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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 ...

Article

Mohammed Hassen Ali

pharmacist, lawyer, and Oromo nationalist and political activist in Ethiopia, was mainly responsible for the formation of the Oromo Liberation Front, which in turn transformed Oromo cultural nationalism to political nationalism. He was born in the region of Wallaga. He lost both his parents while very young, and it was his elder brother, the Reverend Gudina Tumsa, who brought him up and provided him with the best education.

While at Haile Selassie I University, Baro Tumsa immersed himself in student politics as well as risky underground Oromo political activities. From 1964 to 1966 he served as secretary and president of the union of the university students in Addis Ababa It was under his leadership that university students were radicalized and energized More than many of his contemporaries Baro Tumsa realized that the Oromo and other conquered people of southern Ethiopia were landless subjects without rights who were exploited economically ...

Article

Marian Aguiar

Ahmed Ben Bella was born in Maghnia, Algeria. After fighting for the French during World War II, Ben Bella returned home to witness the colonial administration’s crackdown on the Algerian population. During the crackdown, the French bombed Islamic villages and killed thousands of Muslims in response to the 1945 anticolonial riots in the Sétif region. Inspired to join the growing Algerian independence movement, Ben Bella worked with several illegal revolutionary groups until he was arrested and imprisoned by the French in 1950.

After escaping from prison in 1952, Ben Bella joined other exiled anticolonial leaders, including Mohamed Boudiaf and Hocine Aït Ahmed, in Cairo, Egypt. Together they helped found the main revolutionary party, the Algerian National Liberation Front (Front de Libération Nationale, or FLN). Ben Bella was an arms procurer for the FLN in 1956 when he was captured aboard a plane ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

Algerian anticolonial leader and politician, was born on 25 December 1916 in the town of Maghnia in western Algeria. His family was relatively affluent, and he was the youngest child of five boys and several girls.

Although Ben Bella’s father was a practicing Muslim, Ben Bella himself never managed to master Arabic. He attended primary schools in Maghnia and graduated in 1930. Ben Bella was a phenomenal football (soccer) player at school, and he seriously considered becoming a professional athlete. However, he ended up joining the French army and served in numerous campaigns during World War II. His bravery and skill made him a legend in his own unit, and he eventually reached the rank of Sergeant Major. At the Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy, he carried his wounded company commander 1500 yards to safety and then took charge of the company Charles De Gaulle his future ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

Algerian political leader, was born on 14 April 1929 in the town of Bouteldja located near the port city of Annaba. His father was a small landowner who was able to provide his son with a primary school education in Annaba. However, the family had relatives in Tunisia, and it appears Bendjedid grew up in a relatively cosmopolitan household.

Bendjedid joined the French military after World War II and served in Vietnam. He reached the rank of noncommissioned officer and was back in Algeria when the Front de Libération Nationale (FLN; National Liberation Front) anticolonial armed movement launched its armed struggle against French rule on 1 November 1954. By early 1955, Benjdedid joined the armed wing of the FLN, where he rose in the ranks. He was promoted to regional commander in 1956 and assistant commander in 1957. He suffered serious wounds in combat in 1957 ...

Article

Marian Aguiar

Chadli Benjedid grew up in the Annaba region of colonial Algeria, then joined the military wing of the national liberation group, the Front de Libération Nationale (FLN). Moving quickly through the ranks, he became a rebel commander in 1960. After Algeria’s independence he helped oversee the withdrawal of French troops.

While in the rebel army, Benjedid earned the trust of chief of staff Houari Boumedienne, whom he later supported in the 1965 coup d’état against President Ahmed Ben Bella. Under President Boumedienne, Benjedid held high positions in the military and served on the ruling Revolutionary Council.

Within the FLN Benjedid gained a reputation as an evenhanded leader, and for this reason he was sought as the presidential candidate to heal divisions within the party after Boumedienne’s death. In 1979 Benjedid was elected and began a tenure that lasted through two reelections During his thirteen years ...

Article

Matthew LeRiche and John Young

Sudanese journalist, politician, and government official, is the son of a Dinka chief from Twic Mayardit County in the province of northern Bahr El Ghazal, in southern Sudan. Bona has pursued careers in journalism, academia, and most prominently, politics. After the 2010 national election, he was named advisor to President ʿUmar al-Bashir, of the National Congress Party (NCP).

An accomplished student and athlete, Bona went to the US on scholarship. While there, he earned an MA in journalism and communications before returning to Sudan, where he became a leading southern Sudanese nationalist. Building on his academic training, Bona became the editor-in-chief of The Advocate, an early publication defending the human rights of southerners and calling for devolution of power to the south. He was a cofounder of the Southern Front and served as its first secretary-general. He was then elected to the national assembly in 1968 only to ...

Article

Emmanuel Asiedu-Acquah

Ghanaian nationalist politician and diplomat, was born on 21 February 1916 in Winneba, a coastal town in the central province of the Gold Coast (present-day Ghana). His father, James Edward Botsio, was the registrar of the colonial district commissioner’s court. His mother, Diana Ama Amina, was a trader. Kojo Botsio was schooled at the local Catholic primary and middle schools before attending the prestigious Adisadel College in the historic city of Cape Coast in 1929. He went on to train as a teacher from 1935 to 1936 at Achimota College, which also trained other future prominent Ghanaian leaders including his long-time political associate, Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first postindependence leader. After his training at Achimota, Botsio taught at the Catholic secondary school of Saint Augustine in Cape Coast for five years.

In the tradition of some educated colonial Ghanaians of the time Botsio studied for his bachelor s degree at ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

Tunisian politician and anticolonial activist, was born on 3 August 1903 in the Tunisian town of Monastir, located roughly 100 kilometers south of the capital of Tunis. His family was relatively poor, but several of his seven siblings raised enough money to send Bourguiba to French-run schools in Tunis.

Bourguiba attended the College Sadiki middle school and the Lycée Carnot secondary school. After Bourguiba passed his baccalaureate examinations in 1924, he moved to Paris to study law and political science. Bourguiba spent three years studying before he received his law degree. During that time, he met a Frenchwoman named Mathilde Lorain, and they married in 1927. On 9 April 1927 Mathilde gave birth to their first child and only son Habib Bourguiba Jr He then returned with his new family to Tunis Since the decade before World War I Western educated Tunisians had protested discriminatory policies on ...

Article

Marian Aguiar

For more than thirty years, Habib ibn Ali Bourguiba guided the nation of Tunisia through its transformation from French protectorate into independent republic, and then through a period of intense social and political reform. Known as an outspoken, bold man with a wry wit, he is also remembered as a gradualist and a negotiator who used slow-moving tactics to achieve radical ends.

Bourguiba was born in the small village of al-Munastir, but he studied in Tunis before traveling to France to study law and political science at the Sorbonne in Paris. In 1927 he returned to Tunis, where he became increasingly active in the growing independence movement. He was the cofounder of the newspaper L’Action Tunisienne, which became a forum for opposition to the French protectorate. In 1934 dissatisfied with the conservatism of the Destour Party which was at that time the leading Tunisian rights group Bourguiba helped ...

Article

Julia A. Clancy-Smith

Tunisian nationalist, writer, women’s rights activist, and artist, was born in the provincial city of Sfax, where her father worked in the Arabic publishing business and was an amateur actor, which helps explain her lifelong involvement in the arts. Her mother, Cherifa, was educated and quite unconventional; after her husband’s death, she taught primary school in Nabeul from 1943 on, riding a bike to school while still wearing a black veil, which scandalized the conservative local community. Since there were no educational institutions for Tunisian girls in the town, Dorra Bouzid studied in the local French secular school from the age of four on, with students from a range of religious and ethnic backgrounds. After her father’s death—his family had been opposed to Cherifa teaching school—Bouzid’s mother received a post in Tunis just prior to World War II and married again, to Mahmoud Messaâdi (1911–2004 an important figure ...

Article

Born in what is now the province of KwaZulu-Natal, Mangosutho Buthelezi is related to the Zulu royal family through his mother, Princess Magogo. He is descended from Cetshwayo, a Zulu king who ruled in the late 1800s. Buthelezi’s father, who was chief of the Buthelezi ethnic group, died when Buthelezi was fourteen years old. Buthelezi’s uncle, Maliyamakhanda, was appointed regent to govern the ethnic group until Buthelezi was ready to assume the role of chief.

Buthelezi received his early education at Christian mission schools. He then attended South African Native College (now the University of Fort Hare) in Alice. During college Buthelezi joined the African National Congress (ANC) Youth League. He was subsequently expelled from college because of his political activities, but in 1951 he received his degree in history and Bantu administration a discipline designed to train black South Africans for certain government positions from the ...

Article

Michael R. Mahoney

South African politician, was born on 27 August 1928 in Mahlabathini, KwaZulu-Natal province, to Chief Mathole Buthelezi and Princess Magogo, daughter of the Zulu king Dinuzulu and sister of his successor, Solomon. Buthelezi’s grandfather, Mnyamana, had been King Cetshwayo’s chief councilor, and the relationship between the two served as a model for Buthelezi’s own relationship with the Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithini. After matriculating at the American Board mission school Adams College in Natal, Buthelezi attended Fort Hare University in the Eastern Cape, a hotbed of political activism, from 1948 to 1950. There he befriended such future African nationalist leaders as Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe and Robert Mugabe. His involvement in protests against a visit to Fort Hare by Governor General Brand Van Zyl led to his expulsion, but he was able to complete his B.A. at the University of Natal in 1951.

Buthelezi s first job after graduation was ...

Article

Eric Young

Amílcar Cabral was born in Bafatá, Portuguese Guinea (today Guinea-Bissau). Because both of his parents were from the Cape Verde Islands, he automatically received Portuguese citizenship. After earning high marks in elementary school, Cabral attended secondary school in the Cape Verde Islands and then, at the age of twenty-one, the University of Lisbon in Portugal. He graduated with honors, and in 1950 Cabral entered the Portuguese colonial agriculture service and became increasingly active in revolutionary intellectual circles.

Between 1952 and 1954 Cabral conducted the first agricultural survey of Portuguese Guinea. As he gained an extensive knowledge of the land and popular grievances, he helped increase political awareness among his friends, mainly of Cape Verdean descent. Increasingly involved in anti-Portuguese activities, Cabral helped establish a recreation association and other quickly banned organizations before his return to Portugal. In Lisbon, and later in Angola he met revolutionary leaders from Angola ...

Article

Abel Djassi Amado

anticolonial intellectual active in Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau, was born on 24 September 1924, in Portuguese Guinea (henceforth Guinea-Bissau) to Cape Verdean parents. A West African agronomist-turned-politician, military strategist, and revolutionary theorist, Cabral was an active anticolonial thinker and activist during the 1960s and the first half of the 1970s. Unlike most anticolonial political figures, Cabral cannot be tied to a single national identity as both his biography and his political activities linked him to both Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau, two former Portuguese colonies in Africa. Hence, with the coming of independence, the title of pai da nacionalidade (literally “the father of nationality”) was legally bestowed upon him in those two African states.

Cabral spent his early childhood in Guinea-Bissau and moved to Cape Verde in 1933 His primary education took place on Santiago Island and with his mother he relocated to São Vicente Island to ...

Article

Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni

Zimbabwean nationalist, was born on 29 October 1922 at Epworth Mission near the present-day city of Harare. His father was a headman, the lowest rank in the colonially crafted native department responsible for African affairs. Chinamano received his early education at Epworth Mission and Waddilove Mission School near present-day Marondera. He qualified as a teacher in 1940, joining the rank of burgeoning early African educated elite. After teaching for some years, first at Methodist Primary School and the Police Training Depot in Salisbury (now Harare), he eventually went back to Waddilove Mission School for another three years (1945–1948) where he worked as a teacher-trainer.

Like many other early African educated elites of the time Chinamano wanted to attain tertiary education which was not available for Africans in Southern Rhodesia as Zimbabwe was then known He therefore travelled to South Africa and enrolled at Fort Hare University College He graduated ...

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Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni

a leading female nationalist and one of the luminaries of the Zimbabwe liberation struggle, was born in Cape Town in South Africa on 16 February 1925. Her maiden name was Ruth Nyombolo, and she hailed from a traditional South African community known as the “red blanket,” which her father led. She had a twin sister and was part of a family of four girls and one boy. Her father fought in World War I (1914–1918) and on his return from this war, he became politically active in the African National Congress of South Africa (ANC) that had been formed in 1912. Chinamano’s mother was a school teacher who was educated at the Lovedale Institute in the Cape Province.

Chinamano grew up in East London being looked after by her aunt Mrs Francis Mcanyangwa She went to the Welsh Primary School where she was motivated by her teachers stories ...

Article

Malawian nationalist leader, was born in 1930 in Nkhotakota, Malawi. He was the fourth of eight children born to a Malawian mother of mixed Mang’anja and Yao parentage and to Habil Mathew Chipembere, a Yao who became a teacher and then an ordained priest and archdeacon in the service of the Universities’ Mission to Central Africa (UMCA). Chipembere was a top pupil in primary school on Likoma Island, the isolated UMCA headquarters on the eastern reaches of Lake Malawi. He proceeded to Blantyre Secondary School, where he wrote the territory’s best examinations and received a government scholarship to finish his secondary schooling at Goromonzi School in what was to become Zimbabwe.

At Goromonzi, Chipembere also excelled and won an official scholarship in 1951 to attend Fort Hare University College in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa Fort Hare was then among the best higher education institutions on the ...

Article

Livia Apa

Mozambican writer and nationalist who is considered to be the national poet of independent Mozambique, was born on 28 May 1922, in Lourenço Marques (present-day Maputo). His father moved there in 1908 from Algarve, southern Portugal, where he left a son born outside his marriage. Craveirinha’s mother, an ethnic Rongan, lived with the family until his father decided to marry a Portuguese obstetrician, who moved to Mozambique and raised his sons as her own. Craveirinha’s stepmother did not impede the relationship between Craveirinha and his mother, unlike what would normally happen in Mozambique at that time. However, Craveirinha’s father, natural mother, and stepmother all died when he was still very young. As a result, both he and his brother moved to their uncle’s house.

For financial reasons Craveirinha could not pursue his studies so he focused his research entirely on his father s library which contained all the main ...

Article

Herman Giliomee

the first academic propagandist of apartheid, was born in Barrydale in the Cape Province, the youngest of fourteen children. He married Marie Pretorius in 1939; the couple had three sons, and Marie predeceased him in 1962. Cronjé received his first degrees from the University of Stellenbosch and went on the University of Amsterdam, where he received a doctoral degree in 1933, writing on divorce and the breakup of families. He was the first South African to receive a doctoral degree in sociology. In 1937 he was appointed professor of sociology at the University of Pretoria. More interested in social work and criminology than in classical sociology, he played a major role in getting the state to register white social workers.

Cronjé was the first academic to publish book-length studies propagating apartheid, published on the eve of the apartheid era. The books were entitled as follows: ‘n ...