Samora Machel’s was one of the most important figures in the fight for independence of Mozambique. He also aided neighboring countries in their fight against colonialism and inequality. For this reason, he is highly regarded in Mozambique’s history as well as other neighboring countries. Machel was born in 1933 in a small village North of the capital Maputo. He grew up in a poor farming family that went through several hardships during Machel’s youth. Samora Machel received his education from a catholic school but, also worked to help sustain his family at the same time. During this time there was little education or opportunity for black Mozambicans. However, he was able to become a nurse which was one of the few professions that black Mozambicans were able to pursue.

Map of Portuguese Mozambique | Source: Wikipedia

Fight For Independence

During his time as a nurse, he was a first-hand witness at the inequality and discrimination faced by Africans such as unequal pay and lack of medical attention. He became active in protests against unfair practices in the hospitals and this would be helpful in his political career. In 1962 he joined FRELIMO (Mozambique Liberation Front), an anti-colonialist political party which led an armed struggle against Portugal for independence. The Portuguese ruled over Mozambique for several centuries, and it was a period of great suffering for the native people of Mozambique.

Samora Machel With FRELIMO Soldiers | Source: Wikipedia

Samora Machel was then sent abroad to receive military training from various sources. In 1964 Machel returned to Mozamqiue to lead FRELIMO in their campaign against Portugal’s colonial regime. In time Machel rose through the ranks until becoming commander in chief of FRELIMO after the death of the previous leader in 1969. Portugal became weak after years of fighting various fronts in Africa and a coup in 1974 was the nail in the coffin for the Portuguese Empire. On June 25th 1975 independence was declared and Samora Machel was the countries 1st president. However, in 1986 while flying back to Mozambique from a trip in Zambia his plane was shot down in South African territory and he died instantly. There was suspicion that the South African apartheid government was involved but, nothing has been officially confirmed to this day.

Airplane Remnants at Samora Machel Monument, South Africa | Source: Wikipedia

Remembering Samora Machel

There have been various monuments and memorials dedicated to Samora Machel and the currency of Mozambique features his portrait. For example the Mozambique 20 Meticais, 2011 features the bank logo of the Banco de Mocambique, and the first president of Mozambique Samora Machel on the obverse. The reverse shows the rhinoceros standing in front of the savannah.

Mozambique 20 Meticais | 2011 | Source: Banknote World

Also the Mozambique 5,000 Meticais, 1991 shows Samora Machel, the coat of arms, and the FRELIMO monument in Maputo on the front. The reverse side features the bank logo, and four workers in a steel foundry.

Mozambique 5,000 Meticais | 1991 | Source: Banknote World



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