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philosopher, pioneer of Islamic reformist thought, pan-Islamic nationalist as well as a staunch opponent of British penetration in the East, also known as al-Asadaabadi and al-Husayni, Afghani, was born in October/November 1839 in the Iranian village of Asadaabad. However, he endeavored to hide his origins so as to conceal his Shiite identity. It was with this in mind that he assumed the surname al-Afghani (of Afghan origin).

His father, Sayyid Safdar, is said to have been a modest farmer, but a learned Muslim. From the age of five to ten, Afghani was apparently educated at home, focusing on Arabic and the Qurʾan. Thereafter, he was sent to school in Qazvin and later Tehran, where he received the standard Shiite education.

After several years of study in the holy city of Najaf, Afghani moved to India in approximately 1855 where he first encountered British colonialism By the time he reached ...


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 ...


Eric Young

Amílcar Cabral was born in Bafatá, Portuguese Guinea (today Guinea-Bissau). Because both of his parents were from the Cape Verde Islands, he automatically received Portuguese citizenship. After earning high marks in elementary school, Cabral attended secondary school in the Cape Verde Islands and then, at the age of twenty-one, the University of Lisbon in Portugal. He graduated with honors, and in 1950 Cabral entered the Portuguese colonial agriculture service and became increasingly active in revolutionary intellectual circles.

Between 1952 and 1954 Cabral conducted the first agricultural survey of Portuguese Guinea. As he gained an extensive knowledge of the land and popular grievances, he helped increase political awareness among his friends, mainly of Cape Verdean descent. Increasingly involved in anti-Portuguese activities, Cabral helped establish a recreation association and other quickly banned organizations before his return to Portugal. In Lisbon, and later in Angola he met revolutionary leaders from Angola ...


Abel Djassi Amado

anticolonial intellectual active in Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau, was born on 24 September 1924, in Portuguese Guinea (henceforth Guinea-Bissau) to Cape Verdean parents. A West African agronomist-turned-politician, military strategist, and revolutionary theorist, Cabral was an active anticolonial thinker and activist during the 1960s and the first half of the 1970s. Unlike most anticolonial political figures, Cabral cannot be tied to a single national identity as both his biography and his political activities linked him to both Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau, two former Portuguese colonies in Africa. Hence, with the coming of independence, the title of pai da nacionalidade (literally “the father of nationality”) was legally bestowed upon him in those two African states.

Cabral spent his early childhood in Guinea-Bissau and moved to Cape Verde in 1933 His primary education took place on Santiago Island and with his mother he relocated to São Vicente Island to ...


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 ...


Haggai Erlich

Egyptian politician and historian, succeeded Mustafa Kamil in 1908 as the leader of al-Hizb al-Watani, the Nationalist Party, Egypt’s more activist anti-British movement in the pre–World War I period. Though the party, established in late 1907, was quickly losing momentum, and though he remained overshadowed by the memory of Kamil’s charisma, Farid went down in history as a keeper of Kamil’s ideological legacy and as a leader in his own right.

Muhammad Farid was born on 20 January 1868 to a wealthy family of Ottoman-Turkish origin, which had settled in Egypt when it was annexed to the empire in the early sixteenth century. His father was an administrator in Muhammad ʿAli’s educational system and then, during the years of Khedive Ismaʿil, a director in the Khedival Railway Department. In 1877 following European intervention in Egypt s economy he was fired a humiliating experience young Farid never forgot Moreover ...


Myles Osborne

Kenyan anticolonial activist and politician, was born in Kiima Kimwe near Machakos Township, Kenya, on 18 October 1923. His grandfather was the famous prophet Masaku, after whom Machakos was named. When Ngei was a boy, his family moved to Mbilini in Kangundo, where he first attended school. His education continued at Machakos Boys Primary School before he transferred to the prestigious Alliance High School in Kiambu in 1937. At the age of sixteen, before the completion of his studies, he left Alliance to join the King’s African Rifles (KAR). His five-and-a-half years of service took place during World War II, in which he served in the Abyssinia and Burma campaigns. In the KAR, Ngei received several decorations as well as an “exemplary” certificate when discharged in 1946.

On his return to Kenya Ngei received a scholarship to study at Makerere College in Uganda East Africa s premier ...


Mickie Hudson-Koster

Kenyan economist, nationalist, and father of Barack Obama Jr., 44th president of the United States, was born in Kanyadhiang village near Lake Victoria on 4 April 1936 to Hussein Onyango Obama, medicine man, farmer, and colonial cook, and Habiba Akumu Nyanjango. Raised by his father’s third wife, Sarah Ogwel, Obama grew up in Nyangʿoma Kogelo village in the Siaya District of Nyanza Province. A serious student, Obama was one of eighty-one African students selected to study abroad under a program organized by Kenyan politician Tom Mboya to send leading students to the United States to prepare for impending independence. Another Kenyan student who participated in Mboya’s program was Africa’s first female Nobel Peace Prize winner, the environmentalist Wangari Muta Maathai. In 1959 Obama enrolled as an economics student at the University of Hawaii, becoming the first African student to study there.

Obama had several wives during his life Before he ...


Angolan poet, historian, research scholar and teacher, nationalist, editor, and foundation officer, was born in Maquela do Zombo, Angola, on 5 April 1934. His parents were Jorge de Oliveira, an African born in Ambriz, and Maria da Conceicao Fernandes de Oliveira. At a young age Oliveira moved to Angola’s capital, Luanda, where his father was a postal employee. His father was African, and his mother was either a white Portuguese or a mestica. Thus, he was a member of the mulatto or mestico community, which, as late as 1950 was a significant minority in the colony s capital In primary and secondary schools in Luanda young Mário António achieved academic distinction and soon began to publish poetry Raised and educated as a Catholic he was by age 17 a militant social Catholic In the following year he had a radical political awakening rejected Catholicism and embraced Marxism ...


Moses Masibo

Kenyan politician and journalist, was born in the Uyoma part of the Bondo district on the shores of Lake Victoria. He received his education at the Church Missionary Society School in Maseno. Thereafter he trained as a journalist. He married two wives; the elder wife, who died in 1992, was called Jedida, and the second was Loice Anyango. Oneko had eleven children: seven sons and four daughters.

Oneko began his public life as a journalist with a small but popular weekly Luo newspaper called Ramogi in 1945. He chose the name Ramogi for historical reasons it was derived from the great great grandfather of the Luo from the Nile region Oneko believed that the newspaper s name would remind the Luo people of their historical and cultural heritage But perhaps more important was his endeavor to use the newspaper to educate and galvanize the Luo into resistance ...


journalist, lawyer, politician, essayist, and Egypt’s most influential historian in the modern era, was a self-trained historian who forged, from scratch, a much-needed historical understanding in a highly nationalized era. The core of his work was comprised of a monumental historical corpus that offered a bird’s eye view of Egypt’s entire modern history. Written between 1929 and 1959, this work was instrumental in setting the basic parameters of modern historical understanding, for it answered basic questions such as where modern history began and accounted for the forces that propelled it.

Al-Rafiʿi was born in Cairo in 1889, to a middle-class Muslim family with strong connections to al-Azhar the leading academy in the Islamic world He belonged to the first urban generation to evince interest in modern education while simultaneously striving to maintain their Islamic culture Many of them were attracted to the study of law which provided ...


Liliana Obregón

José Antonio Saco received what was a typical education for Catholic boys in early-nineteenth-century Cuba. He first studied in a small schoolhouse next to his home and later transferred to a Catholic school in Santiago de Cuba. Saco continued higher-level education in modern philosophy at the San Carlos seminar in Havana. Under the tutelage of Father Félix Varela y Morales, one of the most influential professors and prominent intellectuals of his time, Saco studied with a group of young men who were to become representatives of the urban bourgeoisie that promoted the independence of Cuba from Spain. In his autobiography Saco claims that these early years with Varela, who provided guidance and friendship and whom Saco considered the “most virtuous man” he ever met, were definitive in the formation of his thinking and ideology.

In 1821 Varela asked Saco to take over his seminar in ...