Our African hero for today is Mozambique’s Samora Machel
Samora Machel was an anti-colonial freedom fighter who served as the first President of Mozambique from the country’s independence in 1975. He led in the fight for Mozambique’s independence against Portugal.
Born on 29 September in 1933, Machel ventured into political activism when he was practising as a nurse at the Miguel Bombarda hospital in Lourenço Marques. When he discovered that black nurses earned less than white nurses, he protested. After ten years, he quit working at the hospital after he was told that the Portuguese political police were watching him.
He then slipped away from Mozambique and joined the Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo) in Dar es Salaam. He had to travel through Swaziland, South Africa and Botswana, where he got on a plane carrying South Africa’s African National Congress recruits.
He rapidly rose the ranks of Frelimo’s military faction in Dar to become the leader after the death of Filipe Samuel Magaia, in October 1966. Four years later, he was voted as the leader of Frelimo, and became the lead negotiator of independence between Mozambique and Portugal.
Once independence was scheduled for June 25, 1975, Machel was able to return home to Maputo, where he received a hero’s welcome. He became Mozambique’s first president and declared that the country will be “a state of People’s Democracy, in which, under the leadership of the worker-peasant alliance, all patriotic strata commit themselves to the destruction of the sequels of colonialism, and to annihilate the system of exploitation of man by man”
Samora provided key support for the freedom fighters of Zimbabwe in their fight for independence.
His presidency would, however, be cut short when he was killed in a plane crash on this day in 1986 on his way to Maputo from a summit in Zambia.
Legendary South African singer, Miriam Makeba dedicated dedicated her ‘Aluta Continua’ song to Samora Machel and the FRELIMO.
In ending, here’s a quote by President Machel on the need for solidarity and unity:
“International solidarity is not an act of charity: It is an act of unity between allies fighting on different terrains toward the same objective. The foremost of these objectives is to aid the development of humanity to the highest level possible.”