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Hilary Jones

the first black African elected to Senegal’s seat in the Chamber of Deputies of the French National Assembly, was born to a family of domestic workers who served the métis (mulatto) and French elite. His father, Niokhar Diagne, came from the Serer ethnic group and worked as a cook. His mother, Gnagna Preira, worked as a domestic. She traced her maternal lineage to the Lebou population of Rufisque and her paternal line to the Afro-Portuguese of today’s Guinea-Bissau. While a distant ancestor may have been Portuguese, the family never considered themselves métis, and Diagne always presented himself as purely African. The Diagne family, like other Senegalese of Gorée, attended the Catholic Church on the island and sent their son to the local primary school run by the Catholic order.

Born in 1872 on Gorée Island Diagne entered a world shaped by the expansion of French imperialism in Senegal s ...


Eric Young

The youngest of six children, Graça Machel, née Simbine, was a leading figure in Mozambique’s war for independence. She became a prominent national and international figure not only as an education and human rights advocate but also as the wife of the late Mozambican president Samora Machel.

In the early 1970s, Graça Machel received a scholarship to study romance languages at the University of Lisbon, Portugal. She soon became involved in clandestine work for the Mozambican opposition group Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO) and in 1973 went to Tanzania to join the war for independence. After some time in the “liberated zones” of Mozambique, she returned to Tanzania, where Samora Machel was also working with FRELIMO, to run FRELIMO’s school. In 1974 she was a member of the team that negotiated Mozambique s independence The following year she became minister of education and the ...


Don Flynn

Right‐wing Conservative politician whose inflammatory speeches increased popular support for anti‐immigration policies and led to his sacking from the Shadow Cabinet.

Despite his later prominence, John Enoch Powell was a relative latecomer to race and immigration politics in the United Kingdom. The trailblazers for controls on ‘coloured’ immigration were active from 1954 onwards, led in Parliament by Cyril Osbourne, the MP for Louth, Lincolnshire—a region that in his day had virtually no black immigrants. Though active in Parliament from 1950, Powell made no grand pronouncements in support of immigration restrictions until 1964.

Following on from his careers as Professor of Greek at Sydney University and during the Second World War a brigadier in the British Army in India Powell entered politics after the war in the role of staunch defender of the British Empire Seeking a position in the Conservative Party s research department he described himself ...


Robert Fay

Born at Cape Coast in 1864, John Mensah Sarbah (also known as Kofi Mensah) was the first son of John and Sarah Sarbah. He attended the Cape Coast Wesleyan School and the Taunton School in England. Sarbah studied law at Lincoln’s Inn in London and in 1887 was the first Gold Coast African admitted to the bar.

Upon his return to Cape Coast, Sarbah established a successful law practice. He considered the traditional political institutions of the Gold Coast basically democratic in nature, and devoted his legal expertise to modernizing these institutions and integrating them into the colony’s legal apparatus. At the same time, he fought for laws protecting Africans from colonial oppression and exploitation. Among his many accomplishments, Sarbah, with the help of Joseph Casely-Hayford, succeeded in defeating the Lands Bill of 1897 which would have ignored traditional property rights and allowed the British government to dispose ...


Kate Tuttle

Lithuanian-born Joe Slovo moved to South Africa at the age of nine and grew up in a working-class Jewish neighborhood in Johannesburg. In 1942 he joined the Communist Party of South Africa (later renamed the South African Communist Party) and, shortly thereafter, the South African Army, with which he fought in World War II (1939–1945). After the war he studied law at the University of Witwatersrand, where he befriended Nelson Mandela, who was then the university’s only black student. When Mandela and others formed the African National Congress (ANC) Youth League in 1944, Slovo argued for the multiracial cooperation that became an ANC trademark.

Slovo acted as Mandela’s lawyer in his first trial for treason in 1956 a trial in which Slovo was also a defendant In the early 1960s he helped found Umkhonto we Sizwe the ANC s covert military wing and served for a ...


Raymond Suttner

leading South African communist and antiapartheid activist, was treated by the apartheid regime as its key enemy. At the same time he had a heroic image among the oppressed black majority as a white person totally dedicated to liberation.

Slovo, whose birth name was Yossel Mashel, was born into poverty in Obel, a village in Lithuania, the son of Yiddish-speaking parents, who were isolated from the Lithuanian community by their language and by anti-Semitism. His father left Obel when Joe was two years old to find a better environment. Settling in Johannesburg, South Africa, as a fruit hawker, it was six years before the father could send for his family. Joe arrived in 1936 then ten years old According to his daughter Gillian the Slovo family were on the lowest rung of the newly arrived Jewish community but the color of their skin opened a world of opportunity denied ...


Jeremy Rich

Cameroonian human rights activist and businesswoman, was born in Tcheboa, a town located in the Bénoué department of the province of North Cameroon on 28 November 1951. She attended secondary school in the northern Cameroonian city of Garoua and in the southern port city of Douala. Yaou passed her baccalaureate examinations in 1971. Once she had completed her secondary education, Yaou studied economics at the University of Rouen in France. Yaou received her undergraduate degree in economics in 1975. From 1975 to 1979, Yaou enrolled at Georgetown University and Claremont Graduate School in the United States, where she eventually earned a master’s degree in business administration.

Yaou returned to her homeland and was hired almost immediately by the Société Nationale des Investissements SNI This parastatal organization served to promote economic development Back again in Cameroon she was chosen to become the Minister of Women s Affairs ...