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Ralph A. Austen

paramount chief and anticolonial protest leader in present-day Cameroon, was born in Douala, Cameroon, the eldest son of chief Manga Ndumbe Bell (ruled 1897–1908). Duala Manga is best remembered for a struggle against the racist policies of the German rulers of Cameroon, who executed him on 8 August 1914. Beyond this dramatic conclusion to Duala Manga’s life lay a precolonial heritage of international commerce by the Duala people, an embattled but—until its last years— successful adaptation to German rule, and an afterlife as a nationalist and ethnic icon.

Duala Manga was descended from a line of merchant rulers who dominated trade between European Atlantic shippers and the Cameroon hinterland from the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries The Duala inhabitants of what eventually became the city of Douala at the estuary of the Wouri River lived in a group of mutually independent settlements of whom the most prominent were ...

Article

legendary founder of the Chadian kingdom of Baguirmi, was apparently born in the early sixteenth century. Given the wealth of legends about his life and the lack of documentary evidence, it may be that stories involving Dala Birni Bisse may refer to events linked to several early mbang kings of Baguirmi Many oral traditions collected about Dala Birni Bisse claim that his grandfather ʿAbd al Tukruru was the great grandson of ʿAli son in law of the prophet Muhammad Supposedly ʿAbd al Tukruru s father Muhammad Baguirmi was a black child of two Arabian parents who was nearly killed by his angry relatives ʿAbd al Tukruru advised his twelve sons and twelve of their friends to leave Yemen and establish a kingdom somewhere to the west They brought with them bellows made of stone from the holy city of Medina three drums three trumpets and three lances carried by ...

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Stephen J. Rockel

, Tanzanian leader, was mtemi (chief) of Unyanyembe, the most important of the nineteenth-century Nyamwezi chiefdoms in central Tanzania before the rise of Mirambo’s empire. Unyanyembe, with its rapidly growing town of Tabora, was to become one of the major commercial centers in East Africa during a period of rapid economic growth based on long-distance caravan trade.

In the early nineteenth century Unyanyembe was still a small chiefdom, and Tabora did not yet exist. Around 1840 Fundikira’s father, Swetu, son of Sambwe, from the Nyangwila section of the Kimbu (a related ethnic group who are southern neighbors of the Nyamwezi) moved with his people to the northwest and annexed the area around what was to become Tabora, setting up his capital at Itetemia. Thus the ruling house in Unyanyembe retained a strong Kimbu identity, and Kimbu rituals dominated.

Swetu died in the early 1840s just as a great expansion in ...

Article

Born in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Albert John Luthuli was educated at the mission school in which he later taught (1921–1936). The son of well-respected Zulu parents, Luthuli was elected chief of the Zulu Abasemakholweni ethnic group in Groutville in 1936. He joined the African National Congress, a black political group, in 1946 and took an increasingly active role in campaigns to abolish Apartheid, the system of racial segregation in South Africa. In 1952 he was removed as chief by the South African government, which opposed his activities, and was forbidden to enter major South African cities and towns for one year. That same year he was elected president-general of the African National Congress. Because of his continued political activities, he was restricted to his farm in Groutville for two years in 1953, and again in 1959 for five years For ...

Article

Dorothy C. Woodson

South African teacher, Zulu chief, political leader, and Nobel Peace Prize winner, was born in Rhodesia around 1898 of South African (Zulu) parentage. His mother, Mtonya Gumede, was born and raised in the Royal Kraal of Cetshewayo, the Zulu king. His father, John Luthuli, was the elected chief of Groutville, home of the Umvoti Mission, an American Board of Commissioners station near Stanger, north of Durban, in what is now Kwa-Zulu Natal. He attended various local schools and was later awarded a two-year teacher-training scholarship at Adams College. Luthuli remained at Adams as a teacher, becoming one of only two African teachers at the school, the other being Z. K. Matthews (1901–1968). He married Nokukhanya Bhengu in 1927, and they had seven children.

In 1936 Luthuli reluctantly left Adams College and returned to Groutville after being elected to the chieftainship of the Umvoti Mission Reserve during which time he ...

Article

Peter Limb

Albert John (“Mvumbi”) Lutuli (1898–1967) was a distinguished South African political leader who led opposition to apartheid in the 1950s and early 1960s. He was President of the African National Congress (ANC), a Zulu chief, teacher, and the first African awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. His political thought combined Christianity, African nationalism, and liberalism in a form typical of the ANC of the time.

Lutuli was born in 1898 to Zulu parents in Bulawayo in what is now Zimbabwe but moved back to South Africa where he received a mission education at Groutville School and Ohlange Institute near Durban Natal The young Lutuli soon became imbued with the Christian ethics that would guide his life His early years were also marked by commitment to the teaching discipline and his love of Zulu culture and soccer After qualifying as an elementary school teacher from Edendale Methodist ...

Article

folk artist, community activist, and Mardi Gras Indian leader, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of Alfred Montana, “Big Chief” of the Yellow Pocahontas, a leading Mardi Gras Indian organization, and Alice Herrere Montana, both natives of New Orleans. When he was young, one of his cousins nicknamed him Tootie, and the name stuck. Masking as Mardi Gras Indians ran deep in the Montana family. Tootie was a third-generation black Indian leader. His great-uncle Becate Batiste was the legendary founding Big Chief of the Creole Wild West, the city's first and oldest masking Indian society; his father Alfred Montana was a famous leader of the Yellow Pocahontas, which was an offshoot of the Creole Wild West; but Tootie eventually surpassed both by far in terms of craftsmanship, influence, and fame.

The Mardi Gras Indian culture developed as an expression of black resistance ...

Article

Ebenezer Ayesu

chief (traditional ruler), economist, business leader, university administrator, and philanthropist, was born Emmanuel Noi Omaboe on 29 October 1930 in Amanokrom, Akuapem in the eastern region of Ghana. His parents were Madam Mary Opibea Awuku of the royal Asona family of Amanokrom and Mr. Peter Nortey Omaboe, a prominent goldsmith resident at Mamfe and a citizen of Osu. He was enrolled in Mamfe Presbyterian Junior School from 1936 to 1942, completed his primary education at the Suhum Presbyterian Senior School in 1945, and from 1946 to 1950 studied at Accra Academy. There, he was a peer of several students who would be future leaders of Ghana, including Peter Ala Adjetey, who went on to a career as a noted lawyer and speaker of Ghana’s parliament (2000–2004). In 1951 he entered the University College of the Gold Coast now the University of Ghana to study economics ...

Article

Agnes Leslie

the first woman to become a paramount chief in Botswana, was born in 1950, the first child of Paramount Chief Kgosi Mokgosi III. “Mosadi,” which translates as “woman” in Setswana, was born in Ramotswa, a village about twenty miles (32 kilometers) south of the capital city, Gaborone. Ramotswa is also the capital of the Balete or Bamalete, ethnic group. She had seven sisters and one brother. Her father died in 1966, and after that a paternal uncle served as a regent for her brother, who was nine years her junior. Seboko attended Moedin College in Otse Village, south of Gaborone, and obtained the Cambridge Overseas School Certificate in 1969. She started working as soon as she finished high school in order to help her mother with her siblings when her father died. She pursued a career in banking for twenty-four years, joining Barclays Bank in 1971 ...