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Elaine Windrich

Angolan military leader, was born in Munhango in the central highlands of Angola in 1934, among the country’s largest ethnic minority, the Ovimbundu. His father, Lot, was a station master on the Benguela railway, which ran across Angola from Northern Rhodesia and the Congo to the ports on the west coast. In a society based upon Portugal’s color bar, this was an important position for an African, and it enabled him to send his son Jonas to a Portuguese secondary school in Luanda.

Since Savimbi was a highly intelligent student and had the command of several European languages, he was awarded a scholarship to study medicine in Lisbon. However, his education was interrupted by the harassment from the notorious Portuguese secret police, which spied upon students from the colonies to prevent them from engaging in political activities.

Fleeing from this harassment in 1958 Savimbi moved on to Switzerland ...


Eric Young

Jonas Savimbi was born in Munhango, Angola, then a Portuguese colony. The son of a railway worker, Savimbi attended Protestant mission schools until he won a scholarship to study in Portugal. Already involved in Angolan nationalist politics, Savimbi was detained by Portuguese police three times before he fled to Switzerland, where, in 1965, he graduated from Lausanne University with honors in political and juridical sciences (although he would often refer to himself as a doctor). While he was a university student, Savimbi contacted the Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA), but ultimately decided to join the nationalist Union of Angolan People (UPA), instead. As secretary-general of the UPA, Savimbi worked to gain recognition for the movement and to unite the movement with others, ultimately helping to form the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA).

Savimbi a member of the Ovimbundu ethnic group soon became disenchanted with ...


Mohammed Hassen Ali

Ethiopian military officer of Oromo origin, was born in Salale, Shewa province, to a deeply religious family. He received Ethiopian Orthodox Church education. His father, Birru, was killed by poison gas while fighting against the invading Italian forces in 1935. Heartbroken, Taddese’s mother died just three months after her husband’s death.

Taddese joined his uncle, Beka, who was one of the resistance leaders in Shewa province. Taddese was captured together with many others by the Italian forces and was sentenced for the first time to life imprisonment with hard labor in Mogadisho. The outbreak of World War II shortened Taddese’s misery and changed the course of his life. When the British captured Mogadisho in 1940, Taddese was freed and recruited into the British forces. He was given military training in Kenya and returned to Ethiopia in 1941. In 1942 Taddese was promoted to the rank of ...