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Frances B. Henderson

political leader and former first lady of Mozambique and South Africa, was born Graça Simbine in Gaza Province in rural Mozambique, the youngest of six children. She was born two weeks after the death of her father, and she and her siblings were raised by her mother. Machel attended a Methodist mission school starting at the age of 6, and upon completion of primary and secondary school in the early 1970s, she received a mission scholarship to study romance languages at the University of Lisbon in Portugal. In Lisbon she met other African students from the Portuguese colonies and began to develop her liberation politics. In 1973, upon her return to Mozambique, she joined the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO) in its struggle for independence from Portuguese rule. Later in 1973 Machel fled to Tanzania to join FRELIMO in exile where she met her future husband ...

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Eric Young

Samora Machel was one of Africa’s most famous revolutionary figures, known for his charisma and disciplined character. As a revolutionary leader and as president of Mozambique, Machel created a cult of personality wrapped in Marxist ideology and populism. Like many of the Mozambican nationalist leaders, Machel, who was born in Chilembene, was a southerner who attended Catholic schools in his youth. He trained as a nurse and worked in Maputo’s central hospital before joining the nationalist group Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO), led by Eduardo Mondlane, in 1962. After receiving military training in Algeria the following year, Machel returned to lead many military operations during the war for independence. As the war progressed, Machel became commander of Nachingwea, FRELIMO’s military training camp in Tanzania, and became FRELIMO’s secretary of defense in 1966 and commander in chief in 1968 Shortly after the assassination of Eduardo ...