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Emma Hunter

Tanzanian teacher and politician, was born in Machame on the slopes of Kilimanjaro in Tanganyika. His father was Solomon Nkya, one of the first African Lutheran ministers ordained by the Leipzig Evangelical Mission in Kilimanjaro. Eliufoo was educated at Makerere College in Uganda, at the time the foremost institution of tertiary education in East Africa. He was later awarded a scholarship to study for a BA in social sciences at Bethany College, Kansas, and then spent a year at Bristol University in England.

Eliufoo began his career as a teacher. After receiving his diploma in education, he taught at Makerere from 1944 to 1946. On his return to Kilimanjaro, he continued teaching and played an active role in the Lutheran Church. Kilimanjaro in the late 1940s was undergoing dramatic economic political and religious change The Chagga had enthusiastically embraced coffee planting after World War I and by the ...


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 ...


David William Cohen

Kenyan politician, was born on 31 March 1931 in Nyahera, Kisumu District, western Kenya. The eldest child of Susan and Erastus Seda, Ouko was educated in local primary schools and became a qualified primary school teacher after attending teacher training college. Through the 1950s, he continued his studies privately and via correspondence schools, and then gained entry to Haile Selassie University, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 1958. In 1962, Ouko graduated with a degree in economics, political science, and public administration, and then undertook further studies in diplomacy at Makerere University in Uganda.

In 1963 on the eve of Kenyan independence Ouko joined the colonial civil service as an assistant secretary in the office of the British governor With independence Ouko became one of Prime Minister and President Jomo Kenyatta s first appointees to a senior civil service position that of permanent secretary He played a significant ...


James Jankowski

Egyptian educator, politician, and briefly prime minister, was born into a landowning family. He was educated at the Higher Teacher’s College and the Khedivial Law School. Fluent in English and French, he was a member of Egypt’s cosmopolitan elite of the early twentieth century. Trained as an educator and lawyer, he served as headmaster of the Muhammad ʿAli School in Cairo, later taught mathematics, geography, and history at al-Azhar, and also worked as a legal adviser in the Administration of Awqaf.

Sabri began his national political career as a supporter of the Wafd Party. Elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1926 as a Wafdist deputy, in 1930 he separated from the Wafd by endorsing the autocratic regime of the anti Wafdist prime minister Ismaʿil Sidqi For the remainder of his political career Sabri was an independent formally unaffiliated with any of Egypt s political parties Elected the ...


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 ...


Jeremy Rich

Togolese politician and intellectual, was born in the southern Togolese town of Tové on 15 August 1895. His family was a prominent among Ewe-speaking communities. After receiving an education from German Protestant missionaries, he moved shortly before World War I to the German colony of Cameroon to work as a clerk for a German attorney. With the advent of war, the German governor Karl Ebermayer selected Savi de Tove to become his personal secretary. After French forces defeated most of the German colonial army, Savi de Tove joined Ebermayer in his flight to Spanish Guinea. He then worked in the German embassy in Madrid, before staying a short time in Germany itself in 1918 Once the war ended Savi de Tove returned to Togo His gift for learning languages proved perfect for his new job as a schoolteacher He became the head of schools for the Église Protestante ...


Haggai Erlich

Egyptian writer, was born in January 1872 to a landowning family in Lower Egypt. He attended a local traditional Islamic school (kuttab) and chose to go to the khedivial secondary school rather than to al-Azhar. Having read translated scholarly works, notably Darwin’s Origin of Species, he was admitted in 1889 to the Khedivial Law School, the alma mater of many of Egypt’s modern politicians and leaders. As a young student, he founded Egypt’s first law review, Majallat al-Tashriʿ (Legislative Review). He graduated in 1894, entered government service, and in 1897 began collaborating with the nationalist leader Mustafa Kamil, who had the support of Khedive ʿAbbas II. They advised him to go to Switzerland and acquire Swiss citizenship so that he would enjoy immunity as a journalist and would be able to criticize the British occupiers freely. However, in Geneva in 1897 he came under ...


Maxim Zabolotskikh

Ethiopian intellectual, politician, civil servant, diplomat, and writer, was born in June 1884 in Seyya Debr (Shewa, Ethiopia) to a family of Christianized Oromos.

Tekle grew up in his mother’s care until he was five. At the age of six he began to study in a church school. When his elder brother Gebre Sadiq moved to Harar to become a secretary of Ras Mekonnen, Tekle (nine at this time) went with him and continued his education there. He stayed in the household of Ras Mekonnen, where he was raised with other children, among whom was also Teferi (future Emperor Haile Selassie).

When the Italians invaded Ethiopia in 1895, both Tekle and Gebre Sadiq accompanied Ras Mekonnen to the front. Gebre Sadiq was killed, and Ras Mekonnen decided to do something special for his younger brother entrusting him to a member of the Russian Red Cross mission Count ...


Joel Gordon

Egyptian politician, was born in Cairo on 18 February 1921. The son of a military officer, Ukasha graduated from the military academy in 1939, one of the first cohort to enroll after 1936, when Egypt gained independence from Britain. He went on to the staff college in 1945, where he met and became friends with Gamal Abd al-Nasser. Along with Nasser and other future founders of the Free Officers movement, he drew close to secret cells formed in the army by the Muslim Brothers. He graduated from the staff college in 1948 and served in the Palestine War, a formative experience for so many fellow junior officers. When Nasser and close colleagues formed a secret organization independent of the Brothers and other civilian forces, they turned to Ukasha to join them.

Although close to the movement s leaders Ukasha remained distant from the daily operations of the conspirators He resisted ...


Joy Elizondo

The child of a washerwoman and a musician, José Manuel Valdés was born in Lima, Peru's capital city, when nearly half its population was black. Though his parents could not afford to educate him, his godparents and mother's employers stepped in, seeing to his early education at a prominent religious school. He would later become the first black writer to publish in Peru, both as a doctor and as a poet, as early as 1791.

After completing school, Valdés yearned to become a priest, but during the colonial period blacks were denied access to the priesthood by the Catholic Church, and he turned instead to medicine. He could have prospered as a romancista, a type of medical practitioner that required little training and was restricted to “external remedies.” In 1788 he took the more challenging route and pursued the title of latinista surgeon for ...


Annarita Puglielli

Somali linguist, author, educator, and government official, was born at Ceelhuur (Obbia or Hoobyo) in Somalia. His name is also spelled Yasin Osman Kenadid. He was the son of Cismaan Yuusuf Keenadiid, the poet scholar who, in the 1920s, invented the first phonetically standardized script for the Somali language. This script, called in Somali Far Soomaali or “Somali alphabet,” is also known as the “Cismaaniyya (or Osmaniya) script,” called this after his name. Until that time, Somali had been written in Arabic characters.

Yaasiin studied linguistics and classical languages (Greek and Latin) at the universities of Rome and Perugia (Italy) from 1955 to 1957 and Slavic philology at the Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow in 1962. He got his Arts Degree (Lettere) at the University of Rome–La Sapienza in 1963.

In 1949 he founded Goosanka Afka iyo Suugaanta Soomaalida the Somali Language and Literature Society within the ...


Cyril Daddieh

Ivorian teacher, trade unionist, war veteran, deputy, mayor, spiritual leader, senator, cabinet minister, and wealthy planter/businessman, was born on 23 January 1920 in Jacqueville, not far from Abidjan. His father had served as a customs official in Abidjan. He attended primary school in Grand Bassam and then the École Normale Supérieur William Ponty in Senegal from 1937 to 1940. He taught for two years before joining the French war effort in 1942. He was deployed in North Africa, Italy, France, and Germany and was awarded the Croix de Guerre for bravery. After his military service in the French army ended in 1946 he returned home to teach in Aboisso As an ethnic Alladian Yacé was widely recognized as the spiritual leader as well as the titular political representative of the 3A Alladian Aïzi Akouri located in the area around Abidjan between the lagoon and the sea Yet teachers ...


Haggai Erlich

Ethiopian intellectual, administrator, scholar, dejazmach, and statesman, was born in 1928 to a family embodying the Tigreans’ pride and their frustrated aspirations for leadership in the empire. His father, Dejazmach (literally commander of the right wing, a general and regional administrator, a rank beneath that of ras) Gabre-Sellassie Baria-Gebr played important roles in Tigrean and imperial politics and married Walata Esrael Seyum, great-granddaughter of emperor Yohannes IV (r. 1872–1889), the last Tigrean ruler of Ethiopia (prior to 1991). In 1930 Gabre Sellassie died and two years later Emperor Haile Selassie working to ensure Tigre s loyalty to his Amhara centered regime arranged for marriages between his family and the Tigrean nobility The emperor s eldest son and proclaimed heir Meredazmach Asfa Wossen married Wallata Esrael and four year old Zewde a direct descendant of the Tigrean emperor Yohannes thus became the step grandson of Emperor Haile Selassie Raised ...