Samuel Ajayi Crowther 100 Greatest Africans

Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther (c. 1809 – 31 December 1891) was a linguist and the first African Anglican bishop in Nigeria. Born in Osogun, Yorubaland (in today's Iseyin Local Government, Oyo State, Nigeria), Rev. Dr. Samuel Ajayi Crowther was a member of the Creole ethnic group.

Ajayi was in his 12th year when he was captured, along with his mother and toddler brother and other family members, along with his entire village, by Muslim Fulani slave raiders in 1821 and sold to Portuguese slave traders. Before leaving port, his ship was boarded by a Royal Navy ship under the command of Captain Henry Leeke, and Crowther was taken to Freetown, Sierra Leone and released. While there, Crowther was cared for by the Anglican Church Missionary Society, who taught him English. He converted to Christianity, was baptized by Rev. John Raban, and took the name Samuel Crowther in 1825. While in Freetown, Crowther became interested in languages. In 1826 he was taken to England to attend Islington Parish School. He returned to Freetown in 1827 and attended the newly-opened Fourah Bay College, an Anglican missionary school, where his interest in language found him studying Latin and Greek but also Temne. After completing his studies he began teaching at the school. He also married Asano (i.e. Hassana; she was formerly Muslim), baptised Susan, a schoolmistress, who was also on the Portuguese slave ship that originally brought Crowther to Sierra Leone.

In 1841 Crowther was selected to accompany the missionary James Frederick Schön on an expedition along the Niger River. Together with Schön, he was expected to learn Hausa for use on the expedition. The goal of the expedition was to spread commerce, teach agricultural techniques, spread Christianity, and help end the slave trade. Following the expedition, Crowther was recalled to England, where he was trained as a minister and ordained by the bishop of London. He returned to Africa in 1843 and with Henry Townsend, opened a mission in Abeokuta, in today's Ogun State, Nigeria.

Rev. Dr. Crowther began translating the Bible into the Yoruba language and compiling a Yoruba dictionary. In 1843, a grammar book which he started working on during the Niger expedition was published; and a Yoruba version of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer followed later. He also began codifying other languages. Following the British Niger Expeditions of 1854 and 1857, Crowther produced a primer for the Igbo language in 1857, another for the Nupe language in 1860, and a full grammar and vocabulary of Nupe in 1864.

In 1864, Crowther was ordained as the first African bishop of the Anglican Church. That same year he also received a Doctor of Divinity from Oxford University. Bishop Crowther was on the island of Madeira in the Atlantic Ocean west of Morocco for a conference. He was accompanied by his son, Dandeson, an archdeacon, on church business in March 1881.

Bishop Dr. Crowther's attention was directed more and more to languages other than Yoruba, but he continued to supervise the translation of the Yoruba Bible (Bibeli Mimọ), which was completed in the mid-1880s, a few years before his death. In 1891, Crowther suffered a stroke and died on the last day of that year.

His grandson Herbert Macaulay became one of the first Nigerian nationalists and played an important role in ending British colonialism in Nigeria.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

SHaka Zulu 100 Greatest Africans

Shaka was born circa 1787, son of a minor Zulu chief, but his mother was an unranked woman, and Shaka was a humiliated and discredited child. Taking refuge with his mother in the court of the Zulu leader of the day, he grew up to become a great military leader. When the Zulu leader was murdered by a rival clan, Shaka assumed the throne.

Tragedy on a vast scale struck Southern Africa in the early 1800's. This event was named the "Mfecane" ('the crushing of people') by the Nguni, and the "Difaqane" ('the scattering of tribes') by the Sotho and Tswana. The Afrikaners and the British called the catastrophe "the Wars of Calamity". By 1825, two and half million starving, homeless people wandered about southern Africa looking for respite.

The causes of the Mfecane were many. Introduced from the Americas, corn (maize) flourished in the mild seasons of southern Africa. Not carefully managed, corn depleted the soil of nutrients. As the local population increased, they competed for more land to cultivate corn and to graze livestock. Starting in 1800, a long drought then made southern Africa inhospitable. Peoples moved in search of food, and fought for meager supplies. The Mfengu called the drought, "madlatule" ('eat what you can and say nothing').

During this period Shaka reorganized the Zulu into a military clan, and he soon made them into a force unchallenged in Southern African kingdoms. He introduced the shorter 'stabbing' spear that replaced the traditional long and awkward 'throwing' spear. On the battlefield, he developed the now-famous "horns of the bull" formation (a two-pronged attack). Conquering tribe after tribe, he assimilated all his conquests into the Zulu nation, making it swell with numbers and power, but also causing the displacement of thousands. His actions were partly responsible for spreading the Southern African tribes as far away as Mozambique.

Although he maintained a good relationship with the Europeans in Africa, including the Colonial authorities, he was disliked by other Africans, including his own people, who suffered under his long, cruel and debilitating rule of constant war.

After 10 years of unrelenting warfare that placed incredible strains on the Zulu nation, Shaka, always psychologically unstable and obsessively worried about being replaced by an heir, finally snapped into derangement after the death of his mother in 1828. He imposed a year of celibacy on his people and executed anyone who did not show enough grief at the death of his mother. He was murdered within the year by his half-brother, Dingane, who succeeded him as ruler.

Even though he created brutal conditions for his subjects, it was his legacy that created the powerful Zulu Kingdom and consolidated a nation and its pride.

Saint Augustine 100 Greatest Africans

Saint Augustine’s books, essays and letters of Christian Revelation are probably more influential in the history of thought than any other Christian writer since St. Paul, namely his Confessions, sermons on the Gospel and the Epistle of John, the The Trinity (400-416) and what he finished late in life, the The City of God (426), writings that deal with the opposition between Christianity and the `world' and represents the first Christian philosophy of history. He also wrote of the controversies with Manicheans, Pelagians, and Donatists which helped lead to his ideas on Creation, Grace, the Sacraments and the Church. There is a massive collection of his writings and they also include: Soliloquies (386-387), On Grace and Free Will. (426) Retractions (426-427) and Letters (386-430).

Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430), bishop and Doctor of the Church is best known for his Confessions (401), his autobiographical account of his conversion. The term augustinianism evolved from his writings that had a profound influence on the church.

Augustine was born at Tagaste (now Algeria) in North Africa on 13 November, 354. His father, Patricius, while holding an official position in the city remained a pagan until converting on his deathbed. His mother, Saint Monica, was a devout Christian. She had had Augustine signed with the cross and enrolled among the catechumens but unable to secure his baptism. Her grief was great when young Augustine fell gravely ill and agreed to be baptised only to withdraw his consent upon recovery, denouncing the Christian faith.

At the encouragement of Monica, his extensive religious education started in the schools of Tagaste (an important part of the Roman Empire) and Madaura until he was sixteen. He was off to Carthage next in 370, but soon fell to the pleasures and excesses of the half pagan city’s theatres, licentiousness and decadent socialising with fellow students. After a time he confessed to Monica that he had been living in sin with a woman with whom he had a son in 372, Adeodatus, (which means Gift of God).

Still a student, and with a newfound desire to focus yet again on exploration of his faith, in 373 Augustine became a confirmed Manichaean, much against his mother’s wishes. He was enticed by its promise of free philosophy which attracted his intellectual interest in the natural sciences. It did not however erase his moral turmoil of finding his faith. His intellect having attained full maturity, he returned to Tagaste then Carthage to teach rhetoric, being very popular among his students. Now in his thirties, his spiritual journey led him away from Manichaeism after nine years because of disagreement with its cosmology and a disenchanting meeting with the celebrated Manichaean bishop, Faustus of Mileve.

Passing through yet another period of spiritual struggle, Augustine went to Italy in 383, studying Neo-platonic philosophy. Enthralled by his kindness and generous spirit, he became a pupil of Ambrose. At the age of thirty-three, the epiphany and clarity of purpose which Augustine had sought for so long finally came to him in Milan in 386 through a vast stream of tears as he lay prostrate under a fig tree. He was baptised by Ambrose in 387 much to the eternal delight of his mother, “..nothing is far from God.” The next event in his life leads to some of the most profound and exquisite writings on love and grief; the death of his mother Monica.

Surrounded by friends, Augustine now returned to his native Tagaste where he devoted himself to the rule in a quasi-monastic life to prayer and studying sacred letters and to finding harmony between the philosophical questions that plagued his mind and his faith in Christianity. He was ordained as priest in 391.

For the next five years Augustine’s priestly life was fruitful, consisting of administration of church business, tending to the poor, preaching and writing and acting as judge for civil and ecclesiastical cases, always the defender of truth and a compassionate shepherd of souls. At the age of forty-two he then became coadjutor-bishop of Hippo. From 396 till his death in 439, he ruled the diocese alone. At that point the Roman Empire was in disintegration, and at the time of his death the Vandals where at the gates of Hippo. 28 August, 430, in the seventy-sixth year of his age Augustine succumbed to a fatal illness. His relics were translated from Sardinia to Pavia by Luitprand, King of the Lombards. Saint Augustine is often depicted as one of the Four Latin Doctors in many paintings, frescoes and stained glass throughout the world. “Unhappy is the soul enslaved by the love of anything that is mortal.” Saint Augustine. The cult of Augustine formed swiftly and was widespread. His feast is celebrated on 28 August.

William Tubman 100 Greatest Africans

William Tubman was elected President in 1943 on a platform of economic growth and increased civil and political rights for all Liberians. One of the first official acts of Tubman's administration was the declaration of war against Nazi Germany and Japan. Liberia became an important country in the supply line of the Allied troops. The U.S. constructed the Free Port of Monrovia and built a temporary landing strip on the beaches of Robertsport.

Tubman enfranchised native Liberians and women for the 1951 election. However, this fact, although pleasing to those groups and the international community, did not change the electoral outcome as Tubman used the True Whig-controlled electoral machinery to produce fraudulent results. This, however, did not significantly harm his popularity in Liberia throughout his lifetime. Regarded as a pro-Western, stabilizing influence in West Africa, Tubman was courted by many Western politicians, notably U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson. Meanwhile, Tubman courted Amy Ashwood Garvey, and had a long-term relationship with her.

A gunman attempted to assassinate Tubman in 1955 at the behest of his political opponents, after which he cracked down brutally on any known opposition politicians.

Tubman's term is best known for the policies of National Unification and the economic Open Door. He tried to reconcile the interests of the native tribes with those of the Americo-Liberian elite, and increased foreign investment in Liberia to stimulate economic growth. These policies led to the crowning achievement of the Liberian economy during the 1950s, when it had the second largest rate of economic growth in the world.

At his death in 1971 in a London clinic, Liberia had the largest mercantile fleet in the world, the world's largest rubber industry, the third largest exporter of iron ore in the world and had attracted more than US$1 billion in foreign investment. He was succeeded as President by his long-time vice president William Tolbert. The economic prosperity of Liberia at this time would unleash political dissent with the autocratic rule of Tubman and the True Whig Party, leading to the overthrow of the True Whig oligarchy in 1980 by Samuel Doe. This would also destroy the economic prosperity of Liberia's golden age.

Sir Seretse Khama 100 Greatest Africans

Seretse Khama was the first prime minister of Botswana, and from 1966 to his death in 1980, he served as the country's first president.

Date of Birth: 1 July 1921, Serowe, Bechuanaland.
Date of Death: 13 July 1980.
An Early Life:

Seretse (the name means "the clay that binds together") Khama was born in Serowe, British Protectorate of Bechunaland, on 1 July 1921. His grandfather, Kgama III, was paramount chief (Kgosi) of the Bama-Ngwato, part of the Tswana people of the region. Kgama III had traveled to London in 1885, leading a delegation which asked for Crown protection to be given to Bechuanaland, foiling the empire building ambitions of Cecil Rhodes and the incursions of the Boers.
Kgosi of the Bama-Ngwato:

Kgama III died in 1923 and the paramountcy briefly passed to his son Sekgoma II, who died a couple of years later (in 1925). At the age of four Seretse Khama effectively became Kgosi and his uncle Tshekedi Khama was made regent.
Studying at Oxford and London:

Seretse Khama was educated in South Africa and graduated from Fort Hare College in 1944 with a BA. In 1945 he left for England to study law -- Initially for a year at Balliol College, Oxford, and then at the Inner Temple, London. In June 1947 Seretse Khama first met Ruth Williams, a WAAF ambulance driver during World War II now working as a clerk at Lloyds. Their marriage in September 1948 threw southern Africa into political turmoil.
Repercussions for a Mixed Marriage:

The Apartheid government in South Africa had banned inter-racial marriages and the marriage of a black chief to a British white woman was a problem. The British government feared that South Africa would invade Bechuanaland or that it would immediately move for full independence. This was a concern because Britain was still heavily in debt after World War II and could not afford to lose the mineral wealth of South Africa, especially gold and uranium (needed for Britain's atomic bomb projects).

Back in Bechuanaland Tshekedi was annoyed -- he attempted to disrupt the marriage and demanding that Seretse return home to have it annulled. Seretse came back immediately and was received by Tshekedi with the words "You Seretse, come here ruined by others, not by me." Seretse fought hard to persuade the Bama-Ngwato people of his continued suitability as chief, and on 21 June 1949 at a Kgotla (a meeting of the elders) he was declared Kgosi, and his new wife was warmly welcomed.
Fit To Rule:

Seretse Khama returned to Britain to continue with his law studies, but was met with a Parliamentary investigation into his suitability for the chieftaincy -- whilst Bechuanaland was under its protection, Britain claimed the right to ratify any succession. Unfortunately for the government, the investigation's report concluded that Seretse was "eminently fit to rule" -- it was kept suppressed for thirty years. Seretse and his wife were banished him from Bechuanaland in 1950.
Nationalist Hero:

Under international pressure for its apparent racism, Britain relented and allowed Seretse Khama and his wife to return to Bechuanaland in 1956, but only if both he and his uncle renounced their claim to the chieftaincy. What hadn't been expected was the political acclaim that six years exile had given him back home -- Seretse Khama was acclaimed as a nationalist hero. In 1962 Seretse founded the Bechuanaland Democratic Party and campaigned for multi-racial reform.
Elected Prime Minister:

High on Seretse Khama's agenda was a need for democratic self-government, and he pushed the British authorities hard for independence. In 1965 the center of Bechuanaland government was moved from Mafikeng, in South Africa, to the newly established capital of Gaborone – and Seretse Khama was elected as Prime Minister. When the country achieved independence on 30 September 1966, Seretse became the first president of the Republic of Botswana. He was re-elected twice and died in office in 1980.
President of Botswana:

"We stand virtually alone in our belief that a non-racial society can work now, but there are those .. who will be only too delighted to see our experiment fail."

Seretse Khama used his influence with the country's various ethnic groups and traditional chiefs to create a strong, democratic government. During his rule Botswana had the most rapidly growing economy of the world (remember it started very low) and the discovery of diamond deposits allowed the government to finance the creation of a new social infrastructure. The country's second major export resource, beef, allowed for the development of wealthy entrepreneurs.

Whilst in power Seretse Khama refused to allow neighbouring liberation movements to establish camps in Botswana, but permitted transit to camps in Zambia -- this resulted in several raids from South Africa and Rhodesia. He also played a prominent role in the negotiated transition from White minority rule in Rhodesia to multi-racial rule in Zimbabwe. He was also a key negotiant in the creation of the Southern African Development Co-ordination Conference (SADCC) which was launched in April 1980, shortly before his death.

On 13 July 1980 Seretse Khama died in office of pancreatic cancer. Quett Ketumile Joni Masire, his vice president, took office and served (with re-election) until March 1998.

Since Seretse Khama's death, Batswanan politicians and cattle barons have begun to dominate the country's economy, to the detriment of the working classes. The situation is more serious for the minority Bushman peoples (Basarwa Herero, etc) which form only 6% of the country's population, with pressure for land around the Okavango Delta increasing as cattle ranchers and mines move in.

Thomas Joseph Mboya

Tom (Thomas Joseph Odhiambo) Mboya's parents were members of the Luo tribe (the second largest tribe at that time) in Kenya Colony. Despite his parents being relatively poor (they were agricultural workers) Mboya was educated at various Catholic mission schools, completing his secondary school education at the prestigious Mangu High School. Unfortunately his meagre finances ran out in his final year and he was unable to complete the national examinations.

Between 1948 and 1950 Mboya attended the sanitary inspectors school in Nairobi - it was one of the few places which also provided a stipend during training (although small this was enough to live independently in the city). On completion of his course he was offered an inspectors position in Nairobi, and shortly afterwards asked to stand as secretary of the African Employees Union. In 1952 he founded the Kenya Local Government Workers Union, KLGWU.

1951 had seen the start of the Mau Mau rebellion (guerrilla action against the European land ownership) in Kenya and in 1952 the colonial British government declared a state of emergency. Politics and ethnicity in Kenya were closely intertwined -- the majority of Mau Mau members were from the Kikuyu, Kenya's largest tribe, as were the leaders of Kenya's emerging African political organisations. By the end of the year Jomo Kenyatta and over 500 other suspected Mau Mau members had been arrested.

Tom Mboya stepped into the political vacuum by accepting the post of treasurer in Kenyatta's party, the Kenya African Union (KAU), and taking effective control of nationalist opposition to British rule. In 1953, with support from the British Labour Party, Mboya brought Kenya's five most prominent labour unions together as the Kenya Federation of Labour, KFL. When the KAU was banned later that year, the KFL became the largest "officially" recognised African organisation in Kenya.

Mboya became a prominent figure in Kenyan politics - organising protests against mass removals, detention camps, and secret trials. The British Labour Party arranged for a year's scholarship (1955--56) to Oxford University, studying industrial management at Ruskin College. By the time he returned to Kenya the Mau Mau rebellion had been effectively quashed. Over 10,000 Mau Mau rebels were estimated to have been killed during the disturbance, compared to just over 100 Europeans.

In 1957 Mboya formed the People's Convention Party and was elected to join the colony's legislative council (Legco) as one of only eight African members. He immediately began to campaign (forming a bloc with his African colleagues) to demand equal representation -- and the legislative body was reformed with 14 African and 14 European delegates, representing over 6 million Africans and almost 60,000 whites respectively.

In 1958 Mboya attended a convention of African nationalists at Accra, Ghana. He was elected chairman and declared it "the proudest day of my life." The following year he received his first honorary doctorate, and helped set up the African-American Students Foundation which raised money to subsidise the cost of flights for East African students studying in America. In 1960 the Kenya African National Union, KANU, was formed from the remnants of the KAU and Mboya elected secretary-general.

In 1960 Jomo Kenyatta was still being held in detention. Kenyatta, a Kikuyu, was considered by a majority of Kenyans to be the country's nationalist leader, but there was great potential for ethnic division amongst the African population. Mboya, as a representative of the Luo, the second largest tribal group, was a figurehead for political unity in the country. Mboya campaigned for Kenyatta's release, duly achieved on 21 August 1961, after which Kenyatta took the limelight.
Kenya achieved independence within the British Commonwealth on 12 December 1963 -- Queen Elizabeth II was still the head of state. One year later a republic was declared, with Jomo Kenyatta as president. Tom Mboya was initially given the post of Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, and was then moved to Minister for Economic Planning and Development in 1964. He remained a defiant spokesman for Luo affairs in a government heavily dominated by Kikuyu.

Mboya was being groomed by Kenyatta as a potential successor, a possibility which deeply worried many of the Kikuyu elite. When Mboya suggested in parliament that a number of Kikuyu politicians (including members of Kenyatta's extended family) were enriching themselves at the cost of other tribal groups, the situation became highly charged.

On 5 July 1969 the nation was shocked by the assassination of Tom Mboya by a Kikuyu tribesman. Allegations linking the assassin to prominent KANU party members were dismissed, and in the ensuing political turmoil Jomo Kenyatta banned the opposition party, the Kenya People's Union (KPU), and arrested it's leader Oginga Odinga (who was also a leading Luo representative).

Haile Gebrselassie 100 Greatest Africans

Haile Gebrselassie

Haile Gebrselassie, a long-distance runner, was born on April 18, 1973 in Asella, Arsi Province, Ethiopia and currently lives in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. His elder brother, Tekeye, is an international marathon runner and his younger brother, Belay, is also a promising runner.

To his friends and close ones he is known by his nick name “Geb”. During his childhood, Haile Gebrselassie grew up in a farm and had to run 10 kilometers daily to go to school, which laid the foundation for his running career.

Athlete Haile Gebrselassie Reveaedl part 1 CNN

In 1992, Haile Gebrselassie made his presence felt in the international sporting scene by winning the 5000 meters and 10000 meters races at the 1992 Junior World Championships in Seoul and also won a silver medal in the Junior Race at the World Cross Country Championships. In the following year, he won the World Championships title in the Men's 10000 meters. In 1994, he set his first world record by
running 5000 meter with a timing of 12:56.96.

In 1995, Haile Gebrselassie ran the 5000 meters in an astonishing 12:44.39 minutes at Zürich, Switzerland and broke the world record 12:55.30, which was earlier held by Kenya’s Moses Kiptanui. This world record at the Weltklasse meet in Zürich was voted "Performance of the Year" by Track and Field News magazine. At the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Haile Gebrselassie won his first Olympic gold in the 10000 meter race.

Couple of years later, in Hengelo, Netherlands, Haile Gebrselassie set a 10000 meters world record by finishing with 26:22.75 and broke Paul Tergat's world record of 26:27.85. He maintained his good form in 2000, by winning all the events in which he participated and ranked first in 5000 and 10000 meters race category. With this success run, he entered the 2000 Sydney Olympics and became the third man in history to successfully defend an Olympic 10000 meters title after Emil Zátopek and Lasse Virén.
Haile Gebrselassie made his debut in marathon by participating in the London Marathon and finished third. At the 2004 Athens Olympics, he missed out on the 10000 meters race; following this race he stopped taking part in track events. In 2005, Haile Gebrselassie went undefeated in all of his road races, which includes a British All-Comers record in the 10K at Manchester, a win in the Amsterdam Marathon by setting the record for the fastest marathon time in the world for 2006 (2:06:20), and a new world best for 10 miles in Tilburg, Netherlands (44:24).

Haile Gebrselassie started 2006 on a promising note by beating the world half marathon record, which he broke on the American soil. In the same event, he also broke Paul Tergat's 20 km record and also broke the 25 km world road record. In 2007, he made his running debut in New York City by winning the New York City Half Marathon.

Haile Gebrselassie decided not to take part in the 2008 Beijing Olympics due to high air pollution levels in the city.

He starred in the movie Endurance, which was based on his life and career. Haile Gebrselassie wants to enter politics after retiring from the sport.

Watch Haile Gebrselassie at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney - One of the best runs ever


Fela Anikulapo Kuti, born in Abeokuta, Nigeria in 1938, was a singer-composer, trumpet, sax and keyboard player, bandleader, and politician. Kuti was one of Africa's most controversial musicians and throughout his life he continued to fight for the rights of the common man (and woman) despite vilification, harassment, and even imprisonment by the government of Nigeria. Born to Yoruban parents, Kuti was strongly influenced by both parents, his mother being Funmilayo, a leading figure in the nationalist struggle. Practically all of his records are dominated by political events and discussions from the approach of Pan-Africanism.

Fela Kuti - Teacher Don't teach Me No Nonsense

In 1954, Kuti joined the Cool Cats as a singer in that highlife band (highlife being the rage of the Lagos music scene at the time). During this period Kuti developed his own unusual sound which he described as highlife-jazz. In 1968 Kuti announced the arrival of Afro-beat, within the year was promoting his sound all over the USA on a 10-month tour where he became influenced by American jazz. When he returned to his homeland he opened a nightclub, the Shrine, and changed the name of his band to Africa 70 (and later to Egypt 80). His bands traditionally included the typical huge line-up consisting of many singers and dancers, numerous saxophonists, trumpeteers, drummers, percussionists, and of course, many guitarists blending African rhythms and jazz horn lines with politicized song lyrics. His music was intricate, rather than calling it Afro-beat you might more arguably consider it Afro-jazz. Entire recordings often consisted of just a few songs and this propensity for jamming set up a roadblock for Fela to attain commercial acceptance in the United States. He also abhored performing a song after recording it, and this led to audience disinterest in the U.S. where the people wanted their music to be recognizable hits.

Kuti continued his outspoken attacks on the Nigerian government. When the people returned to power in 1979, Kuti began his own political party - MOP (Movement of the People). The military returned to power in 1983 and within the year Kuti was sentenced to five years in prison on a spurious currency smuggling charge. He was released in 1986 after yet another change of government.

Fela Anikulapo Kuti died on Saturday, August 2, 1997, in Lagos, Nigeria. It had been rumoured for some time that Fela had a serious illness he was refusing treatment for, many said he was suffering from prostate cancer. But as it turns out, Fela died from complications due to AIDS. As Fela's brother, Olikoye Ransome Kuti, said at a news conference:

"The immediate cause of death of Fela was heart failure, but there were many complications arising from the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome".
Fela was a man with great influence in the African music world, he is irreplaceable and his presence will be sorely misssed.


Samora Machel (September 29, 1933 - October 19, 1986) was a prominent leader of FRELIMO and president of Mozambique.

Samora Machel was born in the village of Madragoa , Gaza Province, Portuguese East Africa , to a family of farmers. He was a member of the Shangana ethnic group and his grandfather had been an active collaborator of Gungunhana. Under Portuguese rule, his father, a native, was forced to accept lower prices for his crops than white farmers; compelled to grow labor-intensive cotton, which took time away from the food crops needed for his family; and forbidden to brand his mark on his cattle to prevent thievery. However, Machel's father was a successful farmer he owned four plows and 400 head of cattle by 1940. Machel grew up in this farming village and attended mission elementary school. In 1942, he was sent to school in the town of Zonguene in Gaza Province. The school was run by Catholic missionaries who educated the children in Portuguese language and culture. Although having completed the fourth grade, Machel never completed his secondary education. However, he had the prerequisite certificate to train as a nurse anywhere in Portugal at the time, since the nursing schools were not degree-conferring institutions. Machel started to study nursing in the capital city of Louren o Marques , beginning in 1954. In the 1950s, he saw some of the fertile lands around his farming community on the Limpopo river appropriated by the provincial government and worked by white settlers who developed a wide range of new infrastructure for the region. Like many other Mozambicans near the southern border of Mozambique, some of his relatives went to work in the South African mines where additional job opportunities were found. Shortly afterwards, one of his brothers was killed in a mining accident. Unable to complete formal training at the Miguel Bombarda Hospital in Louren o Marques, he got a job working as an aide in the same hospital and earned enough to continue his education at night school. He worked at the hospital until he left the country to join the Mozambican nationalist struggle in neighbouring Tanzania.

 1962 Machel joined left-wing FRELIMO guerilla movement and received military training. He became leader of FRELIMO on 1968. On 1969 he became its president.

Mozambique became independent in the aftermath of Portugal military coup in 1974. FRELIMO took over in Mozambique in June 25 1975. Machel became the president. He advocated the formation of society based on Marxist ideals.

Machel had to face economical troubles and side effects of the Rhodesian civil war. Mozambique was economically dependent of South Africa with its hostile Apartheid government and had to fight Renamo guerilla movement they supported. Soviet economic aid was sporadic. At the same time he supported African National Congress and allowed South African and Rhodesian rebels train in Mozambique. He remained a popular ruler.

On October 19, 1986 Machel was on his way back from an international meeting in Lusaka in Tupolev 134 plane when the plane crashed into the hillside in the Lebombo Mountains. 10 people survived but Machel and 33 others died, some of them members of his government. The accident was attributed to the error of Russian pilot but there has been speculation of complicity of South African security forces and that the plane had been intentionally diverted by a false navigational beacon signal.

Machel's successor was Joaquim Chissano.

His widow, Graça Machel, would later marry Nelson Mandela.

John Chilembwe 100 Greatest Africans

Brief life of an anticolonial rebel: 1871?-1915

by Robert I. Rotberg

Ninety years ago in what is now Malawi, a tall, asthmatic, American-trained Baptist preacher attempted bravely, in the manner of John Brown at Harper’s Ferry, to strike a strong blow against white racism. Was he a conscious martyr in the cause of African independence, or did John Chilembwe secretly suspect that he and a small group of fellow Africans could oust their overlords and gain control of their own destinies?

A contemporary Scottish missionary in then Nyasaland regarded Chilembwe (chil-EMB-way), before the fateful rebellion, as "above the ordinary type of mission native." A near-contemporary Malawian wrote, "He exhorted people [against] strong drinks…taught adults and children to keep on work, not to lounge about….He liked to see his country men work hard…and to see them smart, such as negro fellows he had seen in America….He preached against carnalist, murderer, robber…." Chilembwe’s Providence Industrial Mission, at Chiradzulu in the southern Shire Highlands of the British protectorate David Livingstone had inspired, was lauded for its vocational-education program, industriousness, and rather orthodox Baptist teachings. Unlike many African preachers of the day, Chilembwe was neither radical nor millennial. No one predicted that a man of his strict training would become a rebel.

The son of a Yao father, Chilembwe in 1892 joined the domestic staff of Joseph Booth, an eccentric, apocalyptic British fundamentalist missionary of Baptist persuasion. Critical of the established Scottish Presbyterian missions, where Chilembwe had been educated, Booth established the Zambesi Industrial Mission and propagated egalitarian ideas: "Candidly now, is it not a marvelous picture to see elegantly robed men…preaching a gospel of self-denial to men and women slaves….I have never felt so utterly ashamed…. We ought to…conform to [the] teaching [of the Gospel]." This gospel of African freedom alarmed the colonial government and other missionaries.

According to Booth, Chilembwe had a great desire to learn and write; he soon became a trusted companion of Booth’s children. In 1897, he traveled with Booth to Lynchburg, Virginia, where he attended a small African-American seminary, imbibed the ideological ferment of African-American intellectual circles, and learned about John Brown and other abolitionists and emancipators.

By 1900, Chilembwe was back in Nyasaland working for the American National Baptist Convention. Soon he had established a chain of independent African schools, constructed an impressive brick church, and planted crops of cotton, tea, and coffee. He sought to instill in fellow Africans a sense of self-respect.

In the years immediately preceding the 1915 rising, the area around Chilembwe’s mission was hit hard by famine. Immigrants flooded in from neighboring Mozambique, crowding the land available to local Africans, while white settlers seized the most fertile acres. A tax imposed on African huts forced many African men to find work in distant cities. Moreover, William Jervis Livingstone, a local plantation manager, treated his laborers (many of them Chilembwe’s parishioners) harshly and burned down Chilembwe’s rural churches. (After the rising, even protectorate officials admitted that conditions on the estate were "illegal and oppressive.") Chilembwe complained loudly about racism.

But his profound alienation followed the outbreak of World War I in Europe, and the recruitment, which Chilembwe deplored, of Nyasa men for battles against the Germans in neighboring Tanzania. "We understand that we have been invited to shed our innocent blood in this world’s war….[But] will there be any good prospects for the natives after…the war?" Chilembwe asked. "We are imposed upon more than any other nationality under the sun." The remainder of his open letter, signed "in behalf of his countrymen," was a sharp protest against the neglect of Africans.

A month later, in January 1915, Chilembwe decided to "strike a blow and die, for our blood will surely mean something at last." This was the only way, he declared, "to show the whiteman, that the treatment they are treating our men and women was most bad and we have determined to strike a first and a last blow, and then all die by the heavy storm of the white men’s army." He spoke to his 200 followers of the inspiration of John Brown, and warned them not to loot nor to molest white women. On January 23, in different attacks, his men beheaded Livingstone, killed two other white men and several Africans while sparing a number of white women and children, looted an ammunition store in a large nearby town, and retreated to pray. When the rising failed to arouse local support, a forlorn Chilembwe fled toward Mozambique. Unarmed, wearing a dark blue coat, a striped pajama jacket over a colored shirt, and gray flannel trousers, he was killed by African soldiers on February 3.

Chilembwe is revered as a hero in modern Malawi, which achieved independence in 1964. He was its first principled rebel, its first serious protester against colonial rule, and the first to shatter the widespread imperial belief that "the natives were happy" under foreign domination.

Chilembwe’s image also appears on the obverse of Malawian banknotes printed between 1994 and 2000.


Sam Nujoma is commonly referred to as ‘the father of the nation' and, indeed, his personality and achievements tower over Namibian politics and public life. Nujoma is the central figure in the liberation struggle that brought independence to Namibia and he is equally central to the policies and practices that have shaped Namibia since then.

Watch A documentary on Sam Nujoma

Nujoma was born in 1929 in Etunda in what was then called Owamboland. He attended a Finnish Lutheran mission school at Okahao and completed grade eight, which was as high as was possible for black Namibians in those days. In 1946, he moved to Walvis Bay where he worked in a store and then at a whaling station before moving to Windhoek to work as a cleaner on the South African Railways in 1959. In 1956 he visited Cape Town, where he met some of the Namibians working there who were opposed to South African policies in Namibia (then South West Africa) and wanted it to be placed under United Nations trusteeship. Soon afterwards they formed the Ovamboland People's Congress, forerunner of the Ovamboland People's Organisation (OPO), itself the forerunner of the South West Africa People's Organisation (SWAPO), the party that Nujoma eventually led to power in independent Namibia in 1990. Nujoma was the first and only president of the OPO.

After the shootings at Windhoek's Old Location in December 1959, political repression in Namibia increased and, with Nujoma facing the likelihood of being ‘internally exiled' to Owamboland, the OPO decided that he should join the other Namibians in exile who were lobbying the UN on behalf of the anti-colonial cause for Namibia. Nujoma left Namibia in February 1960 and, by various means, made his way to Tanzania, which was still the British colony of Tanganyika. There he received permission to address the UN Committee on South West Africa in New York and, while en route, visited the independent African countries of Ghana and Liberia. It was during this time that the decision was taken to give the OPO a national character by changing its name to the South West Africa People's Organisation (SWAPO), with Nujoma as its first, and thus far only, president. In New York, Nujoma addressed a number of UN committees, a forerunner of his involvement in international diplomacy that would intensify with the years.

With strong support from Julius Nyerere, the future leader of independent Tanzania, Nujoma established SWAPO's headquarters in Dar es Salaam, where other exiled Namibians began to join him. Thanks to their efforts, SWAPO gained important support and status, especially when the Organisation of African Unity recognized SWAPO in 1965. Nujoma worked tirelessly for SWAPO, setting up offices in various countries around the world, achieving significant diplomatic success when, in 1971, he was the first leader of an African liberation movement to address the UN Security Council. There was further success when in 1976 the UN General Assembly recognized SWAPO as ‘sole and authentic representative of the Namibian people'.

As the internal and external pressures on the South African regime increased, it began to negotiate over Namibia with the UN Security Council and its five-member Western Contact Group, comprising Britain, Canada, France, the United States, and West Germany. Nujoma led the SWAPO delegation in these negotiations, which eventually led to UN Security Council Resolution 435 and a comprehensive plan and set of measures for bringing Namibia to internationally recognized independence. With the connivance of the USA, South Africa managed to delay developments for nearly a decade until, finally, Resolution 435 was implemented on 1st April 1989. Nujoma returned to Namibia in triumph on 14th September of that year and led the successful SWAPO election campaign for the Constituent Assembly, which became the first parliament of independent Namibia and elected Nujoma as the first president of the country. Nujoma eventually served three terms, gaining larger majorities with each election, after the constitution was amended to allow him to stand for an extra term.

At independence, Namibia was gravely divided as a result of a century of colonialism, dispossession, and racial discrimination, compounded by armed struggle and propaganda. For instance, SWAPO had been so demonised by the colonial media and by official pronouncements that most white people, as well as many members of other groups, regarded the movement with the deepest fear, loathing, and suspicion. One of Nujoma's earliest achievements was to proclaim the policy of ‘national reconciliation', which aimed to improve and harmonise relations amongst Namibia's various racial and ethnic groups. Generally, under his presidency, Namibia made steady if unspectacular economic progress, maintained a democratic system with respect for human rights, observed the rule of law, and worked steadily to eradicate the heritage of apartheid in the interests of developing a non-racial society.


Dedan Kimathi Waciuri (October 31, 1920 - February 18, 1957) was a Kenyan rebel leader who fought against British colonization in Kenya in the 1950s. He was convicted and executed by the British colonial government. The British colonial government that ruled Kenya at the time considered him a terrorist, but many Kikuyu and other Kenyans viewed him as a freedom fighter of the Mau Mau Uprising.

Early life - Kimathi was born in Thenge Village Tetu division, Nyeri District. At the age of fifteen, he joined the local primary school, Karuna-ini, where he perfected his English skills. He would later use those language skills to write extensively before and during the uprising. He was a Debate Club member in his school. He was deeply religious and carried a Bible regularly. He worked for the forest department collecting tree seeds to help him foot his school bill. He later joined Tumutumu CSM School for his secondary learning, but dropped out for lack of funds.

He dabbled with several jobs but never felt fully settled. Notable was his enlisting with the army to fight in the Second World War in 1941. However, in 1944, he was expelled for misconduct. In 1946, he became a member of the Kenya African Union. In 1949, he started teaching at his old school Tumutumu, but left the job within two years.

Mau Mau movement - Nevertheless, he managed to be very influential to whomever he met through the string of jobs he was able to obtain. He became radically political in 1950. He involved himself with the Mau Mau, and later that year administered the oath of the Mau Mau, making him a marked man. He joined Forty Group, the militant wing of the defunct Kikuyu Central Association in 1951. He was elected as a local branch secretary of KAU in Ol' Kalou and Thomson's Falls area in 1952. He was briefly arrested in that same year, but escaped with the help of local police. This marked the beginning of his violent uprising. He formed Kenya Defence Council to co-ordinate all forest fighters in 1953.

In 1956, he was finally arrested with one of his wives, Wambui. He was sentenced to death by a court presided by Chief Justice Sir Kenneth O'Connor, while he was in a hospital bed at the General Hospital Nyeri. In the early morning of February 18, 1957 he was executed by the colonial government. The hanging took place at the Kamiti Maximum Security Prison

Legacy - Kimathi was buried in a mass grave and to this day the British government objects to his reburial as it felt (and continues to feel) that he was a terrorist. He is, however, viewed by many Kenyans especially from his tribe as a national hero. Many towns in Kenya have a building or street named after him, Including popular t-shirts designed to immortalize his image by brands like Jamhuri wear. The play "Trial of Dedan Kimathi" was written by Ngugi wa Thiong'o (the brother of a Mau Mau member) and provides a detailed account of Kimathi.

A statue of Kimathi is being built on Kimathi Street in Nairobi. Its foundation stone was laid in December 11, 2006 Kimathi was married to Mukami Kimathi. Among their children are sons Wachiuri and Maina and daughters Nyawira and Wanjugu


Maria de Lurdes Mutola (born October 27, 1972) is an athlete from Mozambique who has specialized in the 800 m. She was born in Maputo.

Mutola was born in the Chamanculo district of Maputo. Her father was employed by the railways and her mother was a market vendor. As a young girl she excelled in football. She played with boys, as there were no leagues or teams for girls. In 1988, at only fifteen years of age, she was encouraged to take up athletics by one of Mozambique's foremost literary figures, the poet Jose Craveirinha, who was a keen sports fan. His son Stelio, himself a former national long jump record holder, was Mutola's first coach. Not used to the intensive training, Mutola initially decided that running was not for her, but was persuaded to continue when it became obvious that she had immense potential. After a visit to Portugal, plans were made for her to join the Benfica athletics club but at the last minute the Mozambique government denied her permission. That year, after only a few months' training, she won a silver medal in the 800 m at the African Championships, before competing in the 1988 Summer Olympics. She ran a personal best time of 2:04.36, but finished last in her first round heat. Mutola was still only fifteen years old.

Over the next few years Mutola failed to improve on her best time, but still won gold at the African Championships in Cairo in 1990.

She faced little opposition in Mozambique and only trained properly in the run-up to big competitions. Attempts were made to organise scholarships for her to train abroad, but it was not until 1991 that, thanks to an International Olympic Committee Solidarity Program, she went to Oregon, USA to study and train. Springfield High School was the host school, due to the fact that there was a Portuguese-speaking staff member (Mutola spoke no English). She surprised many by finishing 4th in the final of the 1991 IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Tokyo, where her time of 1:57.63 constituted a World Junior Record. Mutola lost out on a medal because she was severely impeded in the final few metres by falling athletes and an unsuccessful protest was lodged.

At the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona there were great hopes for Mutola to win Mozambique's first Olympic medal. She ran strongly but faded badly in the home straight, eventually finishing fifth behind eventual winner Ellen van Langen. At the same Games, Mutola ran her only 1500 m at an international championship, placing 9th in the final. She also won the IAAF World Cup 800 m and was the only person to beat Ellen van Langen throughout the whole year.

Athletic domination

Over the next few years, Mutola dominated the 800 m event, winning the 800 m title at the 1993 and 1995 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Athletics and the 1993 IAAF World Championships in Athletics. At the latter event, held in Stuttgart she won by over two seconds, the biggest ever winning margin in an international women's 800 m final. A favourite for the world outdoor title in 1995 as well, she was disqualified in her semi final for stepping outside of her lane. Some consolation came at the Memorial van Damme meeting a few weeks after the championships, when she broke the world record for 1000 m, becoming the first woman ever to run the distance in less than two and a half minutes. She also went on to break the world indoor record for 1000 m.

Her immense success and her total domination of the event during this period can be attributed to the guidance that she has received since 1991 from Margo Jennings. Jennings was a track coach at Springfield High School and continued to coach Mutola even when she had relocated from Oregon to Johannesburg to escape the high pollen count. Jennings faxes Mutola's training schedules to her in South Africa, and has also coached other world class 800 m runners like Kelly Holmes, Namibian athlete Agnes Samaria and Tina Paulino, who is actually a distant relative of Mutola's.

At the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Mutola was a hot favourite for the gold, as she hadn't been beaten in an 800 m final since 1992 and her winning streak stretched to over forty 800 m and 1000 m finals. However, suffering from the flu, she ended up finishing third behind Svetlana Masterkova and Ana Quirot. Later in 1996 Mutola lost her world 1000 m record to Masterkova.

Status in 800 m race history

Mutola is often ranked as the greatest female 800 m runner of all time. She has not gained a world record, but her consistency, her record at major championships and her ability to compete at the highest levels of the sport for well over a decade are unmatched. (The 2008 Olympics were her sixth successive Olympics.)

Mutola won bronze in the 1997 IAAF World Championships in Athletics and silver in 1999. She also won the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Athletics in 1997, only weeks after her father had been killed in a car accident. She raced wearing a black ribbon and dedicated the victory to his memory. In total she has won nine world 800 m titles including both indoor and outdoor championships. She won the Commonwealth Games twice, after Mozambique was admitted to the Commonwealth in 1995, and has also won the IAAF World Cup event, representing the Africa team, four times consecutively.

Her greatest moment, though, came at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, when Mutola finally won Olympic gold. She beat her major rival Stephanie Graf and Kelly Holmes. She returned to Mozambique after her Olympic victory, huge crowds came to cheer her and a road was named after her in Maputo.

She continued her successes in the 2001 season, grabbing the world title in Edmonton and again in 2003 in Paris. It was widely felt that Mutola ran tactically during the 2003 race by setting a slow pace in order to aid her training partner Kelly Holmes. As a result of such a strategy Holmes was able to take silver. Mutola was unbeaten throughout 2003 and grabbed the headlines again that year, at the Memorial van Damme race in Belgium. By winning here, it meant that she became sole winner of the IAAF one million dollar jackpot, awarded to athletes who remained undefeated during the IAAF Golden League series of competitions. She put part of her winnings towards the foundation that she had established in her name in Mozambique.

Aiming to become the first woman to successfully defend the Olympic 800 m title in 2004, her fifth Olympics, Mutola ended up finishing fourth, and out of the medals. Despite carrying a hamstring injury, Mutola was in the gold medal position until the final few metres, when three athletes passed her, including the eventual champion, her former training partner Kelly Holmes. In 2005 her injuries were still lingering and she suffered several losses to opponents she would normally easily beat. She parted amicably with her coach Margo Jennings, before returning to good form in 2006, when she won the World Indoor title for a record seventh time.

At the 2007 IAAF World Championships, Mutola was in contention for a medal entering into the home straight, but pulled out of the race in the dying metres.

In 2008, the 800 metres African record held by Mutola was beaten by the young Pamela Jelimo of Kenya [1]. Mutola has decided that the 2008 Olympic Games would be her last major championships, and she finished fifth in the 800 metres Olympic final.

Other work

She was appointed an honorary United Nations youth ambassador in 2003 at a ceremony in Maputo, in recognition of her outstanding athletic achievements. Other youth ambassadors are musician Baaba Maal and basketball star Dikembe Mutombo. She cited the importance of raising awareness of HIV/AIDS issues amongst young people in Africa and also highlighted the benefits that sport can bring to young people. Indeed, her Lurdes Mutola Foundation aims to bring more young Mozambicans to sport and to assist in helping them achieve their sporting and educational potential. Other initiatives that Mutola and her Foundation have been involved in include a Ministry of Health / UNICEF immunisation campaign against measles and polio and housing development initiatives in Maputo. Even before the establishment of the Foundation, she had played an active role in supporting sport in Maputo. She gave financial support that allowed an artificial track to be constructed on the sports ground at which she had originally trained as a fifteen-year old.

She also authorised the sale of t-shirts that featured her image, profits from which went towards helping the Grupo Desportivo de Maputo out of financial difficulty.

At the 2006 Winter Olympics she was one of the eight Olympic flag bearers at the Opening Ceremony.

Hamilton Naki Self-Taught Surgeon,

In Summary:

A gardner turned medical assistant at UCT's medical laboratory, during Apartheid. Mr Naki's often contested role in the medical world made him both a hero and figure of controversy. He was also a martyr to apartheid and a role model to many South Africans; A black man of scant education who had trained himself to carry out extremely difficult transplants on animals.

“I would like it a lot if the young generation could find inspiration in my work. Our country needs more doctors, especially from the disadvantaged community. Look at me – it can happen!” -Naki

H Naki

Hamilton Naki was born in the small village of Ngcangane in the Eastern Cape in 1930. His family was poor and after completing primary school he left for Cape Town to look for employment. At the age of fourteen he was hired by the University of Cape Town to maintain the tennis courts on the university grounds, at this stage Naki had his standard 6 (grade 8). In 1954 he was promoted to helping with the care of laboratory animals. He soon progressed from cleaning cages to more advanced laboratory work.

Naki was one of four highly talented technicians in the research laboratory at the medical school, during the time that Chris Barnard performed the first heart transplant on a human subject on the 03 December 1967.

Although Naki did learn how to perform transplants on animals in the laboratory, he was never involved in surgery on human subjects. Under Apartheid Hamilton was disadvantaged because he was barred from working in the whites-only operating theatre, and his contributions in the laboratory were largely unpublicized at the time. In an interview with the BBC, Hamilton reflects: “Those days you had to accept what they said as there was no other way you could go because it was the law of the land.”

Four decades after the first heart transplant took place at the Groote Schuur hospital in Cape Town, stories began to surface about the role that Naki played in the procedure. Chris Barnard apparently hinted at Naki's involvement shortly before his death in 2001, and Naki himself claimed, at one stage, to have been involved more directly in the ground breaking procedure.

A source close to Mr. Naki once asked him where he was when he first heard about the transplant. He replied that he had heard of it on the radio. Later, he apparently changed his story.

He changed it, it seems, not simply because of the confusion of old age, but because of pressure from those around him. Mr Naki was already a hero, as a black man of scant education who had trained himself to carry out extremely difficult transplants on animals. (Christiaan Barnard admitted that, “given the opportunity”, Mr. Naki would have been “a better surgeon than me”.) For this reason, his role was gradually embellished in post-apartheid, black-ruled South Africa.

Various credible publications began publishing Mr. Naki's 'untold' story of his involvement at Groote Schuur. Some of these publications included the Economist and the New York Times (both 11 June 2005), and two interviews with Mr. Naki, one in the careers section of the British Medical Journal (BMJ Career Focus 2004), and one with BBC online.

The majority of these publications have since expressed their regrets at being caught up in a misapprehension, as surgeons at Groote Schuur, the hospital where the transplant was performed, have assured researchers and the media that Mr. Naki was nowhere near the operating theatre when the transplant was performed. As a black person during Apartheid, and as a person with no formal medical qualifications, he was not allowed to be. The surgeons who removed the donor's heart were Marius Barnard, Christiaan Barnard's brother, and Terry O'Donovan.


Joaquim Alberto Chissano was born on 22 October 1939 in the remote village of Malehice, district of Chibuto, in Gaza province, and was the second President of Mozambique, having served from 6 November 1986 until 2 February 2005. Joaquim Chissano became the first black student enrolled at Liceu Salazar, where he completed his secondary education. He was a member and leader of the African Secondary School Students’ Organization in Mozambique (NESAM).

He studied medicine in Portugal. However, due to his political convictions, he was forced in 1961 to flee to Paris, en route to Dar-es-Salaam, where he joined in 1962 the Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO), as a founding Member. In 1963 he became a Member of FRELIMO’s Central Committee, having also held various important posts in the party, including Private Secretary of the President and Head of the Departments of Education and Security.

Joaquim Chissano played a fundamental role in the Lusaka Accord negotiations, signed on 7 September 1974 between FRELIMO and the Portuguese Government on the Independence of Mozambique. On 20 September 1974, he took office as Prime Minister of the Transition Government that led Mozambique to the proclamation of its National Independence on 25 June 1975.

After the proclamation of the Independence, Chissano was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs. In his capacity as head of Mozambican diplomacy, he helped the country to acquire respect and admiration all over the world. Chissano was also part of the team of President Samora Machel that prepared, negotiated and signed in 1985 the N’Komati Accord between the Governments of Mozambique and South Africa.

With the tragic death of President Samora Machel, in 1986, Joaquim Chissano was elected President of the People’s Republic of Mozambique. As Head of State, Chissano successfully led the deep socio-economic reforms in the country, which culminated with the adoption of the 1990 Constitution that led Mozambique to the multi-party system and to an open market.

Chissano also led the successful negotiations with the former Renamo rebel movement that ended 16 years of destabilising war, which had devastated the social and economic tissue of the country. The peace agreement was signed on 4 October 1992, having made the people kindly consider him as a “Peace Maker”. In 1994 he won the first multiparty elections in the history of the country, having been re-elected President of the Republic in 1999. Despite the fact that number 5 of Article 118 of the Mozambican Constitution allowed him to stand in the 2004 presidential elections, Joaquim Chissano decided voluntarily not to do so.

As Head of the Mozambican State, Chissano occupied high posts in several international organisations, including Chairperson of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP); Chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC); Chairperson of the SADC Organ for Cooperation in the fields of Politics, Defence and Security; and Chairperson of the African Union.

After retiring from office, he was appointed by Kofi Annan in 2005 Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for the September 2005 Summit to Review the Implementation of the Millennium Declaration, as well as Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General to Guinea-Bissau.

He has received the highest awards from many countries, namely Mozambique, Angola, Portugal, South Africa, Brasil, Cabo Verde, Nicaragua, France, Bulgaria, Madagascar, Cuba, Benin, Romania, Uganda, the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, and Lesotho.

He received several Prizes and Awards including the Hunger Project Prize, the Together for Peace Award and the Kellog Foundation Award. He has been awarded the Title of Dr. Honoris Causa by the following Universities: St. John’s University in New York; Université Libre de Brussels, Universidade de Coimbra University in Portugal, University of Macau, University of Malawi, University of Batton Rouge in the USA, and Universidade Eduardo Mondlane in Mozambique. He was awarded the Title of Professor Emeritus by the following universities: Beijing University for International Affairs of the Popular Republic of China, The Higher Institute for International Relations of Mozambique (which he founded in 1986) and by Instituto Politécnico e Universitário of Mozambique.

He is member of the Club of Madrid, The Hunger Project (Board of Directors) and the Nelson Mandela Institution (for Science and Technology). He is also an Honorary Member of the Maputo Rotary Club, The Organization of the Mozambican Workers (OTM), The National Organization of Mozambican Teachers, and Mozambican Association of Economists. He is further the Patron of the Mozambique National Song and Dance Company and of The Mozambique Institute of Information and Communication Technology.

Currently, he is the Chairperson of the Joaquim Chissano Foundation and of the Africa Forum of Former African Heads of State and Government.

Chissano speaks five languages fluently: Changana, Portuguese, Kiswahili, English and French, while speaking reasonably 3 other languages: Spanish, Italian and Russian.

He is married to Marcelina Rafael Chissano and they have 4 children.


Full name Walter Max Ulyate Sisulu. AKA 'Xhamela' (his tribal name).

Country: South Africa.

Cause: Ending of apartheid in South African.

Background: By 1600 all of what is now South Africa has been settled by indigenous Africans. European intrusion into the region begins in 1652 when the Dutch establish a settlement at the Cape of Good Hope on the southwestern tip of Africa. The British seizure of the settlement in 1795 leads to conflict with the established European farmers (the Boer). The conflict eventually boils over into the Boer War of 1899-1902. The British win but ultimately opt to give South Africa independence.

The Union of South Africa is formed on 31 May 1910. Black South Africans have limited voting rights and are subjected to growing discrimination. In 1948 the National Party wins the all-white general election on a campaign promise to introduce a system of "apartheid" to totally separate the races. Opposition to the apartheid system by the black majority is ruthlessly suppressed. The National Party will remain in power until 1994. More background.

Mini biography: Born on 18 May 1912 in the village of Qutubeni in the Engcobo district of Transkei, South Africa. His mother is a black domestic worker and his father a white public servant. Never formally acknowledged by his father, Sisulu is raised in the tribal tradition by his mother's family and undergoes Xhosa initiation rites. He receives his primary education at the village school and at a nearby Anglican mission.

1928-40 - He moves to Johannesburg and works in a range of jobs, including dairy-worker, labourer, miner, domestic, baker, various factory jobs, part-time teller, and advertising agent. He studies at night school and eventually goes into business for himself, setting up a small real estate agency. In the early 1930s he brings his mother and sister to live with him in Johannesburg.

Over this period, Sisulu gradually becomes more involved in political activities, organising several strikes and joining an organisation called the Orlando Brotherly Society.

1940 - Sisulu joins the African National Congress (ANC).

1941 - Sisulu meets Nelson Mandela and recommends him for employment with a lawyer in Johannesburg. The work, along with loans from Sisulu, enable Mandela to complete his law degree at the University of South Africa. The two become firm friends.

1944 - Together with Mandela and Oliver Tambo he founds the ANC Youth League. Sisulu is appointed as the league's treasurer.


During the year, Sisulu marries Albertina Titowe, a nurse who will also become prominent in the antiapartheid movement, and suffer for it. The couple will have five children, four of who will spend time in exile or prison.

1948 - The National Party is voted into power by the white electorate. The party has campaigned on the promise to introduce a system of "apartheid" to totally separate the races. Discrimination against blacks, "coloureds" and Asians will be codified and extended.

All South Africans are legally assigned to one racial group - white, African, coloured or Asian. All races have separate living areas and separate amenities (such as toilets, parks and beaches). Signs enforcing the separation are erected throughout the country. Only white South Africans are allowed full political rights.

Black Africans have no parliamentary representation outside of the supposedly independent homelands created by the state. Mixed marriages are prohibited. Black trade unions are banned. Education is provided only up to a level to which it is deemed "a native is fitted." Separate universities and colleges are established for Africans, coloureds and Indians. Jobs can be categorised as being for whites only. Travel without a pass is not permitted.

Police powers are expanded. Those charged with dissent are presumed guilty until proven innocent. The Suppression of Communism Act (1950) allows the police to "list" almost any opponent of apartheid as a supporter of the outlawed Communist Party of South Africa.

Opponents can be "banned", an order subjecting them to lengthy periods of house arrest and preventing them from holding public office, attending public meetings and visiting specified areas. The Native Administration Act (1956) allows the government to "banish" Africans to remote rural areas.

During the 1950s there are approximately 500,000 pass law arrests annually, more than 600 individuals are listed as communists, nearly 350 are banned, and more than 150 are banished.

Meanwhile, Sisulu and Tambo are elected onto the ANC national executive.

1949 - On 17 December the Youth League's 'Program of Action' to achieve full citizenship and direct parliamentary representation for all South Africans is adopted by the ANC at its annual conference. The program advocates the use of boycotts, strikes, civil disobedience and noncooperation. Sisulu is elected secretary-general of the ANC. He closes his estate agency business and becomes a full-time party organiser.

1952 - In February the ANC calls on the government to repeal all unjust laws or face a 'Campaign for the Defiance of Unjust Laws'. Mass rallies and strikes staged on 6 April and 26 June attract thousands of supporters. Sisulu serves on the joint planning council for the campaign and leads one of the first groups of passive resisters.

The government reacts by introducing harsher penalties for protests against apartheid. Campaign leaders and opposition newspapers are banned and about 8,500 people are arrested, including Sisulu.

Sisulu is designated as a statutory "communist" and sentenced to nine months imprisonment. Because of the disciplined and nonviolent nature of the defiance campaign the sentence is suspended for three years.

Before the sentencing he tells the court, "I wish to make this solemn vow and in full appreciation of the consequences it entails. As long as I enjoy the confidence of my people, and as long as there is a spark of life and energy in me, I shall fight with courage and determination for the abolition of discriminatory laws and for the freedom of all South Africans irrespective of colour or creed."

Following the trial, Sisulu travels abroad, first to Britain and then on a five-month tour of Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union and China.

Meanwhile, the defiance campaign has helped build ANC membership from about 7,000 at the beginning of the year to more than 100,000 by the year's end.

1954 - Sisulu publishes a book on African nationalism. He also writes numerous articles for domestic and overseas newspapers.

1955 - As a designated communist Sisulu is banned under the Suppression of Communism Act and ordered to resign his post as secretary-general of the ANC.

Meanwhile, the ANC writes a 'Freedom Charter' stating that South Africa belongs to all people living within it regardless of race, that all South Africans should be treated equally before the law, and that the country's wealth should be distributed equitably. The charter is being discussed at the 'Congress of the People' held near Soweto on the southwestern outskirts of Johannesburg on 25-26 June when police surround the meeting, announce that they suspect treason is being committed and take the names and addresses of all those present.

1956 - Sisulu, Mandela, Tambo and 153 others are arrested for high treason and charges under the Suppression of Communism Act. The defendants are acquitted on all counts in 1961. The court finds that the ANC does not have a policy of violence.

1959 - A radical faction of the ANC splits from the parent body and forms the Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC). The PAC advocates direct action against the apartheid regime.

1960s - The regime introduces a program of forced relocation. Africans, coloureds and Asians are moved from areas designated for whites only to the "homelands" and other declared areas. By the 1980s about 3.5 million have been relocated.

1960 - In March the PAC begins a national campaign against the pass laws. Africans are asked to assemble outside police stations without their passes and challenge the police to arrest them. The confrontation turns violent on 21 March when police open fire on a peaceful protest at Sharpeville, a black township near Johannesburg. Sixty-nine black Africans are killed and 186 wounded. Most have been shot in the back.

When demonstrations continue, the government declares a state of emergency and arrests about 18,000 protesters, including the leaders of the ANC and the PAC. Both organisations are banned. Sisulu is detained without trial for five months. The ANC goes underground.

1961 - As international protests against apartheid mount, South Africa is expelled from the British Commonwealth.

On 31 May, after gaining approval in a referendum restricted to whites, the government declares South Africa a republic. The ANC organises a national strike in protest. When the government responds by introducing new and harsher laws, and by mobilising its armed forces to break up the strike, ANC leaders conclude that the time has come for the Congress to move beyond nonviolent protest.

In November Sisulu attends the meeting of ANC leaders that establishes Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation), the military wing of the ANC. Sisulu is appointed Umkhonto's political commissioner and sets up regional commands.

On 16 December Umkhonto commences a campaign of sabotage against government and economic installations. Over the next two years 200 acts of sabotage will be carried out by Umkhonto, targeting power supplies, pass offices and other government buildings.

Sisulu faces prosecution twice in 1961 and is arrested six times and placed under 13-hour house arrest in 1962.

1963 - In March Sisulu is convicted of promoting the aims of the banned ANC and sentenced to six years imprisonment. He is released on bail pending appeal and placed under 24-hour house arrest. On 19 April he goes underground. He broadcasts a message of resistance to the nation from a secret ANC radio transmitter on 26 June, assuring the people that Umkhonto will fight "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth."

Sisulu is rearrested on 11 July when police raid an ANC safe house in Rivonia, a fashionable suburb on the northern outskirts Johannesburg, and discover arms and equipment.

As a result Sisulu, Mandela and other leaders of the ANC and Umkhonto stand trial for sabotage and for plotting to overthrow the government by violence and then bring about a communist state, with Sisulu being called as the main witness for the defence. The so-called 'Rivonia Trial' receives considerable international attention.

The defendants face the death penalty. They plead not guilty, arguing that the government is responsible because it forced them into their actions.

Meanwhile, the government acts to crush any further resistance to apartheid, introducing the General Law Amendment Act. The act allows police to detain suspects for 90 days without charge or access to legal advice. Suspects can then be rearrested and detained for a further 90 days.

1964 - On 11 June eight of the Rivonia accused, including Sisulu and Mandela, are convicted. All eight are sentenced to life imprisonment and sent to Robben Island Prison, a former leper colony 7 km off the coast from Cape Town.

The prisoners are kept in tiny cells measuring about two square metres and with only one small barred window. They sleep on the floor on straw mats and have to use a bucket for a toilet. By day they work the island's lime quarry where, because of the light and dust, most suffer from "snow blindness."

Refusing to be bowed, the prisoners begin a program of self-development, with the better-educated inmates giving lectures to the rest. Sisulu's course on the history of the antiapartheid struggle is particularly popular, and he also continues his own education, completing a BA in art history and anthropology. The prison becomes known among the inmates as the 'Robben Island University' or the 'Nelson Mandela University'.

"We were united as prisoners," Sisulu later says of his time in jail, "And we were determined to unite South Africa. That sustained us."

The Robben Island inmates become a focus of world attention and a symbol for the struggle of black South Africans. However, despite growing international criticism of the apartheid regime, foreign investment continues to pour into the country and immigration rises.

1973 - The United Nations (UN) declares apartheid "a crime against humanity."

1975 - The withdrawal of the Portuguese colonial administration from Angola and Mozambique sees the installation in those countries of new independent governments hostile to South Africa's apartheid regime. Umkhonto training and camp facilities are quickly set up in Angola. The ANC military wing now has a base close to South Africa.

On 23 October, and with the blessing of United States President Gerald Ford and US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, South Africa invades Angola. The South African forces come within 100 km of the Angolan capital but are forced to pull back when Cuba sends 10,000 to 12,000 troops to assist the Angolan resistance.

1976 - The Soweto uprising begins on 16 June when high school students protest against the enforced use of Afrikaans in schools. After the police respond with tear gas and gunfire, demonstrators attack and burn down government buildings.

The uprising leads to weeks of demonstrations, marches and boycotts throughout South Africa. Violent clashes with police leave more than 500 dead, several thousand arrested, and thousands more seeking refuge outside the country, many with the exiled forces of the ANC.

1977 - The UN adopts a mandatory embargo on arms sales to South Africa.

1979 - With capital leaving the country because of political instability, and with the economy beginning to slow, the government attempts to reduce industrial unrest by allowing black workers to form unions. The first chink in the apartheid system has appeared.

1980 - Opposition to South Africa on the African continent is further entrenched when Robert Mugabe's antiapartheid government takes power in Zimbabwe.

1982 - Sisulu, who suffers from a heart condition, is admitted to a hospital in Cape Town for treatment. Along with Mandela, he is then transferred from Robben Island to the maximum-security Pollsmoor Prison on the mainland.

1983 - The United Democratic Front (UDF), a coalition of nearly 600 organisations, is formed to persuade the government to abolish apartheid. Bishop Desmond Tutu emerges as one of the front's principal spokesmen. By 1984 the front has a membership of more than three million.

1984 - The National Party introduces a new constitution in an attempt to stem dissent. However, the constitution, which establishes three racially segregated houses of parliament, for whites, Asians, and coloureds, but excludes blacks from full citizenship, has the opposite effect and is denounced as a continuation of apartheid.

1985 - Conflict and violence escalate. In 1984 there are 174 fatalities linked to political unrest. In 1985 the number rises to 879. Capital begins to flee the country. Forty US companies pull out of South Africa in 1984. Another 50 leave in 1985. Inflation rises and standards of living drop.

The government declares states of emergency in various parts of the country; the first time the emergency laws have been used since the Sharpeville massacre of 1960. The laws allow police to arrest without warrant and to detain people indefinitely without charge and without notification to lawyers or next of kin. Censorship of the media is also extended.

1986 - In October the US Congress passes legislation implementing mandatory sanctions against South Africa. All new investments and bank loans are banned, air links between the US and South Africa are terminated and the importation of many South African products is stopped.

1987 - While the union movement becomes increasingly militant, with the number of days lost to strikes reaching 5.8 million in 1987, armed members of the ANC and PAC stage raids on South Africa from their bases in Angola, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe.

The regime responds by renewing a series of states of emergency, unleashing its police, and sending its military forces on counter-strike raids.

Media restrictions are tightened and the UDF and other activist organisations are effectively banned.

As a result opprobrium for the regime grows around the world. More foreign investors withdraw, banks call in loans, the currency collapses, economic production declines and inflation becomes chronic.

1988 - In May South African President P.W. Botha, a National Party hardliner, directs the head of his intelligence service, Niel Barnard, to meet secretly with Mandela in prison to discuss the possibility of a peace settlement. More than 60 similar meetings will follow.

1989 - The "secret" talks culminate with a face-to-face meeting between Mandela and Botha at Botha's presidential office on 5 July. Botha subsequently resigns following a stroke and is replaced by F.W. de Klerk, a moderate within the National Party.

Sisulu is released from prison on 15 October with five other senior members of the ANC.

Mandela meets with de Klerk in December. Negotiations on the terms and conditions for Mandela's release begin.

1990 - On 2 February de Klerk announces that Mandela will be released. He also rescinds the orders banning the ANC, the PAC, the South African Communist Party (SACP) and other previously illegal organisations. Restrictions on the UDF and the media are lifted. Mandela is finally released from prison on Sunday 11 February.

In June Mandela and de Klerk met officially for the first time. In August Mandela announces the suspension of the ANC's armed struggle. In October the government repeals the law requiring the races to use separate amenities.

1991 - By April, 933 of the country's estimated 2,500 political prisoners have been released. On 5 June the government repeals the law making it illegal for Africans to own land in urban areas and the law segregating people by race. A new law allows all races equal rights to own property anywhere in the country. The law assigning every resident of South Africa to a specific racial group is repealed on 17 June. The international community responds by lifting most of the sanctions on South Africa.

On 7 July, at the first national conference of the ANC held inside South Africa since the organisation was banned in 1960, Mandela is elected president of the ANC. Sisulu is elected deputy president. Tambo is elected the organisation's national chairperson.

1992 - On 8 January Sisulu is awarded 'Isithwalandwe Seaparankoe', the ANC's highest honour.

White South African's overwhelmingly vote "yes" in a referendum asking if the reform of apartheid should be continued. In September, following a request by Mandela, 400 political prisoners are released.

1993 - The negotiations on the transition conclude towards the end of the year. It is agreed that a five-year 'Government of National Unity' with a majority-rule constitution will be formed following South Africa's first truly multiracial democratic election, scheduled for April 1994. The new constitution guarantees all South Africans "equality before the law and equal protection of the law", full political rights, freedom of expression and assembly, and the right to "choose a place of residence anywhere in the national territory."

1994 - The ANC wins the country's first all-race elections.

Over four days beginning on 26 April more than 22 million South Africans, or about 91% of registered voters, go to the polls.

The ANC secures nearly 63% of the vote, missing the two-thirds majority needed to unilaterally change the constitution. The National Party gets about 20% of the vote, becoming the second largest party in the parliament. On 9 May the National Assembly unanimously elects Mandela president.

Mandela is inaugurated on 10 May at a ceremony in Pretoria, the South African capital. In his inaugural address he stresses the need for reconciliation and reaffirms his determination to create a peaceful, nonracial society.

The ministry of the new government includes blacks, whites, Afrikaners, Indians, coloureds, Muslims, Christians, communists, liberals and conservatives. However, Sisulu is absent. Weakened by the heart condition that has plagued him for many years, he has made a personal choice not to run for office.

In June the government announces that a Truth and Reconciliation Commission will investigate human rights abuses and political crimes committed by both supporters and opponents of apartheid between 1960 and 10 May 1994. Guidelines for the commission's operations are set and Archbishop Desmond Tutu is appointed as its chair.

Sisulu steps down from active duty in the ANC on 17 December, giving up his post as deputy president and retiring to his modest family home in Soweto.

1996 - A new South African constitution that bars discrimination against the country's minorities, including whites, is signed into law by Mandela on 10 December. The new constitution contains a bill of rights and ends the Government of National Unity. The ANC takes government in its own right. The National Party becomes the opposition.

1999 - The ANC wins the general election held on 2 June, increasing its majority.

2003 - Sisulu dies on the evening of 5 May at his home in Soweto after a long illness. His state funeral held on 17 May at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto is attended by tens of thousands. Delivering his eulogy at the funeral, Archbishop Desmond Tutu says, "I want to declare loud and clear that after a life so exemplary, so inspiring ... we are filled with deep thankfulness. ... We have come to celebrate a wonderful life poured out so unselfishly on behalf of others."


2005 - The National Party, which introduced the apartheid system after coming to government in 1948, officially disbands on 9 April. The party had received less than two percent of the vote at general elections held in 2004.

Comment: Nelson Mandela's prominence as an icon for the struggle by black South Africans against the apartheid regime tends to overshadow the contributions of others committed to the cause. But alongside Mandela there were hundreds of others just as committed, including Sisulu, and behind these hundreds there were millions, inside and outside of South Africa.

Sisulu's origins were far humbler than those of Mandela. His life experience closer to that of the average black South African. Sisulu was a modest man, a self-educated man, a man of great energy, great courage, and great wisdom. He personally overcame the injustices of the apartheid system and brought a whole society along with him.

"Sisulu stands head and shoulders above all of us in South Africa," Nelson Mandela has said. "You will ask what is the reason for his elevated status among us. Very simple, it is humility. It is simplicity. Because he pushed all of us forward and remained quietly in the background."
More information