Samora Moises Machel (September 29, 1933 – October 19, 1986) was a Mozambican military commander, revolutionary socialist leader and eventual President of Mozambique. Machel led the country from independence in 1975 until his death in 1986, when his presidential aircraft crashed in mountainous terrain where the borders of Mozambique, Swaziland and South Africa converge.
Samora Machel was born in the village of Madragoa (today's Chilembene), Gaza Province, Mozambique, to a family of farmers. His grandfather had been an active collaborator of Gungunhana. Under Portuguese rule, his father, like most black Mozambicans, was classified by the demeaning term "indigena" (native). He 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 Lourenço Marques (today Maputo), 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 Lourenço 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...
Quotes by Samora Machel
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