44 Facts About Samora Machel


Samora Moises Machel was a Mozambican military commander and political leader.


Samora Machel was born in the village of Madragoa, Gaza Province, Mozambique, to a family of farmers.


Samora Machel's grandfather had been an active collaborator of Gungunhana.


Samora Machel was forced to accept lower prices for his crops than White farmers; compelled to grow labour-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, Samora Machel's father was a successful farmer: he owned four plows and 400 head of cattle by 1940.


Samora Machel grew up in this farming village and attended mission elementary school.


Samora Machel started to study nursing in the capital city of Lourenco Marques, beginning in 1954.

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Samora Machel worked at the hospital until he left the country to join the Mozambican nationalist struggle in neighbouring Tanzania.


Samora Machel was attracted to anti-colonial ideals and began his political activities in the Miguel Bombarda hospital in Lourenco Marques, where he protested against the fact that black nurses were paid less than whites doing the same job.


Samora Machel decided to leave Lourenco Marques, when a white anti-fascist, the pharmaceutical representative Joao Ferreira, warned him that he was being watched by the Portuguese political police, the PIDE.


Samora Machel slipped across the border, and made his way to join FRELIMO in Dar es Salaam, via Swaziland, South Africa and Botswana.


In Dar es Salaam, Samora Machel volunteered for military service, and was one of the second group of FRELIMO guerrillas sent for training in Algeria.


Samora Machel rapidly rose up the ranks of the guerrilla army, the FPLM, and became the head of the army after the death of its first commander, Filipe Samuel Magaia, in October 1966.


Samora Machel launched the largest offensive of Portugal's colonial wars, Operation Gordian Knot, in 1970, concentrating on what was regarded as the FRELIMO heartland of Cabo Delgado in the far north.


Samora Machel reacted by shifting the focus of the war elsewhere, stepping up FRELIMO operations in the western province of Tete.


Samora Machel had been commander of the Portuguese forces in Guinea-Bissau, then Portuguese Guinea, and was believed to be deeply implicated in the assassination of the Guinean nationalist leader, Amilcar Cabral.


Samora Machel dreamed of a Lusophone commonwealth run from Lisbon, and wanted a referendum on independence.


Samora Machel rejected such plans with the pithy remark: "You don't ask a slave if he wants to be free, particularly when he is already in revolt, and much less if you happen to be a slave-owner".


Samora Machel's answer was that Frelimo should really be talking to the MFA, particular to military intellectuals such as Col.


Samora Machel refused to give the Portuguese the ceasefire they wanted.


Samora Machel returned home triumphantly, in a journey "from the Rovuma to the Maputo", in which he addressed rallies in every major population centre in the country.


On June 25,1975, Samora Machel proclaimed "the total and complete independence of Mozambique and its constitution into the People's Republic of Mozambique".


Samora Machel's government moved quickly to bring key areas under state control.


In March 1976, Samora Machel's government implemented United Nations sanctions against the Smith government, and closed the borders with Rhodesia.


Tired of the divisions within Zimbabwean nationalism, Samora Machel sponsored an alternative to both ZANU and its rival ZAPU.

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Samora Machel accepted the reality that the people doing most of the fighting in Zimbabwe were ZANLA.


Samora Machel sent Mozambican units into Zimbabwe to fight alongside ZANU guerrillas, while insisting that the new British Conservative government, under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, should resume its responsibilities as the colonial power.


Samora Machel was fully aware of the dangerous ethnic divisions in Zimbabwe, with ZANU drawing most of its support from the Shona majority, and ZAPU from the minority Ndebele people.


In either case, this violated a promise which Samora Machel gave to the Tanzanian and Zambian Presidents, Julius Nyerere and Kenneth Kaunda in 1975.


Samora Machel was re-elected President of Frelimo, and warmly embraced Oliver Tambo.


Samora Machel loathed the Malawian "life President" Hastings Kamuzu Banda, who was the only leader of an independent African state who had established diplomatic relations with Pretoria.


On 19 October 1986, Samora Machel attended a summit in Mbala, Zambia, called to put pressure on Zairean dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, over his support for the Angolan opposition movement UNITA.


Samora Machel had a meeting scheduled for the following morning at which he intended to reshuffle the leadership of the armed forces.


Samora Machel was buried in a star-shaped crypt at Mozambican Heroes' Square, a traffic junction in Maputo.


Samora Machel returned to the Miguel Bombarda Hospital and was accepted onto a course of further training.


Samora Machel gave birth to their daughter Ornila in February 1963, three weeks before Machel left Mozambique to join Frelimo.


Later, Samora Machel expressed remorse for what he had come to see as bad behaviour towards Sorita and Irene.


Samora Machel became one of the earliest recruits to the Women's Detachment of the guerrilla army, and campaigned vigorously for women's full inclusion within all aspects of the liberation struggle.


Samora Machel was probably suffering from leukaemia, although pancreatic cancer is another possibility.


Samora Machel worked as a teacher, first in Frelimo-held areas in Cabo Delgado province, and then at the Frelimo school in Tanzania.


Samora Machel became Minister for Education and Culture in newly independent Mozambique.


Samora Machel established a strong relationship with Italy, because of its interest in fighting apartheid and Portuguese colonialism.


On 24 and 25 March 1973, Samora Machel took part in the first "National Conference of solidarity against colonialism and imperialism for freedom and independence of Mozambique, Angola and Guinea Bissau".


When Reggio Emilia sent the first solidarity ship "Amanda", Samora Machel welcomed it at the port of Maputo.