Machel, Samora Moises
President of Mozambique
Samora Machel was a leader of the independence struggle in MOZAMBIQUE who became the country's first president in 1975. He became politically active as a young man, joining the movement known as FRELIMO that was dedicated to Mozambique's independence. He volunteered for FRELIMO military training in ALGERIA and was later sent to Mozambique to participate in armed resistance to Portuguese rule.
After FRELIMO's leader Eduardo MONDLANE was assassinated in 1969, Machel took control of the movement. Machel led military campaigns against Portuguese colonial forces in the mid-1970s that resulted in decisive victories for FRELIMO. In 1975 Mozambique gained its independence and Machel was elected president. His presidency was marked by efforts to combat rebels from Rhodesia and SOUTH AFRICA sent to undermine the new nation. In 1986 he died in an airplane crash that many suspect was caused by sabotage. (See also Colonialism in Africa.)