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Cyril Daddieh

university professor, political dissident, and former president of Ivory Coast from 2000–2011 was born in Mama, near Gagnoa (center-west region) on 31 May 1945 to Zepe Paul Koudou and Gado Marguerite. He attended primary and middle schools in Agboville and Gagnoa, completing his studies in June 1962. He went on to high school at the very competitive Lycée Classique d’Abidjan. After graduating in June 1965, Gbagbo enrolled at the University of Abidjan for a year before he transferred to the University of Lyon, in France, to study Latin, Greek, and French. His love of Latin earned him the nickname “Cicero.” However, Gbagbo did not complete his degree in Lyon; rather, he returned to the University of Abidjan, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in history in 1969.

Gbagbo became a trade unionist and an unflinching opponent of the regime of President Félix Houphouët-Boigny. In 1969 Gbagbo s ...

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Nana Yaw B. Sapong

, teacher, diplomat, politician, and president of Ghana’s Third Republic, was born in Gwellu in the Upper Region of Ghana in 1934. His father was a blacksmith and farmer in a region noted for predominantly producing cereal, root crops, and legumes. Limann was an accomplished individual. After completing his elementary education at Lawra and Tamale, he earned a teacher’s certificate from the Tamale Government Teacher Training College in 1952 and the General Certificate Examination Advanced Level in 1957. This earned him a place at the London School of Economics, where he completed a bachelor of science in economics degree in 1960. He journeyed to France where he earned a doctorate in political science and constitutional law from the University of Paris in 1965 Limann also received a high diploma in the French language from the Sorbonne 1962 and a bachelor of arts in history from the ...

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Waseem-Ahmed Bin-Kasim

president of Ghana and university professor, popularly referred to as “Prof,” was born on 21 July 1944 at Tarkwa in the Western Region of Ghana, although he grew up in the town of Ekumfi Otuam in Ghana’s Central Region. Mills was born to a family that was Fante, an Akan-speaking ethnic group. In 1963 he earned his A-level certificate at the prestigious Achimota Secondary School in the capital city of Accra, before attending the University of Ghana, Legon, where he earned a bachelor’s degree (1966) and a professional certificate in law (1967). He distinguished himself in academia, earning a PhD at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London in 1970. Awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study in the United States, he earned a PhD in 1971 from Stanford Law School in Palo Alto California his doctoral dissertation focused on the relationship between ...

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Robert Fay

Daniel arap Moi was born in Karing’wo village in the Baringo Rift Valley District of Kenya. He is a member of the Tugen, a subgroup of the Kalenjin, a relatively small ethnic group famous for producing many of Kenya’s champion long-distance runners. Moi has displayed a different kind of stamina. President from 1978 to 2002 , he was also a longtime legislator in Kenya, joining the Legislative Council (now the National Assembly) in 1955 and retaining his seat two years later in Kenya’s first elections. Previously, Moi worked as a schoolteacher, rising to become headmaster of the Kabarnet Intermediate School in 1948, where he taught many current members of the National Assembly.

In 1960 Moi was one of the Kenyan representatives to the Lancaster House Conference in London where the terms of Kenyan independence were negotiated Shortly afterward he became the national chairman for the Kenya ...

Article

Eric Young

A teacher by training and a politician by practice, Robert Mugabe has been the preeminent political leader in Zimbabwe for more than two decades. Born, raised, and trained as a teacher at Kutama Mission in Zvimba in what is now northwestern Zimbabwe, Mugabe taught at the mission school between 1941 and 1943. After several other brief teaching jobs around Zimbabwe (then Southern Rhodesia), Mugabe won a scholarship to the University of Fort Hare College in South Africa. There he was introduced to literature on communism, Marxism, and Gandhian passive resistance. After completing his bachelor’s degree, he returned to Zimbabwe to teach. He later taught in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and Ghana.

In 1960 Mugabe returned home to enter politics. He first joined the nationalist group the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU), but in 1964 after several arrests and a falling out with its leadership Mugabe went to Tanzania ...

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Clapperton Mavhunga

prime minister and then president of the Republic of Zimbabwe, was born on 21 February 1924 to Bona Shonhiwa and a carpenter named Gabriel Matibiri. The couple, who lived near the Catholic-run Kutama Mission, had their first child, Michael, in 1919 and a second, Raphael, in 1922. Their third son, Robert Gabriel, was born two years later at Matibiri village near Murombedzi. After him came another brother, Donato, and a sister, Sabina.

In his boyhood, Mugabe accompanied his devoutly Catholic mother to mass, a filial attachment that grew even more after 1934 when his father left the family to seek work in the western Southern Rhodesian city of Bulawayo a decision prompted by Michael s death Schoolmates say Mugabe kept to himself avoided distractive things like sports and made books his only friends The cattle pastures were an extension of the library to him and he herded with ...

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Janet Vaillant

Senegalese poet, philosopher, politician, and first president of Senegal (1960–1980), was born in Joal, a small coastal town south of Dakar in what was then the French West African Federation, now Senegal. His father came from the Serer people and was successful in the peanut export trade. His mother, one of several wives, came from a small country village, where Senghor spent his early childhood. His father sent him away for education when he was seven, and at eight he entered a Catholic mission boarding school. A pious and academically gifted child, he excelled in his studies, gaining support from the missionaries to continue his education in Dakar. He also acquired a deep Catholic faith, from which came his conviction that peaceful solutions exist for the most difficult of problems and from which he drew sustenance throughout his life. In 1928 he went to Paris to continue his education ...

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David P. Johnson

Demonstrating a rare combination of intellectual, artistic, and political skill, Léopold Sédar Senghor towered over modern Senegal, unlike any other figure in that country’s history. Senghor’s quest to find an artistic and political synthesis between African and European ways of life inspired his lifelong record of creative achievement. Although as a youth he immersed himself in French culture, his ultimate inability to become “a black-skinned Frenchman” led him to cultivate his “Africanness.” He helped to define two of the key political and intellectual movements of twentieth-century Africa: African Socialism and Négritude.

Born in Ndjitor, Senegal, to a Serer father and a Fulani mother, Senghor strove to represent all of Senegal’s peoples in his writing and politics. He attended Roman Catholic mission schools in what was then French West Africa, and in 1922 entered the Collège Libermann a seminary in Dakar where he intended to study for the priesthood He ...

Article

Raised in southern Chad, François Tombalbaye was educated in Brazzaville, Congo, and was one of the few Chadians to have obtained a secondary education by the end of World War II (1939–1945). While working as a teacher in 1947, Tombalbaye helped organize the Parti Progressiste Tchadien (PPT or Chadian Progressive Party), the Chadian branch of the African Democratic Rally, an interterritorial political party across French West Africa. Tombalbaye’s political career prospered after 1952. He was elected to the regional legislature and also began to climb the ranks of the PPT leadership. Tombalbaye represented Chad in the 1957 General Council for French Equatorial Africa and in 1959 he became leader of the PPT and Chad’s prime minister. Tombalbaye led Chad to independence in 1960 and became its first president. In his first years in power he worked to isolate and eliminate all political rivals, and in 1962 ...

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Jeremy Rich

Chadian politician, was born in the village of Bessada, Chad, on 5 June 1918. This town was part of the southern Chadian Sara-speaking domain. His father was a prominent trader, and Tombalbaye’s family had the means to ensure he received a fairly high level of education. He attended a primary school in Sarh run by Protestant missionaries and secondary school in Brazzaville, the capital of the region then known as French Equatorial Africa. Once he finished his studies, he worked as a teacher in Protestant mission schools in Sarh, N’Djamena, Koumra (close to his hometown), and Kyabé. Tombalbaye formed a chapter of the Parti Progressiste Tchadienne (PPT; Chadian Progressive Party) in 1946 in Sarh where he rallied members of his clan as well as other Sara speakers to the party The PPT was initially led by French West Indian administrator Gabriel Lisette who presented the PPT as a ...

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Jeremy Rich

president and university professor, was born on 23 February 1942 in Kati, Mali, into a large family with many siblings. He attended primary school in the French town of Fréjus where his father was stationed as a soldier as well as the Malian cities of Kayes and Bamako between 1948 and 1953. Traoré continued his education at the Lycée Terrason secondary school in the Malian capital of Bamako, and graduated a year after Mali became independent in 1960. He also completed his two-year military service as a paratrooper. The leftist military regime that ruled Mali in the early 1960s had numerous ties to the Soviet Union. These connections provided Traoré the opportunity to move to Moscow in 1962 There he studied Russian for a year before enrolling at Moscow State University where he focused on engineering and mathematics While in Moscow he was an active member ...