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Rosemary Elizabeth Galli

nationalist, journalist and indigenous rights advocate, was born in Magul, Mozambique, on 2 November 1876. His father, Francisco Albasini, married the granddaughter of the head of Maxacuene clan in the Portuguese colony’s capital; her name is not recorded. João dos Santos was also known by his Ronga nickname, Wadzinguele. His grandfather João Albasini, a Portuguese trader, later established himself and a second family in the republic of the Transvaal where he became the vice-consul of Portugal. João dos Santos Albasini received a limited education at the Catholic Mission of Saint José Lhenguene; secondary education was not available in Mozambique. However, he was a keen reader especially of political tracts and gained great facility in writing both Portuguese and Ronga. Sometime around 1897 Albasini married Bertha Carolina Heitor Mwatilo but the marriage was unhappy and they divorced in 1917. They had two children.

As Albasini reached adulthood Portugal defeated ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


Amar Wahab

Pan‐Africanistleader in Britain in the early 1900s. Born in Sierra Leone, in 1869 he was sent to Cheshire to be educated and started working for the family firm, Broadhurst and Sons, in Manchester in 1905. By 1936 he is known to have been a cocoa merchant in the Gold Coast. He was heavily involved in the realm of Pan‐Africanist politics in Britain, becoming a founder member of the African Progress Union between 1911 and 1925. He became secretary of the Union in his sixties and continued as a member of the executive committee until its end. He worked with other leading supporters such as Duse Mohamed Ali, Edmund Fitzgerald Fredericks, and ‘the Black doctor of Paddington’ John Alcindor The Union organized around issues related to the welfare of Africans and Afro Peoples worldwide and vociferously advocated self determination This involved for example protests about ...


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 ...


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 ...


Bonnie A. Lucero

was born on 25 May 1855 in the town of El Cobre in the Oriente region of Cuba to Librada Sánchez and Francisco Cebreco. He emerged as a prominent figure in the struggle for Cuban independence. Before reaching fifteen years of age, he joined Cuban forces during the Ten Years’ War (1868–1878), alongside at least two of his brothers, Juan Pablo (Pedro) and Juan Bautista. He served under prominent insurgent chiefs, including José Maceo, Antonio Maceo, and Calixto García Iñíguez, ascending to the rank of commandant by 1876. In 1878, like many of his black compatriots, he signed on to the Protest of Baraguá, a demonstration of discontent with the Pact of Zanjón, in which insurgents agreed to lay down weapons without achieving independence or the abolition of slavery.

Cebreco then a lieutenant colonel along with other prominent black officers in the East including the Maceo ...


Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni

a leading female nationalist and one of the luminaries of the Zimbabwe liberation struggle, was born in Cape Town in South Africa on 16 February 1925. Her maiden name was Ruth Nyombolo, and she hailed from a traditional South African community known as the “red blanket,” which her father led. She had a twin sister and was part of a family of four girls and one boy. Her father fought in World War I (1914–1918) and on his return from this war, he became politically active in the African National Congress of South Africa (ANC) that had been formed in 1912. Chinamano’s mother was a school teacher who was educated at the Lovedale Institute in the Cape Province.

Chinamano grew up in East London being looked after by her aunt Mrs Francis Mcanyangwa She went to the Welsh Primary School where she was motivated by her teachers stories ...


Ghirmai Negash

Eritrean-born Ethiopian linguist, Africanist scholar, and political activist, was born in Asmara, Eritrea. He was fluent in several European and African languages including Italian, French, Latin, Hebrew, Arabic, Amharic, and Tigrinya, his mother tongue. His main area of expertise was linguistics, with particular focus on the Semitic languages of Eritrea and Ethiopia, but his intellectual interest covered a broad spectrum, including history, policy studies, and culture.

Demoz graduated from Haile Selassie University, Addis Ababa, with a bachelor’s degree in 1956. He received a master’s degree in education from Harvard University in 1957 and later studied linguistics at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he received master’s and PhD degrees in Semitic languages in 1959 and 1964, respectively. Demoz started his professional career at Haile Selassie University, where he taught and served as dean of the Faculty of Arts from 1964 to 1967 He was also a ...


LaRay Denzer

Nigerian nationalist and women’s rights leader, was born on 27 July 1914 in Creek Town (now located in Odukpani Local Government Area, Cross River State). She was originally named Bassey Sampson Ekpenyong Efa. Her parents were Reverend Sampson Ekpenyong Efa (originally Okoroafor Obiasulor), an Igbo palm wine merchant turned teacher and clergyman from Agulu, Uzo-Igbo (near Awka, the present capital of Anambra State), and Inyang Eyo Aniemewue, a trader and dressmaker who traced her ancestry to King Eyo Honesty II (d. 1858), a powerful slave merchant and ruler in the 1840s and 1850s.

Young Margaret Ekpo obtained her school- leaving certificate in 1932, after which she became a pupil teacher. She wanted to attend teacher training college, but had to postpone this ambition when her father died in 1934. She taught in schools in Calabar and Aba until 1938 when she married John Udo ...


Elsie A. Okobi

Nigerian journalist and anticolonial activist, was born in Onewa in Uromi Edo State, Nigeria, in 1923. His father was Okotako Enahoro and his mother, Inibokun Okoje. The British killed his great-grandfather, and his father spent over twenty years in exile, developments that go a long way to explaining Enahoro’s hatred for Nigeria’s colonial rulers (Sklar 1963).

Enahoro was educated at Government School Uromi, Government School Owo, and King’s College Lagos, where he became involved in student activism as well as antiwar and anticolonialist activities and became chair of the Nigerian Union of Students. Two leaders of the newly formed Nigerian Youth Movement, H. O. Davis and Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, inspired Enahoro. In 1942 Enahoro joined the West African Pilot as a reporter and enrolled at the Extra-Mural Department, University of Ibadan, taking courses in English and economics. In 1944 at the age of twenty one he became the ...


James Jankowski

Egyptian lawyer, judge, and nationalist leader, was born in the delta village of Kafr al-Musayliha in Minufiyya Province on 23 December 1870. Son of a prominent landowning family, Fahmi was educated at first in the traditional educational system of his village primary school (kuttab), the Ahmadi Mosque in Tanta, and al-Azhar, but later entered the secular school system, attending the Khedival Secondary School in Cairo, and graduating from the School of Administration in 1890.

After working in the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Administration of Waqfs through the 1890s, in 1903 Fahmi opened a private law practice. He was elected to the new Legislative Assembly in 1913. One of Egypt’s most distinguished lawyers, in 1914 Fahmi became president of the Egyptian Bar Association for the first time he would hold this position twice more in later years He also served as president of the ...


Godfrey Muriuki

Kenyan political activist and government minister, was born in March 1914 in Thogoto Village, in the Dagoretti Location of the Kiambu District of Kenya. He was the first child of Samuel Gitau and Mariam Nyaguthii. At that time, his father worked at the Church of Scotland Mission (CSM), in Kikuyu, as an overseer. Both of his parents were among the first Kenyan Africans to embrace Christianity. Consequently, Gichuru was baptized on 12 April 1914, and he remained a staunch Christian throughout his life.

He started his education at the CSM Kikuyu Primary School at the age of eight years, having already attended a kindergarten for two years. He was academically gifted and qualified for admission to the prestigious Alliance High School in 1929. He remained there until 1931. From 1932 to 1934 he studied at Makerere University then the only institution of higher learning in the ...


Ahmed Jdey

Tunisian union leader, journalist, writer, poet, militant nationalist, reformer, and social thinker, was a contemporary of Mohamed Ali al-Hammi, Aboulkacem Chebbi, Habib Bourguiba, ʿAbd al-ʿAziz Thaʿalbi, and other figures of the colonial period in Tunisia. He was born in Tunis. His father, Ali   Belhaj   Belgacem Ben Farhat El Hammi al-Fatnassi, was a native of Fatnassa, a quarter of the city of Gabès, in the south of Tunisia, and worked in a small family-owned business in Tunis. Little is known of Haddad’s mother. From 1905 to 1911 Haddad attended a qurʾanic school, where he memorized the Qurʾan and studied Arabic. He continued his studies at Zitouna University, where in 1920 he received the Attatwi diploma, having been trained in Muslim jurisprudence, language, literature, grammar, and theology. One of his professors was the Algerian shaykh ʿAbd al-Hamid ben Badis.

Haddad began working in 1921 as an administrative secretary Soon he left ...


Stephen Zunes

Western Saharan nationalist and human rights advocate, is the most prominent figure in the ongoing nonviolent resistance movement in Western Sahara in support of human rights and in opposition to Moroccan occupation of the country. Widely known as “the Sahrawi Gandhi,” as of the early twenty-first century Haidar serves as president of the Collective of Sahrawi Human Rights Defenders (CODESA). Born in 1966, she currently lives in El Aaiún in occupied Western Sahara and received her baccalaureate degree in modern literature. She is divorced and the mother of two adult sons.

The kingdom of Morocco, which claims Western Sahara as an integral part of its territory, has occupied most of the former Spanish colony since 1975. The Polisario Front, the nationalist movement which had initially battled Spanish colonialist forces, waged a guerilla war against the Moroccan occupation until a cease-fire agreement in 1991 A series of United ...


Cyprian B. Adupa

Tom Mboya was a nationalist politician and union organizer whose role was critical to the achievement of Kenyan independence in 1963. At the continental level, Mboya was a strong advocate of African unity, but his approach differed from that espoused by Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, as Mboya favored regionalism as a first step toward the unity of the continent.

Born in August 1930 in Thika, where his father, Leonard Ndiege, worked as an overseer in a sisal plantation, Mboya started his formal education at the Catholic mission in Thika, where the lessons were mainly prayers and catechism. In 1942, Mboya was then transferred to St. Mary’s mission school at Yala in Central Nyanza, from where he sat for his Kenya African preliminary examinations in 1945 Mboya passed and joined the Holy Ghost College at Mangu in Central Province At the Holy Ghost College he became a student ...


David Goldsworthy

Kenyan political leader, was born Thomas Joseph Odhiambo Mboya near Thika, north of Nairobi, on or about 15 August 1930. He was the eldest of the six children of Leonardus Ndiege, a sisal cutter from Rusinga Island, Lake Victoria, and Ndiege’s wife Marsella Awuor. By ethnic identity Mboya was a Suba Luo. He was baptized a Catholic and was given the additional name of Joseph at his confirmation. Between the ages of 7 and 17, he attended Irish-run schools in widely dispersed parts of the country. In his book Freedom and After (1963), he maintained that his nontribal outlook in later life owed much to a childhood during which he lived among and learned the languages of several of Kenya’s major ethnic communities, notably Luo, Kikuyu, and Kamba.

From 1948 to 1950 Mboya attended the Jeanes School a vocational training college at Kabete near Nairobi There ...


Robert Fay

Tom Mboya was born in Kilima Mbogo, Kenya, near present-day Nairobi. The son of a poor Luo sisal cutter, he realized that he had a “keen sense of the political” while attending mission schools. He became politically active through the labor movement—the only legal avenue for social protest in colonial Kenya—while working as a sanitary inspector.

As elected secretary of the African Staff Association in 1951 and founder of the Kenya Local Government Workers Union in 1952 Mboya had an initial goal of better working conditions for Africans Soon however the British colonial government s repressive response to the Mau Mau Rebellion convinced him that economic improvements were not enough At a time when many nationalist leaders were detained in concentration camps Mboya became a leader in the independence struggle with strong support from Kenyan workers After spending two years at Oxford University studying industrial relations Mboya was elected ...