Biographies

ABCDEFGH-I-J-K-L-MN-O-P-Q-R-ST-U-V-W-X-Y-Z

A Norwegian doctor who served as the secretary of the International Refugee Council of Zambia between 1964 and 1966. Previously, he served as representative of the Norwegian South Africa Committee. He was a staunch supporter of African liberation movements (particularly in Zambia) and worked in Africa (including more recent work combatting the AIDS crisis) for much of his life.

Geographic association:  Norway|Zambia

Organizational association: International Refugee Council of Zambia|Norwegian South Africa Committee

Acknowledgements

Adoula was a Congolese politician, socialist, and trade unionist. He first began his career as a banker and then joined the Belgian Socialist Party. He was also the vice president of the Mouvement National Congolais, and in 1959 he and Albert Kalonji split off from the main MNC to form the more moderate MNC-Kalonji. After independence, Adoula became a member of parliament and eventually the country’s prime minister, serving from 1961 until 1964. He continued to be involved in Congolese politics, as a socialist and anti-communist, until his death from illness in 1978. 

Geographic association:  Democratic Republic of Congo

Organizational association: Mouvement National Congolais

Acknowledgements

An Angolan nationalist who was a member of the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), Almeida co-founded the MPLA’s women’s wing. An ardent nationalist and feminist who traveled and studied in Brazil, the United States and multiple African countries, she was killed by the FNLA in 1967.

Geographic association:  Angola|Brazil

Organizational association:  People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA)|National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA)

Wikipedia

Chief Anyiam served as the Acting National Secretary of the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons. He also wrote the book “Men and Matters in Nigerian Politics, 1934-1958” and was politically involved in newly independent Nigeria.

Geographic association:  Nigeria

Organizational association: American Committee on Africa|National Council of Nigeria

Appolus was a Namibian politician, activist, and business person. He was a founding member of the Ovamboland People’s Congress and helped create the South West News- the first Black newspaper in Namibia. After fleeing Rhodesia in 1965, he represented SWAPO in Cairo and at the UN to gain international  support for national liberation. In 1975 Appolus, along with Andreas Shipanga and others, broke off from SWAPO and got involved with the alternative SWAPO-D (the SWAPO Democrats). In 1989 when SWAPO-D disbanded, Appolus retired from politics and became owner of a fishing company until his death in 2004. 

Geographic association:  Namibia

Organizational association: Ovamboland People’s Congress | South West African People’s Organization | Namibia Democratic Party

Appolus was born in South Africa in 1930. An African woman and one of 14 children, she attended university in Cape Town, specializing in surgical nursing and midwifery. There she met her husband, Emil Appolus, a Namibian who was one of the founding members of the Ovamboland People’s Congress and an anti-colonial activist. The couple was deported from South Africa for Putuse’s work caring for victims of the Old Location shooting in December 1959 and ended up in the Congo. She spent the period of the Congo war working as a nurse. Later, Appolus continued her work in Dar es Salaam and in Angola until her death in 1986.

Geographic association:  South Africa | Namibia

Organizational association:  South West African People’s Organization

Originally from south-western Nigeria, Awolowo was a Yoruba politician and activist for Nigerian independence. He began his career with involvement in the Nigerian Youth Movement, eventually serving as the Western Provincial Secretary. He later went on to serve in Nigeria’s parliament and as the Minister of Finance, although he spent a period of time in prison between 1963 and 1966 for alleged acts of sedition. Awolowo was apparently responsible for much of Nigeria’s early progressive social legislation. He died in 1987.

Geographic association:  Nigeria

Organizational association:  Nigerian Youth Movement| Unity Party Nigeria| Nigerian Parliament| Order of the Federal Republic

* Pictured on the 100 Naira note since 1999 *

Britannica | Wikipedia

A member of the MPLA (People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola—Labour Party), Azevedo travelled in Europe and the Soviet Union encouraging leaders there to support MPLA.

Geographic association:  Angola

Organizational association:  People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA)

An Igbo Nigerian political leader and first president of Nigeria (1963-1966). A military coup ended his presidency, although he avoided assassination. He was a founding member of the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons and later a member of the Nigerian People’s Party. He died in 1996 after a long illness.

Geographic association:  Nigeria

Organizational association:  National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons | Nigerian People’s Party

* Pictured on the 500 Naira note *

Britannica | Wikipedia

Babcock worked at the Detroit public library in the 1950s and 60s, serving as the Chief of the Burton Historical Collection.

Geographic association:  United States

Organizational association:  Detroit Public Library | Burton Historical Collection

ACRL College & Research Library News

Bakampenja was a Tanzanian reporter and member of TANU. He served for a period of time as the General secretary of the Coordinating Freedom Council, a governing body that had been established by PAFMECA to bring together representatives of different liberation groups. He worked as the acting secretary of PAFMECA as well, focusing on liberation and on scholarship opportunities for refugees. 

Geographic association:  Tanzania

Organizational association:  Tanzania African National Congress

Baldwin was an American socialist and one of the founders of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) as well as the organization’s director until 1950. He was a pacifist and after retiring from the ACLU co-founded the International League for the Rights of Man. He died in 1981. 

Geographic association:  United States

Organizational association:  American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) | League for the Rights of Man

More Information

A Swedish Methodist clergyman and missionary who served in Rhodesia. He worked at the Epworth Theological College in Salisbury and other missionary sites in the 1960s.

Geographic association:  Sweden | Rhodesia

Organizational association:  Methodist Church | Epworth Theological College

Official Journal of the First Session of the Rhodesia Annual Conference

A Quaker missionary and member of the American Friends Service Committee. He and his wife Priscilla helped with mediation during the Nigerian Civil War.

Geographic association:  United States | Nigeria

Organizational association:  American Friends Service Committee | The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)

Article on Mediation During Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970)

AnBritish South African Anglican minister who, along with his wife, served as missionaries in South Africa, focusing primarily on deaf and blind communities. In 1954, Blaxall was exiled from South Africa for opposing the National Party. Eventually returning 1960s to work as Secretary for the South African Branch of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, a pacifist organization. He was exiled again, charged under the “Suppression of Communism Act.”

 Geographic association:  United Kingdom | South Africa

Organizational association:  Anglican Church | Fellowship of Reconciliation

* Work featured in Helen Keller archive * | Wikipedia

Originally from Transkei, South Africa, Bokwe worked as a teacher and then moved to Scotland to study medicine at the University of Edinburgh. Upon returning to South Africa he established a medical practice in Middledrift. Later on he got involved with the African National Congress, serving as the Cape ANC’s treasurer. He was also a director of lkundla ya Bantu, an African owned newspaper that particularly highlighted the needs of marginalized South Africans. Bokwe died in 1963. 

 Geographic association:  South Africa | Scotland

Organizational association:  African National Congress

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A Tunisian lawyer and anti-colonialist statesman, who helped secure Tunisian independence and then served as the nation’s Prime Minister and first President. He spent a period of time exiled from Tunisia by the French government for his anti-colonial actions. At different times he was associated with the Destour and Neo-Destour Party before the Social Destourian Party. Bourguiba served four terms before declaring himself ruler for life. In 1987 he was deposed by his prime minister and kept under house arrest until his death that same year.

Geographic association:  Tunisia | Egypt

Organizational association:  Destour Party | Arab League

Wikipedia

An American peace activist and Lutheran minister, Bristol worked with the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker organization for thirty years. He also helped coordinate Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta King’s tour of the Indian subcontinent in 1959. Bristol also worked in Africa, particularly Zambia after its independence in 1964.

Geographic association:  United States | India | Zambia

Organizational association:  Lutheran Church | American Friends Service Committee

King Encyclopedia | New York Times Article

Daughter of James E. Bristol. Also worked with the American Friends Service Committee and accompanied MLK on his trip to the Indian subcontinent in 1959.

Geographic association:  United States | India

Organizational association:  Lutheran Church | American Friends Service Committee

Google Books 

American student organizer and activist affiliated with the United States National Student Association (NSA) and involved in the Student Action Against Apartheid organizing efforts.

Geographic association:  United States

Organizational association:  United States National Student Association (NSA) | Student Action Against Apartheid

JSTOR

Assistant Director of the American Committee on Africa in the late 1960s.

Geographic association:  United States

Organizational association:  American Committee on Africa

Born in the Portuguese colony of Guinea, Cabral was a nationalist leader of both Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde. He began getting involved in anti-colonial organizations while a student in Lisbon and upon his return to Africa, he founded the Partido Africano da Independencia de Guiné e Cabo Verde (PAIGC). Cabral led the organization for the next ten years, organizing its guerilla movement against the Portuguese government. A trained agronomist, Cabral had his soldiers teach farmers more efficient techniques and help farm the land while they were not engaged in combat. In 1973, he was assassinated by rivals within PAIGC. The motives for his assassination, and the potential complicity of the Portuguese government in his death, are unclear. His brother Luís Cabral, became the leader of the Guinea Bissau brand of PAIGC, and the eventually became president of the country after it gained independence.

Geographic association:  Guinea Bissau | Cape Verde

Organizational association:  Partido Africano da Independencia da Guiné e Cabo Verde (PAIGC)

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Cachalia was a South African anti-apartheid activist and major figure within the South African Indian Congress (serving as the organization’s secretary). After studying Islamic thought in Mecca and spending five years in India, Cachalia returned to South Africa at the age of 26 and got involved in the country’s politics. In the early 1950s as the South African Indian Congress (SAIC) began working closely with the African National Congress, Cachalia collaborated with Walter Sisulu to jointly organize the National Protest Committee. Along with Sisulu and others, Cachalia spent a short period of time in prison for his activities and from 1963 until 1973 was under house arrest. A good friend of Nelson Action Committee. He died in 1995 in New Delhi. 

Geographic association:  South Africa | India

Organizational association:  South African Indian Congress

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Changong’a was the leader of UNAMI (the African National Union of Independent Mozambique) in the early 1960s. Additionally, though a staunch anti-colonial activist, he did not support the armed resistance route. He was involved with FRELIMO for a period of time too. In 1965 he was kidnapped by the Portuguese authorities and taken to Mozambique where he was held until the 1974 coup there.  

Geographic association:  Guinea Bissau | Cape Verde

Organizational association:  Partido Africano da Independencia da Guiné e Cabo Verde (PAIGC)

More Information

Reverend in the Methodist Episcopal Mission in the Congo at the Tunda station.

Geographic association:  Congo

Organizational association:  Methodist Episcopal Mission

Member of the United Nations “Special Committee on the situation with regard to the implementation of the declaration on the granting of independence to colonial countries” in the early 1960s. He wrote on situation of Nyasaland.

Geographic association:  United States | Nyasaland | Malawi

Organizational association:  United Nations

Work of the Committee of Seventeen

Rhodesian politician from Harare, former party leader and representative1969-70 for the United People’s Party, and former member of parliament. He was associated with the Capricorn Africa Society.

Geographic association:  Rhodesia | Zimbabwe

Organizational association:  United People’s Party | Capricorn Africa Society

Member of the United African National Council in Zimbabwe/Southern Rhodesia (1979-1980). He served as speaker of the house for a period of time in the late 1970s.

Geographic association:  Zimbabwe

Organizational association:  Zimbabwe United African Council

He was a practicing lawyer, Chairman of ZANU, and the first black African to qualify as a Barrister-at-Law. Later he moved to Zambia to support the armed struggle there, promoting ZANU and encouraging sanctions against Rhodesia (even coordinating a joint effort with FRELIMO along the border of Zimbabwe and Mozambique). He was assassinated by a car bomb in 1975 in Lusaka; the exact circumstances of who killed him remain ambiguous.

Geographic association:  South Africa | Zambia | Zimbabwe | Mozambique

Organizational association:  Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU)

Wikipedia

Chiume was a Malawian nationalist and one of the leaders of the Nyasaland African Congress. A renowned debater, he was one of five African representatives on the Legislative Council starting in 1955. He was later exiled to Tanzania, working with “The Nationalist” and other publications and even writing/publishing a number of books. In 1994 he returned to Malawi and served as chairman of Malawi National Library Service and Book Service until his retirement and ultimately his death in 2007. 

Geographic association:  Malawi

Organizational association:  Nyasaland African Congress

Wikipedia

Zambian politician, diplomat, and Vice President of Zambia (1970-73; 1977-78). From Northern Rhodesia, he studied law in England and then returned to join the struggle for independence. He was a member of United National Independence Party (UNIP) and holding many positions over his career: Secretary General, various Minister positions, Attorney General, and ambassador.

Geographic association:  Zambia | England

Organizational association:  United National Independence Party (UNIP)

Wikipedia

British social worker and Zimbabwean nationalist who founded “Cold Comfort Farm”. He and his wife Frances “Molly” Allen went to Southern Rhodesia in 1949. Clutton-Brock also helped found the Southern Rhodesia African National Congress. He was detained in 1959 and later he and his wife were deported by Ian Smith’s government. After his death, Clutton-Brock became the only European to be declared a National Hero of Zimbabwe.

Geographic association:  United Kingdom | Zimbabwe

Organizational association:  Cold Comfort Farm | Southern Rhodesia African National Congress

Wikipedia

Originally from South Africa (and the daughter of a European South African and a Jewish immigrant), Davis was an anti-apartheid activist who was exiled to New York for her resistance to the National Party. Eventually she became the executive director of ACOA and the Africa Fund. She fought to bring Africa–and particularly souther-African apartheid resistance—to the center of American foreign policy conversations. In general she treated CivilRights activism in the US and apartheid resistance as part of the same, necessary movement. 

Geographic association:  South Africa | United States 

Organizational association:  American Committee on Africa | Africa Fund 

Wikipedia

 

Desai moved from his home in Surat, India to Northern Rhodesia in 1934. He served as MP for the Ndola West constituency as a member of the United National Independence Party (UNIP) in the 1960s. Alongside Dr. Kenneth Kaunda and other UNIP members, he addressed the UN regarding Zambian independence in 1962.

Geographic association:  India | Northern Rhodesia

Organizational association:  United National Independence Party (UNIP)

 

Mozambican poet, revolutionary, and politician. He helped co-found the Frente de Libertação de Moçambique (FRELIMO) and served as its deputy president (1960-1977). He remained a staunch Marxist-Leninist even as FRELIMO embraced capitalism. Some of his books of poetry were published under the pseudonyms Kalungano and Lilinho Micaia.

Geographic association:  Mozambique

Organizational association:  Frente de Libertação de Moçambique (FRELIMO)

Wikipedia

A revolutionary Methodist bishop from Iowa, who served for the Africa Central Conference in Angola. He was exiled from Rhodesia in 1964 for supporting African rights and challenging white minority rule.

Geographic association:  United States | Angola I Rhodesia

Organizational association:  United Methodist Church | African Central Conference (Angola)

Wikipedia | Supplementary Article

 

Originally from Boston, Draper was an African American scholar of political science who focused on the region of Sudan. He worked for a time as the UN Personnel Training Expert in Sudan and upon resigning inquired about a position with the American Committee on Africa. He was affiliated with the Institute of Public Administration of the Republic of Sudan. spent a period of time living and working in Ethiopia, and eventually served as President of the Borough of Manhattan Community College. 

Geographic association:  United States | Angola I Rhodesia

Organizational association:  United Methodist Church | African Central Conference (Angola)

Wikipedia | Supplementary Article

 

Irishman working in Kenya as an auto engineer, who followed his love for hunting to become a wildlife cinematographer. Famous for his 1960 film “Black Elephant Hunter”.

Geographic association:  Ireland | Kenya

Shakari Connection — Modern Hunting Client Books

African nationalist inmate at the Gonakudzingwa restriction camp in Southern Rhodesia (during the reign of Ian Smith).

Geographic association:  Southern Rhodesia

Organizational association:  Gonakudzingwa Restriction Camp

Wikipedia

South African anti-aparteid activist, political thinker, and writer. Clashed with African National Congress (ANC) for its communist sympathies, but supported initiatives by the Pan Africanist Congress and Liberal Party to end apartheid and achieve universal suffrage.

Geographic association:  South Africa

Organizational association: Liberal Party of South Africa | Pan Africanist Congress (PAC)

Wikipedia

Sibai was an Egyptian writer and politician who was eventually appointed the Minister of Culture in 1973. He served as president of the Afro-Asian Writers Association, an organization of Soviet-aligned authors that served as an alternative to the Nobel prize for African and Asian writers. He was an important symbol of Egyptian culture until he was assassinated by Palestinian extremists in 1978 for supporting president Anwar Sadat’s attempt at peace with Israel.

Geographic association:  Egypt

Organizational association: Afro-Asian Writers Association

Wikipedia

Also known as Babs Fafunwa, Aliu Babatunde Fafunwa served as the first Nigerian Professor of Education and eventually Minister of Education between 1990 and 1992. He advocated a critical re-evaluation of the foreign systems of education in use in Nigeria and encouraged education at least partially in Nigerian languages (a proposal which was adopted in 1977). He died in October 2010 in Lagos. 

Geographic association:  Nigeria

Wikipedia

Originally from South West Africa, in 1959 Gabriel stowed away on a cargo ship and ended up in New Orleans (and then was eventually moved to Galveston, Texas). A former contract laborer, he had stowed away to escape repressive racial discrimination in South West Africa. The twenty-seven year old was going to be deported to South West Africa (after a month in hospitals and prisons in the US) but, after intervention from ACOA, was granted a reprieve until he could get a visa to stay in Liberia indefinitely. He immigrated safely to Liberia and later requested financial assistance so that he could attend university. 

Geographic association:  Namibia | Nigeria

Wikipedia

Born in 1892 in Rajkot, India, Gandhi was the son of Mohandas Gandhi and Kasturba Gandhi. From his early childhood onward he spent a lot of time between India and South Africa, living on the Phoenix Settlement, KwaZulu-Natal Province. After1917 he worked on the Indian Opinion, a Gujarati and English newspaper, out of Durban. He later became the sole editor of the publication, a position he held until his death. Manilal also worked with his father resisting the British colonial government.

Geographic association:  South Africa | India

Organization association:  Phoenix Settlement

Wikipedia

Originally from Dar es Salaam and the son of a Belgian father and a Mauritian mother, Gonze grew up in Brussels and South Africa. After attending Stanford he was involved with writing for the publication African Today and as a labor union official (in the US and for international union). Later he worked as a consultant to the US Agency for International Development (in the 1980s). 

Geographic association:  South Africa | India

Organization association:  Phoenix Settlement

Wikipedia

Houser was an American activist and Methodist minister who worked for Civil Rights in the United States and African liberation. In 1942, he co-founded the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and served as executive secretary. He also worked with the Fellowship of Reconciliation and in 1946 he co-founded the Committee for Nonviolent Revolution. Much of his work focused on non-violent active resistance. In the 1950s he got involved with African independence movements, co-funding Americans for South African Resistance (AFSAR) and in 1953 he founded the American Committee on Africa (ACOA). Between 1954 and his death in 2015, Houser made more than30 trips allover Africa to support the efforts ofAfrican countries at achieving independence. 

Geographic association:  United States

Organization association:  American Committee on Africa (ACOA) | Congress ofRacial Equality (CORE)

Wikipedia

The first Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tanganyika, Kambona was na immensely influential and popular leader in Tanzania. In the 1950s he served as the secretary general of the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) fighting for independence. Initially close friends and colleagues with Julius Nyerere, the two eventually fell out due to ideological differences and Kambona spent years living in voluntary exile in London. Kambona was a capitalist and also feared the potential for dictatorial repression the Nyerere’s one-party state could bring. After returning from London in the early 1990s, he served as a leader of the political opposition.  He died in London in 1997. 

Geographic association:  Tanzania

Organization association:  Tanzania Africa National Union (TANU)

Wikipedia

From Northern Rhodesia, Katilungu was a trade union leader and the first president of the African Mineworkers’ Union, a coalition of all the previously existing miners’ unions in Northern Rhodesia. He participated in the 20 member Monckton Commission in 1960 to determine Northern Rhodesia’s political future and was affiliated with the Northern Rhodesian African National Congress. He died in 1961. 

Geographic association:  Zambia

Organization association:  African Mineworkers’ Union

Wikipedia

A Zambian teacher-turned-politician, Kaunda served as the first president of Zambia from 1964 until 1991. He served as the Organizing Secretary of Northern Province’s Northern Rhodesian African National Congress in the 1950s and formed the Zambian African National Congress (ZANC) in 1958 to fight for independence. He also served as president of the United National Independence Party (UNIP). His government had various authoritarian characteristics- including only allowing the UNIP and not tolerating opposition to his own brand of “African socialist” ideology. Facing resistance, Kaunda lost the elections in 1991 and stepped down as President. He is still alive. 

Geographic association:  Zambia

Organization association:  Zambian African National Congress (ZANC) | United National Independence Party (UNIP)

Wikipedia

Kawawa served as the Prime Minister of Tanganyika in 1962, Prime Minister of Tanzania from 1972-1977, and Defense Minister from 1977-1980. Closely allied with Julius Nyerere, he advocated with the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM or Party of the Revolution) as well as TANU. He died in 2009 in Dar es Salaam.

Geographic association:  Tanzania

Organization association:  Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) | Tanzania African National Union (TANU)

Wikipedia

Born in Panama and growing up in the United States, Maida Springer Kemp worked as a labor organizer and labor consultant. She began working in the garment industry to help workers secure fair wages and became the first African-American woman to represent US labor abroad. In the 1950s, she served as a liaison between the American Federation of labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations and labor movements in various African countries, befriending leaders like Julius Nyerere and Kwame Nkrumah. She worked to advance Civil Rights in the United States and women’s and labor rights around the world until her death in 2005. 

Geographic association:  United States | Tanzania

Organization association:  American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)

Wikipedia

Kotane was a South African politician and activist, serving as the secretary general for the South African Communist Party (SACP) between 1939 and 1978. For a time he was a member of the African National Congress and the African Baker’s Union. As a member of SACP he was sent to Moscow to study Marxism-Leninism and played an important role in ending minority white rule in South Africa. He died in 1978 in the Soviet Union where he had undergone treatment after a stroke ten years earlier. 

Geographic association:  South Africa | Soviet Union

Organization association:  South African Communist Party | African National Congress

Wikipedia

Washington Malianga was born in Mutare but attended Adams Colleges in Natal in the 1940s. He joined the Commercial and Allied Workers’ Union in Harare and moved into politics. He was a leader of the Zimbabwe African People’s Union who, in 1963, helped found the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU). He served as Party Secretary for a time, losing his re-election bid in 1973. He died in 2014. 

Geographic association:  Zimbabwe | South Africa

Organization association:  Commercial and Allied Workers’ Union | ZAPU | ZANU

Wikipedia

A Kenyan trade unionist, orator, educator, and politician, Mboya served as Minister of Justice in Kenya from 1963-1969. He played an important role in creating the Kenya African National Union (KANU) to agitate for Kenyan independence and he served as the party’s first Secretary General. He also supported the Untied Stated Civil Rights movement and helped form trade unions throughout east Africa, working with the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions and the All-African People’s Conference. Mboya also helped found the Kennedy Airlifts program, working closely with John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr, Kwame Nkrumah, and A. Philip Randolph over the course of his career. He was shot and killed on July 5, 1969 in what appeared to be a political assassination. 

Geographic association:  Kenya

Organization association:  Kenya African National Union | International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU)

Wikipedia

Originally from Mozambique, Mondlane attended university in the United States and eventually obtained his PhD from Harvard. During this time he met his wife, the white American Janet Rae Johnson. After serving as a UN official, Mondlane moved to Tanzania and in 1962 was elected to be President of the Frente de Libertacão de Moçambique (FRELIMO). FRELIMO launched a guerrilla war in 1964 to secure Mozambique’s independence and achieve a socialist revolution. In 1969, Mondlane was assassinated when he opened a book with a bomb planted in it. The assassin remains unknown but some suspect that rivals in FRELIMO were guilty.  

Geographic association:  Mozambique 

Organization association:  Frente de Libertacão de Moçambique (FRELIMO)

Wikipedia

Along with her husband, Eduardo Chivambo Mondlane, Janet Rae Johnson Mondlane founded the Frente de Libertacao de Mocambique (FRELIMO). Originally from Illinois, Mondlane became interested in the future of African independence after attending a lecture given by her future husband. After marrying, the couple moved to  Dar es Salaam to organize for Mozambican liberation. Janet Mondlane headed the nonmilitary branch of FRELIMO known as the Mozambique Institute which organized health care and secondary education for Mozambicans. After her husband’s assassination and Mozambique’s independence, she continued to serve in the Mozambican government. 

Geographic association:  Mozambique | United States

Organization association: Frente de Libertacão de Moçambique (FRELIMO)

Wikipedia

A Zimbabwean judge, Mutambanengwe served on the High Courts of both Zimbabwe and Namibia. He formed a part of the Zimbabwe African National Union serving for a time in the 1960s as its Secretary for Foreign Affairs. In 2010 he as appointed chairman of the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission but resigned in 2013, amid speculation that he had been pushed out of the position. He died in 2017.  

Geographic association:  Zimbabwe

Organization association:  Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU)

Wikipedia

Philemon Pearce Dumasile Nokwe was a South African activist and legislator. Although he began his career as a teacher and eventually became a barrister in the Transvaal Supreme Court, his associations with the African National congress (ANC) and the apartheid restrictions meant he could not practice either profession for long. In the 1950s he turned to political activism and served as the Secretary General of the ANC from 1958-1969. He was one of the 155 individuals put on trial for treason in 1956, although he was one of a few who was not acquitted until 1961. He went into exile in Bechuanaland in 1963 and continued to support the work of the ANC. Nokwe died in 1978 in Lusaka. 

Geographic association:  South Africa | Botswana | Zambia

Organization association:  African National Congress (ANC)

Wikipedia

Samuel Shalifiishuna Daniel Nujoma was a Namibian activist, revolutionary, and eventually the nation’s first president from 1990 until 2005. Originally a cleaner for the South African Railways, Nujoma got involved in politics in the 1950s through trade unions. He joined the Ovamboland People’s Congress and later helped form the Ovamboland People’s Organization, representing this group to the South West African National Union (SWANU). He served as president of the South West Africa People’s Organization from 1960 until 2007, fighting for South West Africa’s independence from South Africa as the founder of the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia. He is still alive and politically active. 

Geographic association:  Namibia

Organization association:  Ovamboland People’s Organization (OPO) | South West African National Union (SWANU) | South West African People’s Organization (SWAPO)

Wikipedia

A Zimbabwean politician and activist, Nyandoro helped found the Southern Rhodesia African National Congress (SRANC). He also served as General Secretary of the Zimbabwe African People’s Union and attended the 1958 All-African People’s Conference. Additionally, he helped found the African National Youth League. He fought to end white minority rule in Rhodesia and after Zimbabwe’s independence, he retired as a politician and dedicated himself to business. He died in Harare in 1994. 

Geographic association:  Zimbabwe

Organization association:  Ov Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) | Southern Rhodesia African National Congress (SRANC)

Wikipedia

In addition to founding the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU), Julius Nyerere served as the first Prime Minister of Tanganyika, President of Tanganyika, and eventually the first President of Tanzania. He held the latter position from 1964 until 1985. Nyerere agitated for Tanganyika’s independence and once in power pursued pan-Africanist and socialist policies. A controversial figure, particularly for his use of authoritarian practices as President and the construction of a one-party state, he is nonetheless still greatly respected in Tanzania for his essential role in founding the nation. Nyerere died in 1999 in London. 

Geographic association:  Tanzania 

Organization association:  Tanzania Africa National Union (TANU)

Wikipedia

Once a founder of the Zimbabwe African National Union, Sithole eventually split from the party to create the more moderate ZANU-Ndonga party, still in resistance to the white minority government of Rhodesia. He spent ten years in prison (1964-1974) after Rhodesia’s president banned ZANU, which Sithole was president of at the time. After a period of exile, he served as a parliamentary representative of Chipinge province from 1995 until 2000. He died later that year. 

Geographic association:  Zimbabwe

Organization association:  Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) | ZANU-Ndonga Party

Wikipedia

A Zimbabwean politician and military commander, Tekere served for a time as the Secretary General of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU). Initially an ally of Robert Mugabe, the two later fell out over difference ideological visions and as the latter felt threatened by Tekere’s popularity. In 1980, Tekere was charged with the murder of a white farm manager named Gerald Adams. Although the court recognized he had killed Adams, it maintained he had acted under the belief that state security was at risk. In 1990, Tekere ran against Mugabe but lost due to election rigging. He died in 2011 but is still viewed as a hero by the ZANU-PF (ZANU-Patriotic Front). 

Geographic association:  Zimbabwe

Organization association:  Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU)

Wikipedia

Originally from New Zealand, Garfield moved to Southern Rhodesia to work as Christian Missionary (the school he ran employed Robert Mugabe as a teacher). In 1948, Todd was elected to parliament and attempted to implement various policies to improve the educational opportunities of the black majority and voting eligibility. After being pushed out of the United Rhodesia Party, he became more openly critical of white minority rule in Southern Rhodesia, and was at one point put under house arrest by Ian Smith’s government. Being white himself, he was largely viewed as a “traitor” by other white Rhodesians. When Zimbabwe gained independence, Todd criticized the violent rule of Robert Mugabe, despite having supported him openly in the past. The criticism of Mugabe resulted in his being stripped of Zimbabwean nationality. He died in 2002 in Bulawayo. 

Geographic association:  Zimbabwe

Organization association:  Southern Rhodesian Colonial Government 

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A founding member of the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), Zvobgo served as the party’s spokesman in the late 1970s. After attending college in the United States, he spent period of seven years in prison (1964-1971) for political activism against minority white rule in Rhodesia. After Zimbabwe’s independence, he served on its first cabinet as the Minister for Local Government and Housing and later Minister for Justice. Although a prominent ZANU-PF member and colleague of Robert Mugabe, he ultimately would criticize Mugabe’s authoritarian policies and was even subject to an internal party disciplinary inquiry. For that reason, he was gradually pushed out of the cabinet. He died of cancer in 2004.  

Geographic association:  Zimbabwe

Organization association:  Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) 

Wikipedia