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Article

Cajetan N. Iheka

Nigerian entrepreneur, philanthropist, politician, and publisher, was born on 24 August 1937 in the southwestern town of Egba, Abeokuta, in the present-day Ogun State, to Alhaji Salawu Adelekan Akanni Abiola and Zeliat Wuraola Ayinke Abiola (née Kassim). Although Abiola was the twenty-third child of his parents, he was their first surviving child as his older siblings had died at infancy or were stillborn. Because of several deaths that had plagued the family, Abiola was named “Kashimawo,” meaning “Let us wait and see.” It was not until his fifteenth birthday that his parents gave him a regular name, Moshood, having been convinced that the young Abiola had come to stay.

Although he was born and raised in a poor family the young Abiola exhibited some entrepreneurial tendencies when he started gathering and selling firewood at the tender age of nine With the proceeds from his business he was able to support ...

Article

Mpalive Msiska

Nigerian novelist, was born Albert Chinualumogu Achebe on 15 November 1930 at Saint Simon’s Church, Nneobi, near Ogidi, in British colonial Nigeria. His father, Isaiah Okafo Achebe, was a teacher and evangelist and his mother, Janet Anaenechi Iloeghunam, was from the Awka area of eastern Nigeria. Until the age of five, Achebe was brought up at a church school, where his father taught. When his father went into semiretirement in 1935 in Ogidi, Achebe became a child of two worlds, the modern world and the world of indigenous tradition. He began primary school at Saint Philip’s Central School at Akpakaogwe, Ogidi, moving on to Nekede Central School near Owerri in 1942. Achebe developed into a studious young man, passing entrance examinations for two prestigious secondary schools.

It was at Government College Umuahia which had a good library and extremely able and dedicated teachers that Achebe cultivated his love of ...

Article

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a fatal disease caused by the slow-acting human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The virus multiplies in the body until it causes immune system damage, leading to diseases of the AIDS syndrome. HIV emerged in Africa in the 1960s and traveled to the United States and Europe the following decade. In the 1980s it spread silently across the globe until it became pandemic, or widespread. Some areas of the world were already significantly affected by AIDS, while in others the epidemic was just beginning. The virus is transmitted mainly via sexual fluids, but also by blood, from mother to child in the womb, and during delivery or breast-feeding. AIDS first was identified in the United States and France in 1981, principally among homosexual men. Then in 1982 and 1983 heterosexual Africans also were diagnosed Today AIDS poses a threat to the survival of millions especially ...

Article

Aaron Myers

During the 1960s and 1970s, influenced by the Civil Rights and Black Power movements in the United States and nationalist movements in Africa, Afro-Brazilians experienced a surge in black pride. This heightened black consciousness was also prompted by denouncements of racism and praises to “Mother Africa” heard in Jamaican Reggae, increasingly popular in Brazil during the 1970s. As a result, black Brazilians, especially those in cities such as Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Salvador, reaffirmed their connection with Africa and became more vocal about problems facing their community, particularly racial discrimination. This process was accelerated by the abertura (opening)—the gradual return to democratic rule that began in 1979 and loosened restrictions on free speech. In Salvador, this newfound black pride reinvigorated the old and waning afoxés and gave birth to a new type of black Carnival organization, the bloco Afro.

Afoxés emerged in the late ...

Article

Walter Clarke

nationalist leader and first prime minister of independent Djibouti, was born in the Mabla mountain area north of Obock, Afar. Ahmed Dini Ahmed was fired by an intense sense of social justice and fairness and worked at one time or another with all of Djibouti’s early preindependence leaders with the objective of facilitating an independent government in which all ethnic groups would work together for the betterment of all citizens. The failure of his close friendship with Hassan Gouled Aptidon immediately after independence was a personal blow to both of them, but was probably inevitable in two such committed but divergent individuals. Ahmed Dini had a political career roughly parallel to that of Hassan Gouled. He completed his primary school in Djibouti and then worked as a nurse’s aide. He became interested in politics at a young age. In 1959 after Gouled had been elected to the French National ...

Article

Baqi<ayn>e Bedawi Muhammad

Sudanese educator and human rights activist for women’s rights and an advocate for freedom and democracy, was born on 30 May 1935 in Omdurman one of three cities that constitute the capital of Sudan Khartoum Khartoum North and Omdurman Her parents were originally from the Nubian region in northern Sudan Ahmed was the only female among her three siblings She grew up in an environment that helped shape her future life as a liberal and progressive individual Her father Ibrahim Ahmed was an engineer who worked as a teacher in Gordon Memorial College Sudan He played an active role in Sudan s independence movement and served as the first Sudanese Deputy to the Vice Chancellor of the University of Khartoum the first chairman of the University of Khartoum Senate a member of the Executive Council the first Sudanese Parliament and founder and president of Mutamar a l Khiregeen Graduates ...

Article

Ari Nave

Self-titled “His Excellency President for Life Field Marshal Al Hadji Dr. Idi Amin, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Sea and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular,” Idi Amin also made a name for himself as one of modern Africa's most tyrannical and brutal rulers. A member of the Kakwa ethnic group, Idi Amin was born to Muslim parents near Koboko in northern Uganda when that part of Africa was under British control. After receiving a missionary school education, Amin joined the King's African Rifles (KAR), the African unit of the British Armed Forces, in 1946. He served in Somalia, Uganda, and Kenya while British authorities there suppressed an African uprising called the Mau Mau rebellion earning a reputation as a skilled and eager soldier But early in his career ...

Article

Nelson Kasfir

military officer and President of Uganda from 1971 to 1979, was probably born in Koboko district near the Sudanese border in northwestern Uganda. Few facts about his parents, his birth date, or his upbringing can be confirmed. His mother, who was Lugbara and originally Christian, separated from his father—who was Kakwa, Muslim, and possibly a convert from Christianity—shortly after his birth and raised Amin in southern Uganda.

As a Muslim belonging to both the Kakwa and the Nubian ethnic communities, Amin received little formal education and had halting command of several languages, including Swahili and English. He practiced polygamy and married at least six women: Malyamu Kibedi and Kay Adroa (both Christians prior to marriage) in late 1966 and Nora (her full name cannot be confirmed), a Langi, in 1967. He divorced all three, according to a Radio Uganda announcement on 26 March 1974 He married Nalongo ...

Article

Katya Leney-Hall

Ghanaian Nobel Laureate and United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, was born in Kumasi in what was then the British Gold Coast colony. Along with his twin sister Efua Atta, he was born to Rose Annan, a Fante, and Henry Reginald Annan, an Ashanti/Fante. Both parents were Christian and descendants of chiefs. Annan’s father was a commissioner of the Ashanti region and an employee of the United Africa Company, who rose through the ranks to become its director. After his retirement, Henry Reginald Annan also became president of the Ghana International Bank.

Ghana’s declaration of independence in 1957 found Kofi Annan in Cape Coast, finishing his secondary schooling at Mfantsipim, the Methodist boarding school. The following year, he began his studies in Economics at the Kumasi College of Science and Technology, completing his degree in the United States at Macalester College, in St. Paul, Minnesota (1961 From there he moved ...

Article

Peter Limb

The ultraconservative National Party, espousing a platform of intensified racism based on the policy of apartheid (literally “apartness” or “separation” in Afrikaans), won the 1948 South African election. This heralded an era of unprecedented organized racial discrimination and denial of human rights to Africans and other black people that lasted until 1994, the effects of which persist today. Apartheid provoked determined and wide-ranging resistance by Africans and their allies, marking one of the most potent expressions of African protest thought of the twentieth century.

The precise origins and direction of apartheid remain contested Some revisionist historians suggest it was less organized and purposeful than previously thought more the result of ad hoc state responses to growing crises Some emphasize apartheid s economic origins such as how job competition spurred by mechanization stimulated racist reaction among white employees Many argue that apartheid benefited capitalism by guaranteeing a steady flow of ...

Article

Alonford James Robinson

The term apartheid (Afrikaans for “apartness”) was coined in the 1930s and used as a political slogan of the National Party in the early 1940s, but the practice of segregation in South Africa extends to the beginning of white settlement in South Africa in 1652. After the Afrikaner-dominated National Party came to power in 1948, regionally varied practices of racial segregation were intensified and made into a uniform set of national laws. Scholars disagree over why apartheid was adopted in South Africa. Some argue that apartheid was at its root a policy that served businesses by creating a large pool of low-cost labor. Other scholars dispute this, claiming that apartheid was adopted because of deep racism among most white South Africans and that the policy actually damaged the economy.

Article

Walter Clarke

Somali Issa Abgal Mamassan, president of the Republic of Djibouti (1977–1999), was born on 15 October 1919 in the village of Garissa in present-day Somaliland. His parents were nomads from the Loyada area, which is located at the frontier with the former British Somaliland. According to his official biography, he left the nomadic life as a young man, and “on his own,” he was admitted to a Roman Catholic mission school in Djibouti, where he graduated from the primary school. As a young man, he earned his living doing odd jobs in the port and later taught in a primary school.

However, Hassan Gouled’s true love was politics. In 1946 he joined the Club de la Jeunesse Somali et Dankali a political group founded by Mahamoud Harbi His philosophical differences with Harbi quickly became evident He was elected representative in the Territorial Council in which he served ...

Article

Matti Steinberg

Palestinian leader, was born in Cairo, Egypt, on 24 August 1929 to ʿAbd al-Raʾuf, his father, and Zahawa Abu-Saud, his mother, who had emigrated from Palestine in 1927 Arafat himself was mysterious about his birthplace sometimes he would say I was not born before I became Abu ʿAmmar and sometimes he insisted on being born in Old Jerusalem next to the al Haram al Sharif the Islamic sacred site this version was adopted by official publications and Web sites of Fatah Behind this obscurity probably lay the uneasiness of Arafat as the leader of the Palestinian national movement to acknowledge that he had not been born in Palestine and that his Palestinian parents had emigrated voluntarily out of personal and not national reasons from Palestine seeking a better living His full name is Muhammad ʿAbd al Rahman ʿAbd al Raʾuf Arafat al Qudwa al Husayni During the early 1950s ...

Article

Ana Luiza Libânio

was born Maria Olívia Araújo on 14 November 1973 in São Paulo, Brazil. The daughter of a housekeeper and a working-class father, Araújo worked as a shop and medical clinic attendant and an office assistant, among other jobs, before succeeding as an actress, her dream career since the age of 7.

Her life-changing moment arrived in 2001, when she auditioned for a part in Domésticas (2001), a film by Fernando Meirelles and Nando Olival, and was offered the lead role. As the protagonist Quitéria, a domestic servant, Olívia Araújo received Best Actress awards at the Recife Cinema Festival (supported by the Brazilian Ministry of Culture) and the Cine Ceará (an Ibero-American film festival). One year later, she starred in Meirelles’s Cidade de Deus (City of God, 2002 an Oscar nominated breakthrough hit for Brazilian cinema set in a violent neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro ...

Article

Ana Luiza Libânio

was born Taís Bianca Gama de Araújo on 25 November 1978 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She is the younger of the two daughters of Ademir de Araújo, an economist, and Mercedes de Araújo, a schoolteacher. During her childhood and adolescence, Araújo attended private schools in Rio de Janeiro, and she graduated with a degree in journalism from Universidade Estácio de Sá. She also studied English and Spanish, practiced ballet and gymnastics, and took drama classes. Her career in the amateur theater began at age 11, with performances in the Os Bananas and Grupo Procênio theater companies. As a teen, she worked with the actor Reynaldo Gianecchini, a future costar on Brazilian television.

With a rich educational background Araújo had many career options and planned to be either a dentist or a diplomat but she instead dedicated herself to modeling Soon after her career began she was modeling for international ...

Article

was born on 15 July 1953 in Port Salut, a small town in the Southern Department of Haiti, to Joseph Aristide and Marie Aristide (née Pierre-Louis), both smallholder farmers. Joseph Aristide passed away three months after Jean-Bertrand’s birth, leaving him to the care of his mother and extended family. Soon thereafter, Marie Aristide moved with the then 3-year-old Jean-Bertrand to Port-au-Prince.

He initially studied at a primary school run by the Salesians of Don Bosco, a French Catholic order. Aristide’s devotion to the poor and victimized crystallized in these urban settings, where the widespread conditions of poverty and frequent public acts of violence committed by the Tonton Macoutes, the paramilitary enforcers of the dictators Francois Duvalier and Jean-Claude Duvalier (1957–1986), marked him deeply.

Having completed his primary studies, Aristide elected to join the Catholic priesthood. He entered the Salesian seminary in Cap-Haïtien, rising to novitiate in 1974 ...

Article

Aaron Pride

was born on 6 March 1966 in Kingston, Jamaica. He spent his early life in Jamaica with his extended family after his mother left her children in the care of relatives to seek work in the United States; Maurice eventually joined her there when he was 12. In his mother’s absence, Ashley’s grandmother provided a home for him and his siblings and instilled in them an appreciation for hard work and education. She had been a teacher and encouraged her grandchildren to pursue an education. When his family did resettle in New York in 1978 Ashley learned several board games including chess In his youth he played in Prospect Park in Brooklyn and immersed himself in the literature on the game He read books on renowned world chess champions like the nineteenth century American Paul Morphy and studied strategy and tactics Ashley s commitment to the game and persistence ...

Article

Hope Munro Smith

was born on 27 April 1913 or 1919 (date of birth uncertain) in Tunapuna, Trinidad, to middle class parents. Her father, Frederick Monroe Atwell, was a pharmacist, and her mother, Sarah Elizabeth Atwell, was a district nurse.

Like many middle-class children at the time, Winifred began piano lessons at a young age. Since her parents owned a successful pharmacy, it was expected that Atwell and her siblings would assist in the family business. However, Winifred continued to pursue music even as she trained as a pharmacist. She gave piano lessons, and was frequently asked to perform popular tunes in various settings. It was for a series of shows for the Servicemen’s Club at the air base in Piarco that she composed her first original tune, “Piarco Boogie,” which she later renamed “Five Finger Boogie.” In 1942 Atwell migrated to New York where she became a student of the Russian ...

Article

Oluwatoyin Babatunde Oduntan

Nigerian trade unionist, nationalist, and political leader, was born in Ikenne, Western Nigeria on 6 March 1909. He survived a difficult childhood following the death of his father in 1920 and the breakup of his family and completed schooling by fending for himself. Awolowo worked as a house-help, fetched firewood for sale, apprenticed as a letter writer, and worked as a typist and clerk, teacher, news reporter, contractor, transporter, and produce buyer on the way to studying for a law degree at the University of London between 1944 and 1946. Through this harsh experience, he developed self-reliance and confidence, a fearless and defiant attitude to authority, as well as skills as a community and labor organizer, qualities that were to serve him in good stead as he thrust into the stormy politics of colonial Nigeria.

The 1930s mark the high point of colonial rule in Nigeria British ...

Article

Jennifer Carolina Gómez Menjívar

was born on 7 February 1954 in Lima, Peru. She was raised by her maternal grandmother, who taught her to sing when she was 3 and nurtured her dreams of becoming an artist from an early age, encouraging her to perform at school events as well as on children’s programs on radio and television. Born María Angélica Ayllón Urbina, the artist adopted her grandmother’s name as her stage name upon launching her solo career. Cherished by fans on two continents, Ayllón has released over thirty albums and has become a successful artist with a solid foundation in Peruvian “Creole” and Afro-Peruvian musical styles.

Ayllón began performing in the early 1970s in commercial venues in Lima that had a reputation for showcasing Creole music. She began her career alongside notable artists, and in 1973 she became the lead singer of Los Kipus a musical trio They toured Peru performed for ...