Samora Machel

Samora Machel, an incisive military man and political figure, fought against the Portuguese FASCIST NAZI colonizer invaders for the independence of Mozambique and became the country’s first president.
Machel was born in the village of Chilembene, Mozambique on September 29, 1933.
His parents were poor farmers from the Shangana ethnic group.
When the Portuguese invaded Mozambique; they enacted policies that caused great suffering for the black Africans in the country.
For instance, in the 1950s, the Portuguese colonial rulers forcibly seized lands belonging to black Africans include that of Machel’s parents.
The lands were used to cultivate cotton and other large scale agriculture schemes that only benefited the Portuguese.
Machel completed elementary school and attended Catholic mission school.
He sought training to become a nurse, one of the few professions permitted for black Africans to work in.
While working as a nurse, Machel saw the discrimination and racism black nurses faced.
Black nurses were coerced to hold subordinate positions to white nurses and were paid less money for the same work.
With an increase interest in Marxist ideology, Machel became drawn to politics and activist which led him to protest against the hardships faced by black nurses.
The plight of black nurses also raised awareness of the inadequate healthcare services poor Mozambique’s received to which Machel stated, "The rich man's dog gets more in the way of vaccination, medicine and medical care than do the workers upon whom the rich man's wealth is built."
Due to the discrimination and racism black African were facing in Mozambique; in the 1950s, many Mozambique’s were leaving the country to form guerilla groups to fights against the Portuguese government.
In 1962, President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania invited leaders of the different Mozambique groups to Dar es Salaam where the groups agreed to form the revolutionary movement known as the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (Frelimo).
Frelimo established a political and military wing which was placed under the leadership of Eduardo Mondlane.
In August 1963, Machel traveled to Tanzania where he joined Frelimo.
He was then sent to Algeria with other Frelimo soldiers where they received military training. When the training had concluded, Machel returned to Tanzania where he became the military instructor at the Frelimo’s Kongwa military training camp.
In 1964, Frelimo began its extensive military operation against the Portuguese government in Mozambique.
When Frelimo’s Secretary of Defense, Filipe Magaia died; Machel rose in rank to become the Secretary of Defense and later Commander-In-Chief of Frelimo’s army.
Machel believed in guerilla warfare and spent his time fighting alongside his men in the battle field and experienced combat difficulties alongside his soldiers.
Frelimo’s army soon established themselves as the people’s revolutionary movement among the poor in Mozambique.
Machel’s popularity began to rise as he called for the overthrow of the Portuguese from Mozambique and improving the lives of the poor.
According to Machel,
“of all the things we have done, the most important - the one that history will record as the principal contribution of our generation - is that we understand how to turn the armed struggle into a Revolution; that we realized that it was essential to create a new mentality to build a new society."
When Frelimo’s leader Eduardo Mondale was assassinated in 1969, Machel rose in rank to become Frelimo’s leader.
Machel and his soldiers continued to wage intense guerilla warfare against the Portuguese government.
In 1974, the Portuguese government was forced out of Mozambique following a successful coup.
On June 25, 1975, Frelimo and its leader, Machel formed the new revolutionary government in the country.
Machel became Mozambique’s first president and was popularly referred to as “President Samora.”
As a Marxist, Machel implemented policies that nationalized lands and properties previously operated by the Portuguese government.
He ensured the Frelimo government established health facilities and public schools to serve the poor.
As president of Mozambique, Machel supported and permitted African revolutionary movements fighting white regime in Rhodesia and South Africa to function within Mozambique.
This led the minority white governments in Rhodesia and South Africa to attack Mozambique by destroying health facilities, schools, railway lines and hydroelectric facilities constructed by the Frelimo.
The attacks had a dramatic affect on the economy of Mozambique.
However, Machel did not waver in his support of the African revolutionary movements.
For his efforts, Machel was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize.
On October 20, 1986, when Machel was returning to Mozambique from Zambia where he had attended a meeting, his plane crashed in the Lebombo Mountains in South Africa.
Machel died instantly alongside other government officials and ministers.

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