Neto, Augustinho

1922–1979
President of Angola

Augustinho Neto was a leader in the fight against colonial rule in ANGOLA and the country’s first president after independence. The son of a pastor, Neto went to Portugal to study medicine in 1947 but soon became involved in the Angolan independence movement and was also involved in communist activities. After returning to Angola in 1958, he was arrested and exiled, first to CAPE VERDE and then to Portugal. In 1962 Neto escaped, went back to Angola, and assumed leadership of the forces resisting Portuguese control of the country. The fight for independence would not be an easy one, nor would it be quick. For the next thirteen years, Neto’s leadership remained constant as his forces  struggled to gain power in the face of strong opposition from the Portuguese.

Angola won its independence in 1975 and Neto was elected president. Almost immediately, however, SOUTH AFRICA invaded and tried to take over the country. Only the arrival of Cuban troops saved Angola from defeat. Neto died just a few years after the war ended. In addition to his political achievements, Neto was also a notable poet who published a volume of verse entitled Sacred Hope. (See also Colonialism in AfricaIndependence Movements.)

Neto, Augustinho