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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 ...

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José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva is best known for helping Brazil achieve independence in 1822. It is less often recognized that the year after independence he authored a plan for “the slow emancipation of the blacks.” In this plan he argued: “It is time, and more than time, for us to put a stop to a traffic so barbaric and butcherlike, time too for us to eliminate gradually the last traces of slavery among us, so that in a few generations we may be able to form a homogeneous nation, without which we shall never be truly free, respectable, and happy.”

Andrada e Silva argued that slavery was morally wrong and economically inefficient a violation of God s laws and the laws of justice and a corrupt influence over Brazil s inhabitants Slave labor he believed resulted in the slaveholders idleness and gave ordinary Brazilians little incentive to ...

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Richard A. Bradshaw and Juan Fandos-Rius

prime minister of the Central African Republic (CAR), was born 15 December 1930 to a Yakoma father at Bangassou in southeastern Ubangi-Shari. He attended the Collège moderne (modern middle school) in Bambari, then the École normale (teacher training college) at the École des cadres supérieurs (school for training upper-level cadres) in Brazzaville. On 24 September 1951, he joined the civil service of French Equatorial Africa (FEA) as a secretarial assistant and was sent to Ubangi-Shari, where he worked at Bangui’s payments department from 1951 to 1954. In 1954 he was promoted to secretary and then served as a finance agent for Fort Crampel from 1955 to 1957. From 1957 to 1958, he was head of Bimbo district, located southwest of Bangui.

Ayandho studied at the École nationale de la France d’outre-mer (ENFOM; French national school for training administrators for service overseas) in France from 1958 to ...

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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 ...

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Eric Bennett

Unlike other members of the northern Nigerian elite that he was to join, Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa was born into a low-status, non-Fulani family. He attended primary and secondary school in Bauchi State and then enrolled at Katsina Higher College. In 1933 he became a schoolmaster, and in 1934 he published Shaihu Umar, a novel.

Balewa’s political career began in 1943 when he cofounded the Bauchi General Improvement Union, a group that promoted modernization and criticized British colonialism in Nigeria. Less radical than his cohorts, Balewa won election in 1946 to the northern legislature and became vice president of the Northern People’s Congress (NPC). The government appointed him minister of works in 1952 and minister of transport in 1954. In September 1957 Balewa became the prime minister of Nigeria under British control, a position he held until 1959 He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II of ...

Article

Owen J. M. Kalinga

physician and president of Malawi from 1964 to 1994, was born in about 1896 at Mphonongo, approximately 18 miles (29 kilometers) east of the headquarters of the present-day Kasungu district. Given the name, Kamunkhwala, denoting the medicine that his mother took to enable conception, Banda attended two local junior elementary schools of the Livingstonia Mission of the Church of Scotland. In 1908, he went to the more established school at Chilanga Mission where, in that year, Dr. George Prentice baptized him as Akim Kamunkhwala Mtunthama Banda. He was to drop all three names and replace them with Hastings Walter (after a Scottish missionary, John Hastings), before finally settling on Hastings Kamuzu Banda, substituting kamuzu (root) for Kamunkhwala.

In 1914 Banda passed three standard exams a mandatory step to continue to the full primary school level the satisfactory completion of which was the highest qualification one could attain ...

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Known as the “Lion of Malawi,” Ngwazi Hastings Kamuzu Banda was also known as the dictator who showed so little appreciation for his country’s people and culture that he was sometimes suspected of being an American impostor. Kamuzu Banda was born to Chewa peasants in a village near Kasunugu, Nyasaland (present-day Malawi). No birth records were kept at the time; while his official year of birth is 1906, other sources cite 1898. As a child Banda left the household of his maternal grandmother and entered a newly established school built by Church of Scotland missionaries. Influenced by his uncle, Hanock Phiri, Banda converted to Christianity and adopted the surname of missionary John Hastings.

Shortly after completing primary school, Banda traveled with his uncle to South Africa (supposedly walking the 1667 km [1000 mi]), where they initially worked in a coal mine in Dundee, Natal. Upon reaching Johannesburg ...

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Errol Walton Barrow was a founding member of the Barbados Labor Party (BPL) and the Democratic Labor Party (DPL).

See also Barbados.

Article

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 ...

Article

Vere Cornwall Bird began his political career in 1939 as a member of the newly created Antigua Trade and Labor Union. Within this labor organization, he founded the Antigua Labor Party (ALP). Bird was first elected to the Legislative Council, the governing body of the island, in 1945 He ...

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Lisa Clayton Robinson

Maurice Bishop became the prime minister of Grenada in a 1979 coup and rose to prominence as one of the most controversial figures in the Caribbean. Bishop was born in Aruba in 1944, but his parents, both native Grenadians, moved the family back to Grenada in 1950. He was educated at Catholic schools in St. George's and in 1963 won a scholarship to attend university in England. Bishop studied at Gray's Inn, London University's Holborn College of Law, and King's College. During this time he became involved in the Black Power Movement and was influenced by such leaders as Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Kwame Nkrumah, and Walter Rodney.

On his return to Grenada in 1970 Bishop went into private legal practice and cofounded a discussion group of young radical intellectuals and professionals The group evolved into the Movement for Assemblies of the ...

Article

Bill Nasson

farmer, general, and first prime minister of the Union of South Africa, was born on 27 September 1862 near Greytown in the British colony of Natal. His paternal grandfather, Philip Rudolph Boot (or Both), was of German settler descent and had participated in the 1830s Boer Great Trek into the interior. The son of migrant trekkers Louis Botha and Salomina van Rooyen, Louis was the ninth of thirteen children. In 1869, the Botha family left Natal and settled on a farm near Vrede in the Orange Free State, where Louis lived until the age of twenty-two. Earlier, he had been schooled at a local German mission where he received only a very basic education.

Botha’s minimal formal learning proved to be no handicap to the development of his exceptional aptitude for fieldcraft and understanding of the working of the highveld terrain. In 1886 he settled on his ...

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Ryan Irwin

South African Prime Minister (1978–1984) and executive state President (1984–1989), was born 12 January 1916 on a farm near the town of Paul Roux in Orange Free State. An Afrikaner by birth, Botha is commonly referred to as either “P.W.” or “Die Groot Krokodil” (The Great Crocodile). His parents, Pieter Willem and Hendrina, were influenced greatly by the South African War (Second Anglo-Boer War).

Upon completing his education in the early 1930s, Botha worked as a reporter and a National Party organizer in South Africa’s Western Province. He flirted briefly with a pro-Nazi organization named Ossewabrandwag in the years before World War II but ended his connections to the group in 1941. Following a stint as a government information officer during the war, Botha was elected to Parliament as a National Party representative in 1948 He was appointed Deputy Interior Minister ten years later ...

Article

Alonford James Robinson

Pieter Willem Botha was raised in a militantly nationalistic Afrikaner family in the Eastern Cape. His mother’s first husband was killed in the Boer War (1899–1902), in which his father also fought for the Boers. At an early age Botha himself became an Afrikaner nationalist, leaving the University of Orange Free State Law School in 1935 to help found the National Party. A year later he became public information officer for the party and served on the Sauer Commission, the agency that helped to formulate the National Party’s racial program.

In 1948 Botha proved instrumental in helping D. F. Malan and the National Party come to power. That year he won a seat in Parliament, representing the Eastern Cape district of George. As a reward for party loyalty, Botha was appointed to a series of cabinet positions in the apartheid-era governments of Hendrik Verwoerd and Balthazar Johannes Vorster ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

first female prime minister of Senegal, was born in the coastal city of Saint Louis, Senegal. She came from a family of lawyers, including her father, one brother who worked for the Supreme Court of Senegal, and another brother who received an advanced law degree, became a professor of international law, and eventually became the head of the University of Dakar. Boye herself attended primary school in her home city before graduating from the Lycée Faidherbe secondary school and enrolling in an undergraduate law degree program at the University of Dakar in 1963 She then studied law at the Centre National d Études Judiciaries CNEJ in Paris Once she finished her studies in France she returned to Senegal and began to work as an assistant prosecutor for the government Boye became an assistant judge in a court at Dakar and later rose to be president of the Senegalese Court ...

Article

Alonford James Robinson

Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham was born in 1923 to James Ethelbert Burnham and Rachel Abigail Sampson. James Burnham was headmaster of the Methodist Primary School in Kitty, a suburb of the capital city Georgetown. He instilled in his five children an appreciation for education, and Linden, the youngest male of the family, ambitiously pursued academic excellence.

After graduating from Central High School, Burnham attended the prestigious, all-male Queen's College. While there he won a British Guyana scholarship to study at the University of London in England. However, World War II forced Burnham to remain in British Guyana, where he earned his bachelor's degree in correspondence and accepted an administrative position at Queen's College.

After the war, Burnham traveled to England to complete his law degree, which he received in 1947 from the University of London While in London Burnham became the first Guyanese student to be ...

Article

Maxwell Akansina Aziabah

Ghanaian prime minister and sociologist, was born in Wenchi in the British Gold Coast colony on 11 July 1913. His mother was Nana Yaa Nsowaa, a prominent member of the royal Safoase Yefre matrilineage of Wenchi, and his father was Yaw Bosea. His mother later remarried, not long after Kofi was born. It is believed that Busia grew up under the tutelage of his stepfather, Kwabena Janso, since his biological father had little to do with him. At age six he was baptized Joseph Busia, a misspelling of his biological father’s surname that he would retain throughout his career.

As a boy Busia developed a keen interest in religious studies, which was bolstered by his contact with Wesleyan Methodist missionaries, notably the Reverend William Whittle and his wife Alice Whittle, a teacher. Busia impressed the Whittles, who encouraged his academic interests. In 1922 the Whittles brought Busia with ...

Article

Martha King

Born a member of the royal family of Wenchi, Kofi Abrefa Busia attended the Kumasi Methodist and Mfantsipim Secondary Schools and Wesley College. He received a B.A. degree in politics, philosophy, and economics and then an M.A. degree in social anthropology from the University of Oxford. Busia wrote his doctoral thesis, titled The Position of the Chief in the Modern Political System of Ashanti, in 1951. He held teaching positions at the Ghana University College at Legon in the African studies and sociology departments.

Busia left the university to devote himself to politics in 1956. In the fall of 1957, he formed the United Party, composed of different parties in opposition to President Kwame Nkrumah He was outspoken in opposition to Nkrumah s government Busia fled to England in fear of the increasingly repressive government In exile Busia maintained his opposition to the Nkrumah regime ...

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Born William Alexander Clarke, of an Irish immigrant father and a Jamaican mother of indigenous and African descent, Bustamante grew up in Blenheim, Jamaica, but ventured out into the world at the age of twenty-one. As a young man he served in the Spanish army, then worked in various capacities in Cuba, Panama, and New York City. He returned to Jamaica in 1932 as a wealthy entrepreneur. Although shrewd investments had made him rich, Bustamante's concern for Jamaican Sugar plantation workers led him to participate in protest marches, organize strikes, and become the treasurer of the Jamaican Workers and Tradesmen's Union (JWTU), which he helped found in 1937. His political activism continued alongside the social upheaval occurring in the 1930s throughout the West Indies. After he was jailed and released in May 1938 he became a symbolic leader of the workers movement ...

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Known as “The Iron Lady of the Caribbean,” Mary Charles was the first female prime minister in the Caribbean and one of a few black women to serve as a head of state. She was born in Pointe Michel and attended school in Dominica and Grenada before enrolling at the University of Toronto, where she received a law degree in 1946. After further studies in London, she returned to Dominica in 1949 and became the island's first female lawyer.

After practicing law for almost two decades, Charles became an outspoken critic of the government of Edward Oliver Le Blanc, and more specifically the Seditious and Undesirable Publications Act passed by his government. In 1968, she founded the Dominica Freedom Party. In 1980, she became prime minister of Dominica, a position that she held until 1995. In 1983 Charles was elected chairperson of the Organization ...