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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 ...

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Mónica A. Jiménez

was born in the Tenerías barrio of Ponce, Puerto Rico, on 12 September 1891 to Alejandro Albizu Romero, the son of a Basque sugar planter who worked as a US customs officer, and Juliana Campos, the daughter of a former slave who worked as a domestic in the residence of Albizu Romero.

A brilliant student, he graduated from Ponce High School in 1912 and attended the University of Vermont on a scholarship. In 1913 he transferred to Harvard University, where he studied literature and chemistry. Upon graduation, he enrolled in Harvard Law School, but took a leave in 1917 to join the US armed forces during World War I. He was assigned to the all-black 375th Regiment and stationed in Ponce, where he trained noncommissioned officers. He achieved the rank of first lieutenant before being honorably discharged in 1919 and returning to Harvard to complete his legal studies He ...

Article

Carlos Dalmau

A passionate speaker and outspoken critic of United States imperialism and the 1898 invasion and occupation of Puerto Rico, Pedro Albizu Campos spent many years in prison for his role in the pro-independence nationalist movement, during the turbulent years of the 1930s through the 1950s. He opposed the annexation of Puerto Rico by the United States when the island was ceded by the Spanish after the Spanish-Cuban-American War (1895–1898). For Albizu, Puerto Ricans—ethnically mixed and culturally different—were not, and should not be, Americans. Independence was the only legitimate and anti-imperialist solution to the island's status.

From an early age Albizu stood out as an excellent student He grew up in the city of Ponce a municipality in southern Puerto Rico where he received a grant that gave him the opportunity to study chemical engineering at the University of Vermont He later graduated from the Harvard Law School where ...

Article

Reynolds L. Richter

pioneering Kenyan lawyer and nationalist politician, was born in Gem, Siaya District, in present-day Nyanza Province of Kenya. The son of early mission converts, “Clem” was sent to a mission school at the age of seven and received his Cambridge School Certificate from St. Mary’s College in Entebbe, Uganda, in 1936. The following year he enrolled at Makerere College in Kampala. After graduating with a teaching degree in 1940, Argwings-Kodhek spent the next seven years teaching in Nyanza and Rift Valley provinces. Future Kenyan president Daniel Arap Moi numbered among his pupils.

In 1947 Argwings-Kodhek won a government fellowship to study social sciences at the University of South Wales and Monmouthshire. Shortly after undertaking his studies, he applied to the authorities for permission to pursue a law degree instead but was denied; however, aided by friends, Argwings-Kodhek surreptitiously obtained a law degree in 1949 and became a ...

Article

M. W. Daly

Sudanese nationalist politician, scion of a prominent religious family, grandson of Ismaʿil al-Azhari (Mufti of the Sudan 1924–1932) and a descendant of Ahmad Ismaʿil al-Azhari (Ismaʿil al-Wali), a famous alim, was born at Omdurman. After secondary school at Gordon College in Khartoum, he studied at the American University in Beirut and, returning to the Sudan, became a mathematics teacher at the college. He soon became immersed in politics.

The scope for such involvement was enhanced by the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan’s “condominium” status but circumscribed by the policies of its senior member, Britain. During World War I the British sought to minimize the Egyptian role; after anti-British uprisings in 1924 they sought to end it, by evacuating the Egyptian Army and curtailing the size and scope of a Sudanese educated class susceptible to Egyptian influence. But British efforts to channel political interest backfired. In 1938 members of the Sudan ...

Article

Mohammed Hassen Ali

pharmacist, lawyer, and Oromo nationalist and political activist in Ethiopia, was mainly responsible for the formation of the Oromo Liberation Front, which in turn transformed Oromo cultural nationalism to political nationalism. He was born in the region of Wallaga. He lost both his parents while very young, and it was his elder brother, the Reverend Gudina Tumsa, who brought him up and provided him with the best education.

While at Haile Selassie I University, Baro Tumsa immersed himself in student politics as well as risky underground Oromo political activities. From 1964 to 1966 he served as secretary and president of the union of the university students in Addis Ababa It was under his leadership that university students were radicalized and energized More than many of his contemporaries Baro Tumsa realized that the Oromo and other conquered people of southern Ethiopia were landless subjects without rights who were exploited economically ...

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Marian Aguiar

Ahmed Ben Bella was born in Maghnia, Algeria. After fighting for the French during World War II, Ben Bella returned home to witness the colonial administration’s crackdown on the Algerian population. During the crackdown, the French bombed Islamic villages and killed thousands of Muslims in response to the 1945 anticolonial riots in the Sétif region. Inspired to join the growing Algerian independence movement, Ben Bella worked with several illegal revolutionary groups until he was arrested and imprisoned by the French in 1950.

After escaping from prison in 1952, Ben Bella joined other exiled anticolonial leaders, including Mohamed Boudiaf and Hocine Aït Ahmed, in Cairo, Egypt. Together they helped found the main revolutionary party, the Algerian National Liberation Front (Front de Libération Nationale, or FLN). Ben Bella was an arms procurer for the FLN in 1956 when he was captured aboard a plane ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

Algerian anticolonial leader and politician, was born on 25 December 1916 in the town of Maghnia in western Algeria. His family was relatively affluent, and he was the youngest child of five boys and several girls.

Although Ben Bella’s father was a practicing Muslim, Ben Bella himself never managed to master Arabic. He attended primary schools in Maghnia and graduated in 1930. Ben Bella was a phenomenal football (soccer) player at school, and he seriously considered becoming a professional athlete. However, he ended up joining the French army and served in numerous campaigns during World War II. His bravery and skill made him a legend in his own unit, and he eventually reached the rank of Sergeant Major. At the Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy, he carried his wounded company commander 1500 yards to safety and then took charge of the company Charles De Gaulle his future ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

Algerian political leader, was born on 14 April 1929 in the town of Bouteldja located near the port city of Annaba. His father was a small landowner who was able to provide his son with a primary school education in Annaba. However, the family had relatives in Tunisia, and it appears Bendjedid grew up in a relatively cosmopolitan household.

Bendjedid joined the French military after World War II and served in Vietnam. He reached the rank of noncommissioned officer and was back in Algeria when the Front de Libération Nationale (FLN; National Liberation Front) anticolonial armed movement launched its armed struggle against French rule on 1 November 1954. By early 1955, Benjdedid joined the armed wing of the FLN, where he rose in the ranks. He was promoted to regional commander in 1956 and assistant commander in 1957. He suffered serious wounds in combat in 1957 ...

Article

Marian Aguiar

Chadli Benjedid grew up in the Annaba region of colonial Algeria, then joined the military wing of the national liberation group, the Front de Libération Nationale (FLN). Moving quickly through the ranks, he became a rebel commander in 1960. After Algeria’s independence he helped oversee the withdrawal of French troops.

While in the rebel army, Benjedid earned the trust of chief of staff Houari Boumedienne, whom he later supported in the 1965 coup d’état against President Ahmed Ben Bella. Under President Boumedienne, Benjedid held high positions in the military and served on the ruling Revolutionary Council.

Within the FLN Benjedid gained a reputation as an evenhanded leader, and for this reason he was sought as the presidential candidate to heal divisions within the party after Boumedienne’s death. In 1979 Benjedid was elected and began a tenure that lasted through two reelections During his thirteen years ...

Article

Richard A. Bradshaw

leader of Ubangi-Shari’s independence movement and “Father of the Central African Republic,” was born on 4 April 1910 at Bobangui, Lobaye. His father Swalakpé and mother Siribé both belonged to the Mbaka (Ngbaka) ethnic group. Swalakpé, a local leader with five wives, died before Boganda’s birth during an attack by colonial troops on his village. Siribé, the third of Swalakpé’s wives, was beaten to death by a soldier shortly after her husband’s death. An orphan, Boganda was taken into custody by the head of the French post at M’Baïki, Lieutenant Mayer, who entrusted him to the care of Father Gabriel Herriau of the Catholic mission at Bétou. In 1920 the Bétou mission was closed and Boganda was taken to the St. Paul mission in Bangui, where he attended primary school until 1924 While at St Paul s he was baptized adopted the name Barthélemy 24 December 1922 and was ...

Article

Eric Young

Born into a family of subsistence farmers, Barthélemy Boganda attended Catholic mission schools and seminaries in Brazzaville and Yaoundé. In 1938 he became the first Oubanguian Catholic priest. Sponsored by Catholic missionaries, Boganda was elected to the French National Assembly in 1946. But he soon realized the limits of his influence in France, and left the priesthood and returned to Oubangui-Chari to organize a grassroots movement of small African producers to oppose French colonialism. In 1949 he founded the Movement for the Social Evolution of Black Africa, a quasi-religious political party.

After his arrest for “endangering the peace” and detention for intervening in a local market dispute in 1951, Boganda became a messianic folk hero and the leading nationalist. The French realized that opposing Boganda would be dangerous and sought to accommodate him. In 1956 Boganda agreed to European representation on election lists in exchange for ...

Article

Matthew LeRiche and John Young

Sudanese journalist, politician, and government official, is the son of a Dinka chief from Twic Mayardit County in the province of northern Bahr El Ghazal, in southern Sudan. Bona has pursued careers in journalism, academia, and most prominently, politics. After the 2010 national election, he was named advisor to President ʿUmar al-Bashir, of the National Congress Party (NCP).

An accomplished student and athlete, Bona went to the US on scholarship. While there, he earned an MA in journalism and communications before returning to Sudan, where he became a leading southern Sudanese nationalist. Building on his academic training, Bona became the editor-in-chief of The Advocate, an early publication defending the human rights of southerners and calling for devolution of power to the south. He was a cofounder of the Southern Front and served as its first secretary-general. He was then elected to the national assembly in 1968 only to ...

Article

Emmanuel Asiedu-Acquah

Ghanaian nationalist politician and diplomat, was born on 21 February 1916 in Winneba, a coastal town in the central province of the Gold Coast (present-day Ghana). His father, James Edward Botsio, was the registrar of the colonial district commissioner’s court. His mother, Diana Ama Amina, was a trader. Kojo Botsio was schooled at the local Catholic primary and middle schools before attending the prestigious Adisadel College in the historic city of Cape Coast in 1929. He went on to train as a teacher from 1935 to 1936 at Achimota College, which also trained other future prominent Ghanaian leaders including his long-time political associate, Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first postindependence leader. After his training at Achimota, Botsio taught at the Catholic secondary school of Saint Augustine in Cape Coast for five years.

In the tradition of some educated colonial Ghanaians of the time Botsio studied for his bachelor s degree at ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

Tunisian politician and anticolonial activist, was born on 3 August 1903 in the Tunisian town of Monastir, located roughly 100 kilometers south of the capital of Tunis. His family was relatively poor, but several of his seven siblings raised enough money to send Bourguiba to French-run schools in Tunis.

Bourguiba attended the College Sadiki middle school and the Lycée Carnot secondary school. After Bourguiba passed his baccalaureate examinations in 1924, he moved to Paris to study law and political science. Bourguiba spent three years studying before he received his law degree. During that time, he met a Frenchwoman named Mathilde Lorain, and they married in 1927. On 9 April 1927 Mathilde gave birth to their first child and only son Habib Bourguiba Jr He then returned with his new family to Tunis Since the decade before World War I Western educated Tunisians had protested discriminatory policies on ...

Article

Marian Aguiar

For more than thirty years, Habib ibn Ali Bourguiba guided the nation of Tunisia through its transformation from French protectorate into independent republic, and then through a period of intense social and political reform. Known as an outspoken, bold man with a wry wit, he is also remembered as a gradualist and a negotiator who used slow-moving tactics to achieve radical ends.

Bourguiba was born in the small village of al-Munastir, but he studied in Tunis before traveling to France to study law and political science at the Sorbonne in Paris. In 1927 he returned to Tunis, where he became increasingly active in the growing independence movement. He was the cofounder of the newspaper L’Action Tunisienne, which became a forum for opposition to the French protectorate. In 1934 dissatisfied with the conservatism of the Destour Party which was at that time the leading Tunisian rights group Bourguiba helped ...

Article

Julia A. Clancy-Smith

Tunisian nationalist, writer, women’s rights activist, and artist, was born in the provincial city of Sfax, where her father worked in the Arabic publishing business and was an amateur actor, which helps explain her lifelong involvement in the arts. Her mother, Cherifa, was educated and quite unconventional; after her husband’s death, she taught primary school in Nabeul from 1943 on, riding a bike to school while still wearing a black veil, which scandalized the conservative local community. Since there were no educational institutions for Tunisian girls in the town, Dorra Bouzid studied in the local French secular school from the age of four on, with students from a range of religious and ethnic backgrounds. After her father’s death—his family had been opposed to Cherifa teaching school—Bouzid’s mother received a post in Tunis just prior to World War II and married again, to Mahmoud Messaâdi (1911–2004 an important figure ...

Article

Born in what is now the province of KwaZulu-Natal, Mangosutho Buthelezi is related to the Zulu royal family through his mother, Princess Magogo. He is descended from Cetshwayo, a Zulu king who ruled in the late 1800s. Buthelezi’s father, who was chief of the Buthelezi ethnic group, died when Buthelezi was fourteen years old. Buthelezi’s uncle, Maliyamakhanda, was appointed regent to govern the ethnic group until Buthelezi was ready to assume the role of chief.

Buthelezi received his early education at Christian mission schools. He then attended South African Native College (now the University of Fort Hare) in Alice. During college Buthelezi joined the African National Congress (ANC) Youth League. He was subsequently expelled from college because of his political activities, but in 1951 he received his degree in history and Bantu administration a discipline designed to train black South Africans for certain government positions from the ...

Article

Michael R. Mahoney

South African politician, was born on 27 August 1928 in Mahlabathini, KwaZulu-Natal province, to Chief Mathole Buthelezi and Princess Magogo, daughter of the Zulu king Dinuzulu and sister of his successor, Solomon. Buthelezi’s grandfather, Mnyamana, had been King Cetshwayo’s chief councilor, and the relationship between the two served as a model for Buthelezi’s own relationship with the Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithini. After matriculating at the American Board mission school Adams College in Natal, Buthelezi attended Fort Hare University in the Eastern Cape, a hotbed of political activism, from 1948 to 1950. There he befriended such future African nationalist leaders as Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe and Robert Mugabe. His involvement in protests against a visit to Fort Hare by Governor General Brand Van Zyl led to his expulsion, but he was able to complete his B.A. at the University of Natal in 1951.

Buthelezi s first job after graduation was ...

Article

Michael Hall

Cabral (1924–1973) was an African nationalist, Marxist, and intellectual who led the armed struggle for independence in Guinea-Bissau (Portuguese Guinea) and the Cape Verde Islands. Amilcar Lopes Cabral was born on 12 September 1924 in Bafatá, Guinea-Bissau. His father, Juvenal Cabral, was a member of the mulatto middle class from the Cape Verde Islands. Unlike the population of Guinea-Bissau, which was primarily black, most people in the Cape Verde Islands, an archipelago of uninhabited islands that had been colonized by the Portuguese since the fifteenth century, were mulattos who had undergone an extensive Portuguese cultural assimilation process. Cabral’s father had moved to Guinea-Bissau in search of a civil service job in 1907, where he eventually married a local woman. Cabral was named in honor of Carthaginian general and statesman Hamilcar Barca (270–228 b.c.e.), the father of Hannibal (247–183 b.c.e. Cabral s father an elementary school ...