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Biographies of Historical Figures

Biographies of significant figures from throughout Africa's history. Study the lives of explorers, rulers, artists, warriors, and thinkers who had a prominent role in the development of the continent.
  1. Apartheid Era Leaders (28)
  2. Artists and Writers (2)
  3. Explorers (13)
  4. Pan-Africanists (12)

Umaru Yar'Adua
Umaru Yar'Adua was president of Nigeria from 2007, breaking the cycle of civilian rule and military coup which had dogged the country since independence. Yar'Adua was somewhat reclusive in his dealings with the public and press, and his only major political success was dealing with the civil unrest in the oil-rich Niger Delta -- convincing many to give up their arms during a three-month a…

Félix Houphouët-Boigny Quotes
A Selection of Quotes by Félix Houphouët-Boigny

Luís de Almeida Cabral
A Biography of the Guinea-Bissau Leader Luís Cabral

Jean-Bédel Bokassa Quotes
A Selection of Quotes by Jean-Bédel Bokassa

Idi Amin Dada
Idi Amin, who became known as the 'Butcher of Uganda' for his brutal, despotic rule whilst president of country in the 1970s, is possibly the most notorious of all Africa's post-independence dictators.

Quotes: Idi Amin Dada
A selection of quotes by Idi Amin Dada, president of Uganda from 25 January 1971 to 13 April 1979.

Idi Amin Timeline
Key Events in the Life of Idi Amin Dada.

Sir Seretse Khama
Sir Seretse Khama, the first president of Botswana and a highly regarded nationalist leader, guided his country to political and economic independence.

Jomo Kenyatta
First president of Kenya and prominent independence leader. Born into dominant Kikuyu culture, Kenyatta became its most famous interpreter of Kikuyu traditions through his book Facing Mount Kenya. Part 1 of his biography, from his early days to his political awakening.

Wangari Maathai
Biography of the environmental and human rights activist, and first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, Wangari Maathai. Part 1: Early Life and Career.

Wangari Maathai
Biography of Wangari Maathai. Part 2: Activism.

Wangari Maathai
Biography of Wangari Maathai. Part 3: Politics.

Thomas Joseph Mboya
Tom Mboya was a Kenyan trade unionist and statesman. Earmarked as Jomo Kenyatta's successor, Mboya was assassinated six years into independence, sparking tribal unrest between Kenyatta's Kikuyu supporters and Mboya's Luo.

Life and Times of Cetshwayo kaMpande, King of the Zulus
Find out more about the life and times of Cetshwayo kaMpande, how he became king of the Zulus, and how he faced internal rivalry and conflict with the Boers and the British.

Edward Frederick Mutesa II
Edward Frederick Mutesa was the first president of a newly independent Uganda and the kabaka (king) of the BaGanda people. He was deposed by Apolo Milton Obote in 1966, after which he went into exile in Britain.

Julius Kambarage Nyerere
A Biography of Julius Kambarage Nyerere, the father of Tanzania.

Julius Kambarage Nyerere Quotes
A Selection of Quotes by Julius Kambarage Nyerere

Herman Animba Toivo ja Toivo
Herman Toivo ja Toivo, one of the co-founders of the South West African People's Organisation (SWAPO), may be considered to be the father of the Namibian independence struggle. Toivo stayed in South West Africa to face imprisonment...

Photo Gallery of African Leaders
Browse through this photo gallery of African Leaders.

Christiaan Neethling Barnard
"On Saturday, I was a surgeon in South Africa, very little known. On Monday, I was world renowned." Find out more about the renowned heart surgeon, Christiaan Neethling Barnard

Seretse Khama Quotes
A selection of quotes by Seretse Khama, first president of Botswana.

Danie Theron -- Hero of the Anglo-Boer War
Danie Theron was a true patriot -- believing in the just and divine right of the Boer to stand against British interference.

John Garang de Mabior
Colonel John Garang de Mabior was a Sudanese rebel leader and founder of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) which fought a 22 year civil war against the northern dominated, Islamist Sudanese Government. Was made vice president of Sudan on the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005, shortly before his death.

Joseph Lagu
Founder and leader of the Sudanese rebel group Anya Nya.

Senzangakhona kaJama
Senzangakhona kaJama was a Zulu chief who's claim to fame is as father of Zulu kings Shaka, Dingane, and Mpande, and as grandfather to Cetshwayo.

Biography of Mpande kaSenzangakhona
Mpande kaSenzangakhona was king of the Zulu nation from 1840 to 1872 (longest reigning of all Zulu kings).

Étienne Gnassingbé Eyadéma
Étienne Gnassingbé Eyadéma Biography. Part 1 -- President of a One-Party State.

Étienne Gnassingbé Eyadéma cont.
Part 2 -- Growing Demands for Democracy.

Sylvanus Épiphanio Olympio
Sylvanus Épiphanio Olympio was a nationalist leader in German (later French) Togoland, the first president of the newly independent Republic of Togo (27 April 1960 - 13 January 1963), and the first sub-Saharan, post-independence president to be assassinated.

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