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Amin, Idi Dada  

Nelson Kasfir

military officer and President of Uganda from 1971 to 1979, was probably born in Koboko district near the Sudanese border in northwestern Uganda. Few facts about his parents, his birth date, or his upbringing can be confirmed. His mother, who was Lugbara and originally Christian, separated from his father—who was Kakwa, Muslim, and possibly a convert from Christianity—shortly after his birth and raised Amin in southern Uganda.

As a Muslim belonging to both the Kakwa and the Nubian ethnic communities, Amin received little formal education and had halting command of several languages, including Swahili and English. He practiced polygamy and married at least six women: Malyamu Kibedi and Kay Adroa (both Christians prior to marriage) in late 1966 and Nora (her full name cannot be confirmed), a Langi, in 1967. He divorced all three, according to a Radio Uganda announcement on 26 March 1974 He married Nalongo ...

Article

Arafat, Yasser  

Matti Steinberg

Palestinian leader, was born in Cairo, Egypt, on 24 August 1929 to ʿAbd al-Raʾuf, his father, and Zahawa Abu-Saud, his mother, who had emigrated from Palestine in 1927 Arafat himself was mysterious about his birthplace sometimes he would say I was not born before I became Abu ʿAmmar and sometimes he insisted on being born in Old Jerusalem next to the al Haram al Sharif the Islamic sacred site this version was adopted by official publications and Web sites of Fatah Behind this obscurity probably lay the uneasiness of Arafat as the leader of the Palestinian national movement to acknowledge that he had not been born in Palestine and that his Palestinian parents had emigrated voluntarily out of personal and not national reasons from Palestine seeking a better living His full name is Muhammad ʿAbd al Rahman ʿAbd al Raʾuf Arafat al Qudwa al Husayni During the early 1950s ...

Article

Bathoen, I  

Maitseo Bolaane

Kgosi of the Bangwaketse, was born at Tswaaneng, southern Gangwaketse, in Botswana. The eldest son of Kgosi Gaseitsiwe’s senior wife, Bathoen I was heir to the Bangwaketse chieftaincy. His mother was of the Batlhware people. He learned to read and write at a London Missionary Society mission (LMS) school. As the son of Kgosi, he became leader of the Maisantwa regiment, initiated in 1864 (Ngcongco 1977: 277). Bathoen became chief of the Bangwaketse in July 1889 after the death of his father, Gaseitsewe. The key events of Bathoen’s life related to the growth of British colonial power in this period. In 1885 Botswana became a British protectorate. Khama of Bangwato, Bathoen of Bangwaketse, and Sebele of Bakwena were key players during the period (1890–1891 when Britain s control over Botswana developed from a vague protectorate over the southern part to a more clearly defined though still in practice ...

Article

Bathoen, II Seepapitso Gaseitsiwe  

Maitseo Bolaane

Botswana leader, was born in Kanye to Seepapitso II, paramount chief of the Bangwaketse, and Mogatsakgari, daughter of Ratshosa, Khama III’s son-in-law. Bathoen’s grandmother, Gagoangwe, was the daughter of Kgosi Sechele of the Bakwena. Bathoen was thus of royal descent on both sides. In 1916, when Bathoen was eight, his father was murdered by his own brother, Moeapitso, in a palace intrigue. Moeapitso was jailed, and Kgosimotse Gaseitsiwe was appointed acting chief of the Bangwaketse until Bathoen reached adulthood. Bathoen spent much of his childhood in Serowe among his mother’s people, the Bangwato.

Bathoen studied at Kanye Hill School, now Rachele Primary School, beginning in 1918; subsequently, in South Africa at Tiger Kloof (1919–1922) and Lovedale (1923–1927 During this time two strong women served as regents the queen mother Gagoangwe and after 1924 Gagoangwe s eldest daughter Ntebogang After completion of his junior certificate ...

Article

Buluggin, ibn Ziri  

A. K. Bennison

chief of the Sanhaja, military leader, also known as Abuʾl-Futuh Yusuf, was the son of Ziri ibn Manad, a chief of the Sanhaja, one of the main Berber peoples of the Maghrib. Many Sanhaja tribes joined the Shiʿi Fatimids when they were based in Ifriqiya (909–972 CE), while the majority of the Zanata Berber tribes offered their support to the Sunni Umayyads of Cordoba. The Kharijites of the Maghrib also opposed the Fatimids, creating a situation of permanent conflict among the tribes of the region. In 324/936 Ziri constructed the fortified town of Ashir, which al-Nuwayri describes as populated by merchants dealing in agricultural products, religious scholars, and jurists. Ziri became a prominent client of the Fatimids after they assisted the Fatimid caliph al-Qaʾim during the Kharijite siege of al-Mahdiyya in 334–5/946.

According to chroniclers Buluggin was the youngest of Ziri s ten or twelve sons but the most able ...

Article

Cetshwayo ka Mpande  

Michael R. Mahoney

Zulu king, was born in emLambogwenya, in what is today KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa, to the future King Mpande ka Senzangakhona and his wife Ngqumbazi. In 1839, shortly after Mpande defected from his brother King Dingane’s side in the war between the Zulus and the Boers, he officially declared that Cetshwayo would be his heir, even presenting him as such at a meeting of the Boer legislature that year.

As Cetshwayo grew up, he became involved in the various intrigues in the Zulu royal house. One of the main issues in these intrigues was the relative status of Mpande’s twenty-nine wives, each of whom came from a prominent family either within the Zulu kingdom or neighboring it. It has long been customary in polygamous households in this region for the husband to name one of his wives as inkosikazi, or chief wife with her eldest son being heir ...

Article

Delobsom, Dim  

Michael Kevane

Burkinan author, canton chief, and civil servant, was born in Sao village, about 60 kilometers northwest of Ouagadougou, in the Mossi region of the present-day country of Burkina Faso. His mother was Datoumi Yaaré, from the village of Kaonghin; and his father, Gueta Wagdogo, was the son of Yiougo, the naba (Mossi chief) of Sao. Naba Yiougo supported Mogho Naba Wobgo (Boukary Koutu), the principal king of the four Mossi kingdoms, against a rebelling vassal, the naba of Lallé. In 1896, Mogho Naba Wobgo supported Gueta Wagdogo to attain the chieftaincy (whereupon he assumed the name “Naba Piiga”) after the death of Naba Yiougo. The meaning of Dim Delobsom’s name, “The king has returned the favor,” acknowledged the relationship between the two rulers.

Naba Piiga was unable to help his suzerain when the French column led by Captain Paul Voulet seized Ouagadougou on 1 September 1896 Mogho Naba ...

Article

Félicien, Endame Ndonge  

Jeremy Rich

Gabonese political leader, was born around 1890 in the Gabonese village of Mafou in the Estuary Province to a Fang family. His early life is obscure, but he may have served in the colonial army during World War I. He became a prominent figure only after 1920, when the French colonial administration chose to create a new system of state-appointed chiefs. These auxiliaries were to collect taxes, settle local disputes, and act as the auxiliaries for colonial administrators. Prior to 1920, Fang communities had organized themselves into clans rather than by territory. The social dislocation caused by forced recruitment, economic recession, famines, and Spanish influenza during World War I greatly weakened the armed resistance led by Fang clans against the French that had so characterized Fang communities from the 1880s to 1914 It is unclear why Endame Ndong was selected as the African district chief of ...

Article

Gagoangwe  

Judith Imel Van Allen

mohumagadi (queen or queen-mother) successively of the Mmanaana Kgatla and BaNgwaketse (subgroups of the BaTswana in the Bechuanaland Protectorate, present-day Botswana), was born around 1845. She was also regent of the BaNgwaketse for her grandson, Bathoen II, later a prominent leader in colonial and postindependence politics. Gagoangwe was a daughter of Sechele I, king (kgosi) of the BaKwena, and his wife Mokgokong. As a child, Gagoangwe put out the eye of a servant, and her militantly Christian father, asserting both the biblical injunction of “an eye for an eye” and a certain equality among BaKwena, allowed the servant to blind his own daughter in return. She later became known as the “one-eyed queen.”

Gagoangwe first married Kgosi Pilane of the Mmanaana Kgatla, but in 1875 eloped with Bathoen I, heir to rulership (bogosi of the BaNgwaketse and later married him Gagoangwe was a devout Christian and an ...

Article

Gawrang II, Abdul Rahman  

Jeremy Rich

mbang (king) of the Chadian Baguirmi kingdom, was born in the middle of the nineteenth century. In his youth, his predecessor Ab Sakin battled numerous internal and external foes to retain his title as mbang. Bagurimi had long been dragged into disputes between its neighbors: the kingdom of Bornu to the west and the kingdom of Wadai to the east. Since the successes of Wadai’s dynamic ruler Sabun in the early nineteenth century, Wadai had treated Bagurimi as a vassal state. Ab Sakin tried to break free from Wadai, and a Wadaian army destroyed the Bagurimian capital of Massenya in 1871 in retaliation. Ab Sakin continued to fight against the Wadai and other claimants to the throne of Baguirmi. Yusuf, Sultan of Wadai, decided to impose a new king on Baguirmi more favorable to Wadai’s influence. At Ab Sakin’s death in 1884 Yusuf ensured the victory of Abdul ...

Article

Gitera, Joseph  

Sterling Recker

Rwandan politician and prime minister is a Hutu who came of age under Belgian colonial rule Gitera was educated in a Catholic seminary which had been established by the Belgian colonial powers The institutions of colonialism and the Catholic Church had both favored Tutsi supremacy for most of Gitera s life which contributed to his ideological development and his determined focus on revolution and reform by the late 1950s Gitera was a businessman who went on to create a political party which was ostensibly based on class interests as opposed to the principles of ethnicity but nevertheless attracted only Hutu members He challenged the privileges that Tutsi held and demanded independence for Rwanda during the 1950s Gitera was attempting to appeal to all Rwandans regardless of ethnicity by using nationalist ideology to create a movement against the colonial powers and church influence both of which were supportive of the Tutsi ...

Article

Habyarimana, Juvénal  

Phillip A Cantrell

last president of pregenocide Rwanda, was born on 8 March 1937 in Gisenyi to a prosperous Hutu family. Following primary school, he graduated from the College of Saint Paul in Bukavu, Zaire, with a degree in mathematics and the humanities. Habyarimana had completed a year of medical school at Lovanium University in Zaire when Grégorie Kayibanda assumed power in 1959, at which time he left Lovanium to enter the officer training school in Kigali. Upon graduating with distinction in 1961, he became an aid to the Belgian commander of the colonial forces in Rwanda; two years later, owing to his education and charisma, he was named head of the Rwanda National Guard. In 1965 he was promoted to head the Ministry of the National Guard and Police, a cabinet-level position which made him the most powerful figure in the Rwandan military.

Initially Habyarimana was a steadfast supporter of ...

Article

Idris Katakarmabe  

Dierk Lange

ruler of the western African kingdom of Bornu (also Borno, Bornou) (c. 1487–1509), is most known for having launched two military campaigns against the Bulala in view of the reconquest of Kanem, the ancient homeland of the Sefuwa. In consequence of the destruction of the Mune shrine by Dunama Dibbalemi (1203–1242), oppositional Duguwa groups had progressively reinforced their position in Bornu’s neighbor Kanem, the central province of the Sefuwa Empire. It would seem that the Bulala had split off from the Duguwa ruling group, which strove for the restitution of the former corporate state symbolized by the Mune shrine. They reinforced their position in the region of Fitri, southeast of Kanem, until they were finally strong enough to force the Sefuwa court to abandon their ancient capi tal, Njimi, and to retreat to Bornu c. 1380 During their first period in Bornu the Sefuwa were weakened by dynastic rivalry ...

Article

Iloo, Makoko  

Jeremy Rich

king of the Tio kingdom of the Téké people, was born at the village of Ngon, near the Gamboma River in modern Republic of the Congo. He belonged to a royal lineage since his probable grandfather, Opontaba, had been king. His kingdom engaged in several wars against Bobangui slave traders who lived north of the Malebo Pool on the Congo River in the mid-nineteenth century. The pool served as a vital meeting place for slave and ivory trading and had been controlled by Téké leaders for several centuries. Bobangui forces ultimately forced Iloo to make some concessions toward their demand for trading rights on the pool in the 1850s or 1860s. Between 1865 and 1870 Iloo was elected king by a group of powerful noble leaders The monarchy did not pass down directly from father to son among the Téké Kings were chosen by negotiations between a council of ...

Article

Kanuni  

Heike Becker

hompa (queen) of the Kwangali people in the northeastern Namibian Okavango region for more than thirty-five years, was probably born around the turn of the twentieth century. Very little is known about her background except that she was a member of the Kwangali royal clan. Her exact date of birth is unknown, but she was described as a young woman when she first came to power in 1923.

Kanuni became a regent in 1923 after the death of the previous hompa, Kandjimi. As a sister to both the previous hompa and his successor, she first reigned in place of the new hompa Mbuna who was still very young but had been chosen as Kandjimi s successor and approved by the colonial authorities under the newly established Native Commissioner for the Okavango District René Dickmann Mbuna also referred to as Kandjimi II died in an accident in the ...

Article

Kayibanda, Grégoire  

Phillip A Cantrell

first president of Rwanda, was born on 1 May 1924 in Tare, Rwanda, to a Mushi father from the Belgian Congo and a Hutu mother. Kayibanda was educated at the Petit Séminaire and Grand Séminaire, both in Nyakibanda. Following his formal education, he worked as a primary school teacher in Kigali at the Institute Classe until 1952.

While in Kigali, he became involved in a Rwandan cultural association known as the Amitiés Belgo-Congolaises and wrote several articles for a monthly periodical called L’Ami, published by the Catholic seminary at Kabgayi. In 1953 Kayibanda left his teaching post to become a secretary for the education inspection division in Kabgayi and edited L’Ami. By 1955 Kayibanda was working as the personal secretary to Monsignor Andre Perraudin and as an editor for the Church-owned newspaper, Kinyameteka, becoming its editor-in-chief in 1956 In December of that year the Church ...

Article

Kgosi Seepapitso IV  

Maitseo Bolaane

king of the Bangwaketse in Botswana, was born in Thaba Nchu, Lesotho, on 17 August 1933, the eldest son of Kgosi Bathoen II, paramount chief of the Bangwaketse ethnic group, and Mohumagadi Ester Mafane, a princess of the Barolong boo Seleka. Between 1946 and 1949, Seepapitso started his primary education at Rachele Primary School in Kanye, headquarters of GaNgwaketse District. He was later sent to Tiger Kloof Institution in Vryburg, South Africa, to complete his primary education and continue his secondary education. Seepapitso’s parents were staunch believers in education and Congregational Christianity, and Tiger Kloof Institution in Vryburg had been established by the London Missionary Society.

In 1956 the South African apartheid government began regulating education at Tiger Kloof with the introduction of Bantu education As a result Seepapitso left Tiger Kloof for Moeding College a school in Bechuanaland Protectorate now Botswana that was modeled on the ...

Article

Kigeri IV  

Phillip A Cantrell

mwami (king) of Rwanda from 1860 to 1895, was the descendant of a long line of monarchs who ruled a steadily expanding Tutsi kingdom in central Rwanda. During his thirty-five years as mwami, Kigeri (also known as Rwabugiri) received the first Europeans explorers into Rwanda and vastly enlarged the kingdom, establishing the territorial basis for the modern state. His efforts to centralize his rule resulted in the permanent subjugation of the Hutu majority and the creation of an ethnic/racial divide that haunts Rwanda down to the present.

Determined to expand the power of his throne Kigeri mobilized the populace into armed regiments to engage in wars of expansion against neighboring kingdoms in every direction even southward into present day Burundi As the kingdom grew Kigeri centralized and expanded the powers of the Tutsi monarchy Hereditary clan chiefs who in many cases were Hutu chiefs were replaced by royal ...

Article

Kumalo, Lobengula  

Enocent Msindo

king of Matabele (in present-day Zimbabwe), was born in the late 1830s to Mzilikazi Matshobana Kumalo (clan name), the first Ndebele king who occupied Matabeleland of Zimbabwean in 1838, having migrated with his clan from Natal, South Africa, in the 1820s. As a child of a minor Swazi wife, Lobengula became king by chance because the would-be heir Nkulumane’s whereabouts were unknown, perhaps because he had been killed for trying to usurp power or because he had exiled himself in Natal. Therefore, when Lobengula came to power, he was initially viewed as an illegitimate successor (especially by the Zvangendaba royal faction). This background would perhaps influence his style of rule, which was a mixture of the authoritarian style of his predecessor and a more consultative approach that Ndlovu-Gatsheni (2003) controversially called the “democratic” style of governance characteristic of Ndebele settled life. Lobengula was inaugurated on 22 January 1870 ...

Article

Langalibalele  

Michael R. Mahoney

was king of the Hlubi people in southern Africa. The upheavals that plagued the area of the present-day province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa in the late 1700s and early 1800s had led to the killing of the king, Mthimkhulu, and the scattering of his people. In the early 1800s a large number of the Hlubi settled along the upper reaches of the Thukela river and attempted to reconstitute the chiefdom, naming Mthimkhulu’s son Dlomo as their king. Dlomo was himself killed at the orders of the Zulu king Dinuzulu. The Hlubi kingship then fell to Langalibalele, also known as Mthethwa. However, Langalibalele’s cousin Mini contested the throne. The resulting succession dispute was only resolved when Mini was killed by Dingane’s soldiers.

When the Boers and later the British annexed Natal in the late 1830s and early 1840s and the Thukela became the border between Natal and the Zulu kingdom ...