anchored and brutally asserted Lumumba was a curious even audacious child with a sharp intelligence He did not allow himself to be ruled by adults or his comrades and was remembered as a leader always ready to defend his friends His assertive temperament distinguished him but also got him into trouble for he could not succeed in an environment like the colonial Congo where docility passed for a primary virtue An autodidact he was shaped by neither family school nor religion he observed everything keenly imposing himself on his society and surprising above all the Belgian colonial ...


Lokangaka Losambe

Patrice Emery Lumumba was born on 2 July 1925 at Onalua, in Katako-Kombe Territory, Sankuru District, in the present-day Orientale Kasai Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. After an early-childhood African homestead education at the hands of his peasant parents, he first enrolled in a Catholic school and then, at the age of thirteen, moved to a Protestant mission school run by Swedish Methodists. While the homestead education inculcated communal, humane African values in the young Lumumba, the assimilationist Catholic education exposed him to exclusive colonial strictures. As Jean-Paul Sartre accurately states in his introduction to a collection of Lumumba’s speeches edited by Jean Van Lierde and entitled Lumumba Speaks p 7 Reverend Fathers wanted to make him a catechist and the more practical minded Swedes wanted to teach him a trade that would enable him to get out of the peasant class and work for a ...


A charismatic and energetic statesman, Patrice Lumumba became politically active as a young postal worker when he organized a postal workers’ union in Stanleyville (now Kisangani) in what was then the Belgian Congo. In October 1958 he became involved with national politics, founding the Mouvement National Congolais (MNC), Congo’s first national political party. In December, Lumumba took an MNC delegation to the All-African People’s Conference in Ghana, where he met with leaders of Pan-Africanism and became friends with Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first African prime minister. Influenced by the spirit of nationalism and anticolonialism that pervaded the conference, Lumumba returned to the Republic of the Congo a militant, ready to demand independence.

Lumumba made the first public appeal for independence in January 1959 On October 31 that year he was arrested and held responsible for riots that broke out after a meeting of the MNC From jail he and his ...


Juan Fandos-Rius

Central African prime minister, was born on 14 February 1936 with his twin brother Christopher Maidou at Bangui in Ubangi-Shari. His Gbanziri father, Maurice Maidou, was a nurse in French Equatorial Africa's health service. After primary school at Fort Sibut, junior high school at Bambari, and teacher training at Bambari, he taught at Kembé, Mobaye, and Bossembélé in the late 1950s. From 1960 to 1962 he attended a higher level teacher training institution in Brazzaville, then studied at a teacher training school in Rennes, France from 1962 to 1964. He earned a master's degree in geography after studying from 1964 to 1968 in Nancy, France, but failed his civil service entrance examination in 1969.

Maidou was qualified to teach junior high but not high school or university classes. However when he returned to the Central African Republic (CAR) in 1969 he had undergone more French ...


James Jankowski

Egyptian lawyer, judge, nationalist leader, and prime minister, was born in Samanud in Gharbiyya Province on 15 June 1879. Of modest family background (his father was a timber merchant), Nahhas is a prime example of the trajectory of upward mobility experienced by the effendiyya, Egypt’s new middle class created by processes of modernization in the nineteenth century. Educated at the Nasiriyya Elementary School and later the Khedivial Secondary School, he was first in his class at the Khedivial Law School when he graduated in 1900. In 1904 he was appointed a judge in the National Court in Tanta, and served as a judge until dismissed from the courts in 1919 due to his political involvement.

In the pre–World War I period, Nahhas’s initial political sympathies were with the Watani Party of Mustafa Kamil and Muhammad Farid. When Saʿd Zaghlul organized the new Wafd Party to demand ...


Henry Kam Kah

anticolonial politician, Pan-Africanist, socialist, and first president of independent Ghana, was born Francis Nwia Kofi Nkrumah in Nkroful, Nzima village, in Britain’s Gold Coast colony (now in southwest Ghana). There is some dispute about the exact date of his birth. In the Akan tradition, Kwame is a day name indicating a male born on a Saturday, and Nkrumah notes in his autobiography (1957) that his family believed he was born on a Saturday in the middle of September, most likely the eighteeenth.The priest who baptized him, however, recorded his date of birth as 21 September 1909 which was probably the date of his baptism For most of his life Nkrumah used 21 September as his birth date that was the least line of resistance officially as his baptismal certificate served as his birth certificate His parents were Kofi Ngonloma of the Asona clan a goldsmith and Elizabeth Nyanibah of ...