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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

Elizabeth Heath

In 1997 Laurent-Désiré Kabila received international attention when he led a seven-month rebellion in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) that toppled longtime dictator Mobutu Sese Seko. Kabila’s rapid rise to power followed nearly three decades of opposition to the regime of Mobutu. Laurent Kabila was born into the Luba ethnic group in the mineral-rich province of Katanga in 1939. Little is known about his childhood. He attended university in France, where he studied political philosophy and became a Marxist, and in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where he befriended Yoweri Museveni, the future president of Uganda. He returned to the Belgian Congo shortly before it achieved independence (as the Congo) in 1960. Upon his return, Kabila became a member of the North Katanga Assembly and a staunch supporter of Congo’s first prime minister, Patrice Lumumba. After Lumumba’s murder in 1961 ...

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 ...

Article

Leyla Keough

In July 1994Paul Kagame led the guerrilla Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) to power in Rwanda, overthrowing a government whose members had participated in a genocide that killed an estimated one million people. Kagame quickly became the foremost figure in Rwandan politics and in 2000 was elected president of the nation. Kagame was born in southern Rwanda, but in 1959 a Hutu revolution in the Belgian colony of Rwanda forced into exile thousands of Tutsi, including two-year-old Kagame and his family. Kagame grew up in a refugee camp in western Uganda, where he attended school. As a young man he joined the rebel army of Yoweri Museveni to fight against the dictatorship of Milton Obote in Uganda. Museveni took power in 1986 and Kagame was awarded the post of chief of military intelligence A year later Kagame and about 8 000 other Uganda based Tutsi founded ...

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

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 ...