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Kristopher Cote

public servant, politician, and businessman in present-day Uganda, was born in the Kingdom of Buganda in 1894. His father, Thomas Ssemukasa, was a subcounty chief and general of Kabaka (King) Mwanga’s army. His name, which was not a customary clan name, means “it is better to die on the battlefield than to die of a natural death.” He was educated at an elite private school, King’s College in Buddo, and at Sheffield College in England. Upon his return to Uganda he was a clerk in the protectorate government, but soon he became an outspoken politician and businessman who challenged the application of British administration in Uganda.

After several years of service to the protectorate government, Baamuta was appointed secretary of the Lukiiko (the Bugandan parliament). He was a vociferous defender of the rights afforded to the Buganda Kingdom under the terms of the Uganda Agreement (1900 which ...


Nigerian general, military ruler, and businessman was born on 17 August 1941 in Minna, Nigeria, to Muhamadu, a teacher, and his wife, Aishatu. After a childhood in Minna, Babangida joined the Nigerian military in 1962 and graduated from the Military Forces Training College in Kaduna in 1963. He was then sent to the Indian Military Academy in 1964 and to the British Royal Armoured Center in 1966 before returning to Nigeria in 1968, where he served as a battalion captain and was wounded in 1969 at Uzuakoli.

After the end of the Biafran civil war in 1970, Babangida was promoted to major and taught at the Nigerian Defence Academy. In 1972, he was sent to the US Army Armor School at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and upon his return was made a regimental commander in 1973. In 1975 General Murtala Muhammed led a coup against ...


Hassoum Ceesay

district colonial chief and master farmer, was born in Njau Village, in the Upper Saloum District of present-day Gambia in 1890. His name is also spelled Sise or Sisi. He was among the few formally educated Gambian colonial chiefs, having attended the prestigious Mohammedan School in Bathurst (now Banjul) in the 1910s before working as an interpreter for the Traveling Commissioner North Bank Province. Interpreters were central to the running of the colonial machinery. As the intermediaries between the local people who could not speak English and colonial officials, they wielded influence because of their perceived proximity to the colonial powers. European officials also did not always trust the interpreters, who were occasionally sacked or jailed for suspected treachery.

Unlike the French colonizers who completely replaced local chiefs with French officials the British in West Africa administered their colonies through preexisting traditional authorities and used local customary institutions ...


Kenneth P. Vickery

trade unionist, politician, and second president of independent Zambia (1991–2002), was born Frederick Jacob Titus Chiluba in April 1943 In Chiluba s own book he states that he was born to Titus Chiluba Nkonde and Diana Kaimba in Kitwe on the Zambian Copperbelt His family background has been challenged even legally by his political opponents this came in response to the Chiluba government s efforts to require that presidential candidates and their parents be Zambian born moves largely seen as targeting Chiluba s rival and predecessor as president Kenneth Kaunda whose parents came from Malawi In terms of his own upbringing however Chiluba is unquestionably a product of the Copperbelt one of Africa s oldest and largest urban industrial regions His early formal education was spotty and incomplete though he later successfully pursued correspondence courses Chiluba has married three times most recently to Regina Mwanza a prominent leader in ...


Elsie A. Okobi

merchant and king of Opobo, was born in the village of Umuduruoha in the densely populated Igbo heartland of eastern Nigeria (now in Imo State). He was born into the Isu clan, and his father, Ozurumba, was most likely a farmer who supplemented that work by trading or with a skilled profession such as blacksmithing. His mother’s name was Uru. At the approximate age of twelve, Jaja was sent to live with relatives in Nkwerre, from where he was kidnapped and sold into slavery. From Nkwerre he was brought to Akwete and sold to a trader named Odiari from the Royal Canoe House of Opobo. (Canoe houses had begun in the delta as trading and fighting communities capable of manning and maintaining a war canoe; the trading center city-states of the eastern delta—Brass, Nembe, Bonny—each consisted of several organized canoe houses.)

Given the name Jubo Jubogha Jaja stayed with his ...


Eric Young

Sylvie Kinigi rose to prominence as a commercial banker and senior officer of Burundi's structural adjustment program. After Melchior Ndadaye, an ethnic Hutu, was elected to the presidency in June 1993, he appointed Kinigi, a Tutsi married to a Hutu, prime minister in an act of national reconciliation and as part of a policy of appointing women to top posts. Kinigi and Agathe Uwilingiyimana, the premier of neighboring Rwanda, served simultaneously as the first female prime ministers in Africa. Kinigi, a member of the former ruling Union for National Progress (UPRONA) Party, was a political moderate, but her leadership was quickly eclipsed by events beyond her control.

In October 1993 after a military coup killed President Ndadaye and threw Burundi into violence Kinigi sought asylum in the French embassy Her appeals for international support convinced the military to return to its barracks allowing Kinigi to ...


Godfrey Muriuki

Kikuyu chief in Kenya, was probably born in 1865 at Kiria in Kandara, Murang’a, Kenya. His father was Wanugu wa Gathirimu. Thus, originally he was known as son of Wanugu, son of a monkey. This became the butt of cruel and humiliating jokes, which forced him to adopt his grandfather’s name, Gathirimu. He is alleged to have been disowned by his family due to his waywardness, particularly in making too many girls pregnant and thereby forcing his relatives to pay unbearable compensation. He fled to Kiambu where he attached himself to a distant relative, Waiyaki wa Hinga, a prominent and wealthy elder. Waiyaki made him a njaguti, servant. He was, therefore, a poor man who lived by sometimes hunting wild animals, a practice that was frowned upon by the Kikuyu.

However the arrival of the Imperial British East Africa Company IBEACo changed his fortunes He offered his services to ...


James Giblin

also known as Muhina Kisabengo Kingo was prominent in the political and commercial life of eastern Tanzania during the middle decades of the nineteenth century The settlement that he established became an important market center of political power and home to several thousand residents In the twentieth century it grew into the major city of Morogoro Situated on the primary trade route between the Indian Ocean and eastern Africa s Great Lakes it was visited by numerous European travelers who wrote admiringly about its stone fortifications finely wrought wooden gates spaciousness and good order In this way Kisabengo came to the attention of a worldwide reading audience Kisabengo s successor was Kingo a son by his wife Kitukira Because Kingo was very young when his father died Morogoro was ruled in the 1870s by Simbamwene a formidable leader and daughter by another wife Makombera Kingo died shortly after assuming office ...


Susan Shepler

Sierra Leone's fourth elected president and a former insurance company boss, was born in Makeni, Bombali District, Northern Sierra Leone, 2 October 1953. His father, Sylvanus Fornah Koroma, commonly known as “Teacher,” was of Loko and Temne ethnicity, and served as a bible teacher at the Wesleyan Church in Makeni for many years. He was a strong supporter of Siaka Probyn Stevens's presidency and of the All People's Congress (APC) political party. His mother, Alice Rosaline Koroma (1932–2012) was ethnically Limba, and spent her career as a primary school teacher in Makeni. Madam Koroma served in the Makeni City Council in the 1960s, also as a member of the All People's Congress (APC).

Koroma attended the Sierra Leone Church Primary School in Makeni, and the Government Secondary School in Magburaka. In 1976 Koroma graduated from Fourah Bay College University of Sierra Leone with a degree ...



J. C. Winter

mangi (king) of Mochi (in local pronunciation, “Moshi” in Swahili-European tradition but officially known since 1919 as “Old Moshi” after “Moshi” had become the name of the new town nearby) from 1864 to 1891, in west-central Chagga, Kilimanjaro (in present-day in Tanzania), also known by the name Rindi, was famous for having twice risen from leader of an insignificant realm to the ruler of more than three-quarters of Chagga, the largest area of Chagga any precolonial mangi ever ruled. He achieved this through his charisma and rationalism as a political and military leader, the timely appropriation and use of his commercial assets, his diplomatic acumen, and his clever public relations management.

Mandara (or Makindara or Kimandara), meaning “here and there,” was the circumcision name he took in 1858 in memory of his childhood when he had to hide every night in a different supporter s home in order ...


J. C. Winter

mangi (king) of Marangu in eastern Central Chagga, Kilimanjaro (in present-day Tanzania), from 1883 to 1912, has become known as Marealle I. The name Marealle, a Swahili-German corruption of the original “Mlyelyari,” means “he who forces to give up.” Ndeghoruo translates as “I punished” or “I was punished,” and Kilamia translates as “conquest.” Marealle’s father Mangi Ndealio died in 1857 before his son was born, and his grandmother Msanya assumed the regency until 1864, when she was unseated by an elder cousin of Marealle’s, and with the boy took asylum in Mamba. Until 1883 this cousin and two others fought each other over the throne, while Mangi Rindi of Mochi wrested the suzerainty over Marangu from Mangi Ngaluma of Kibosho, holding it until the Battle of Useri in 1878. Meanwhile, Marealle continued to live as an exile.

Eventually Marealle appeared in Kibosho and attracted the attention and ...


Gerhard Seibert

businessman and president of São Tomé and Príncipe, was born on 21 March 1942 in the Água Telha neighborhood of Madalena on São Tomé. The son of a Portuguese father and a Santomean mother, he attended primary and part of secondary school in São Tomé. At the age of 12, he continued his secondary education in Portugal. In 1965 he completed his military service in the Portuguese colonial army in Mozambique. From 1967 to 1968, he worked for the Portuguese company Rádio Marconi. Thereafter, he consecutively studied psychology at the Higher Institute of Applied Psychology in Lisbon and the Faculty of Human Sciences of the Université Libre of Brussels, Belgium, though without finishing the course. In March 1972 he married Mariam Lampert, a faculty colleague. From 1972 to 1975, Menezes worked in Brussels for five different international companies, while also receiving practical training for a period in 1973 ...



Bizeck Jube Phiri

paramount chief of the Ngoni (in present-day Zambia), was the eldest son of Zwangendaba (Zongendaba); his mother was Nshlanze Sosera Ngumayo. It was during the migration of the Ngoni northward around 1830 that Ntutu Mpezeni was born. Ntutu Mpezeni was about nine years old when the Ngoni crossed the Zambezi River. Indunas are in agreement that he was carried across the Zambezi as was befitting of a paramount chief’s heir. Legend also has it that prior to crossing the Zambezi River, Zwangendaba had given Mpezeni a small shield and an assegai and that he had killed his first duiker buck. Zwangendaba continued his wandering until his death in 1945, after which Ntutu Mpezeni took over as leader of the Ngoni. Mpezeni led the group from Fipa country into what is now the Chipata district of Zambia.

Before leaving the land of the Bemba people Mpezeni captured Chanda Mukulu sister ...



Elizabeth Heath

Born with the name of Ngelengwa in Tanzania, Msiri was the son of a Sumbwa chief and trader. Msiri started his career on the trade routes forged by his father between East and Central Africa. In 1856 he negotiated with Mwata Kazembe, chief of the Lunda empire, for the right to settle and trade in south Katanga.

There Msiri used alliances with local ruling families and firearms acquired from traders to build his own empire, the Yeke or Garenganze. By 1870 Msiri’s empire extended throughout Katanga. He also built his trade networks by forging ties with Tippu Tip, a trader of the Swahili people. He forged ties with many other East African merchants as well. With these traders he exported slaves and copper, also working in the Ivory Trade, in return for cloth and firearms.

In 1880 after the death of his father Msiri proclaimed himself mwami or king ...


Owen J. M. Kalinga

businessman, politician, and president of the Republic of Malawi from 1994 to 2004, was born Elson Bakili Muluzi on 17 March 1943 in Kapoloma Village, Machinga district, one of the predominantly Muslim areas of Malawi. He went to local schools, and after receiving his primary school certificate, he became a clerk in the colonial civil service. Like many of his generation, he was active in nationalist politics, and at the end of British rule in the early 1960s, he joined the newly formed Malawi Young Pioneers, rose in its ranks, and was sent by the organization to Thirsted Technical College, Denmark, to train as a technical instructor. He also studied briefly at Huddersfield Technical College in England. After this, he returned to teach at Nasawa Technical College, Magomero, the main training base of the Malawi Young Pioneers, rising in 1973 to the position of principal.

In 1975 Muluzi ...


Jeremy Rich

Congolese political leader, was born on 31 December 1938 in the small village of Ombele, near Owando (Fort-Rousset under French rule) in the northern region of the Republic of Congo. His father was Dominique Osséré m’Opomo and his mother was Antoinette Mboualé-Abemba. His father was a relative of the chief of the village and a veteran of the French army. Ngouabi attended primary school in Owando from 1947 to 1953. He enrolled on 14 September 1953 at the General Leclerc school for the children of veterans located in Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of the Congo. Ngouabi graduated and enrolled in the French military in 1957.

First stationed at the massive French military base in Bouar now in the Central African Republic Ngouabi soon was deployed and saw military action Instead of serving in the French colonial effort in Algeria like many of his compatriots Ngouabi was transferred ...


Trevor Hall

was a ship owner and discoverer, colonizer, and governor of the Portuguese Cape Verde Islands off the Guinea coast (now known as Senegal). Born into a prominent family of cartographers in Genoa, de Noli played an important role in the fifteenth-century slave trade when he sailed to West Africa and transported Africans to Portugal as slaves. There is no information about his marriage; however, he had a daughter, the Portuguese noblewoman Branca de Aguiar. She inherited his Cape Verde governorship in 1497, when she married the Portuguese nobleman Jorge Correa de Sousa. Other relatives were his younger brother Bartholomeu and nephew Raphael de Noli, who like Antonio were ship captains.

Just before 1460 the three de Noli captains sailed their ships from the Mediterranean to Portugal where Prince Henry the Navigator hired Antonio to deliver horses to West Africa The Christian Prince Henry had formed a military alliance ...


politician and president of Equatorial Guinea, was born on 5 June 1942 to a Fang-speaking family in the village of Acoa-Kam in Spanish Guinea (now Equatorial Guinea) Like many other Fang people living near the border between Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, Obiang Nguema’s parents were born in northern Gabon. They chose to flee into Spanish Guinea to escape paying poll taxes and perhaps also to take advantage of the lower prices for coffee and cocoa crops in Spanish territory. Obiang Nguema was the third son of ten brothers. He attended Catholic primary schools in Mengomo and then went to secondary school in Bata, the provincial capital of the mainland enclave of Rio Muni. In the early 1960s, Obiang Nguema joined the colonial military. As the Spanish government began to implement reforms in 1963 to prepare for independence Obiang received authorization to study at a military academy in Zaragosa Spain ...



Gloria Chuku

Nigerian princess, entrepreneur, and Omu (female monarch), was born Okwei Afubeho in 1872 in the trading town of Osomari located on the lower Niger River (present-day Nigeria). Her father, Osuna Afubeho, was a famous warrior and wealthy prince of Osomari who had several hundred slaves, who manned his trading and war canoes. Okwei’s grandfather, Nzedegwu, was the Atamanya (king) of Osomari, who signed trading agreements with the British in 1854 and invited the Roman Catholic mission to his town in 1860. Her maternal grandfather, Obi Aje, was one of the sons of the famous Obi Ossai, the Aboh king, who received and signed trading agreements with European traders in the 1830s.

Okwei s father was a polygynist with many children but she was the only child of her mother At the age of 9 Okwei became an apprentice to a maternal aunt who was a trader in the Igala ...


Cyril Daddieh

an economist and international banker-turned-politician in Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), was born in Dimbokro on 1 January 1942. This birthplace and his subsequent claim to Ivoirian nationality is highly contested in Abidjan, the Ivoirian commercial capital. He attended secondary school in Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso) and then proceeded to the University of Pennsylvania on a Fulbright scholarship as a national of Burkina Faso. He received his bachelor’s degree (BA) in mathematics, followed by an MA and a PhD in economics, awarded in 1967 and 1972. respectively.

“ADO,” as Ouattara is popularly known to his supporters, has had an illustrious career in international banking and finance spanning nearly four decades. He first joined the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in April 1968 as chief economist Ouattara left five years later to join the Central Bank of West African States BCEAO as head of mission in Paris where he ...