SAMORA MACHEL 100 GREATEST AFRICANS



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, Gra├ža Machel, would later marry Nelson Mandela.