The African nation of Mozambique endured a brutal, nine-year war to gain its independence from Portugal. The war ended in 1975, with the European colonizers ruling for 477 years prior.
The seeds for the independence war were planted as a result of anti-colonial rhetoric and communist ideals beginning to take hold in many countries in Africa. In the case of Mozambique, the ethnic Portuguese who lived in the nation appeared to benefit from policies geared toward them while natives were often seen as an after-thought.
An uprising began to form among the indigenous peoples of the nation, with freedom fighter leaders saying that the country discriminated against them. Because of the disparity between the Portuguese and natives in the country, a swiftly growing rift came to a head in the late 1950s and early 1960s as it became clear White Portuguese Mozambicans and the Black Mozambican community were not on the same level.
The Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO) was a group of guerrilla fighters based in Tanzania who began plotting to overtake the Portuguese in the nation in September of 1964. Portugal was embroiled in other territorial clashes with Angola and Portuguese Guinea, which was known as the Portuguese Colonial War (1961-1974).
The Portuguese military attempted to stamp out efforts in the territories it occupied and even found some success, but the African guerrilla forces proved to be a relentless foe.
The Mozambican War for Independence was fortified by the support of the Soviet Union, which helped many of the anti-colonization efforts across Africa at the time. The Russians supplied FRELIMO forces with weapons, as did China.
The colonial wars zapped 44 per cent of Portugal’s budget and the unrest in the European country came to an end with the “Carnation Revolution” coup in April 1974. With the ousting of leader Marcelo Caetano in Lisbon, many Portuguese Mozambicans left Africa to return to their original nation.
General António de Spínola, the new head of government in Portugal, called for a ceasefire and negotiations between the country and FRELIMO officials helped with the signing of the Lusaka Accord on September 7, 1974.
In the accord, all power was handed over to FRELIMO without elections, and the country’s formal independence began on June 25, 1975, which was the 13th anniversary of the founding of FRELIMO.
Let shares with you 6 famous people you didn’t know are from the southern African nation.
Born to a Portuguese father and a Mozambican mother, Mariza, who has several platinum-selling albums to her name is widely known for bringing to the spotlight the traditional Portuguese music genre known as fado.
She received the prestigious Best Artist Award from the Amália Rodrigues Foundation in 2005 and was also appointed a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador the same year.
Regarded as one of the best footballers to have ever come out of Portugal and to have ever played, Eusébio da Silva Ferreira was born in Lourenço Marques (now Maputo) on January 25, 1942, to an Angolan father and a Mozambican mother.
Eusébio, who was also nicknamed the Black Panther, the Black Pearl and o Rei (the king) gained a cult hero status during his playing days with Benfica, one of the most popular teams in Portugal as well as the Portuguese national team, scoring 733 goals in 745 professional matches.
He made a name for himself at the 1966 World Cup in England finishing as the competition’s top scorer with 9 goals and leading his team to finish third. He also won several domestic cups as well as the European Cup with Benfica in the 1961-62 season.
Eusébio also won and received several individual accolades and honors including the Ballon d’Or in 1965, the European Golden Boot in 1968, World Soccer’s Selection of the 100 Greatest Footballers of All Time, Grand Cross of the Order of Prince Henry, FIFA International Football Hall of Champion, FIFA 100, just to mention a few.
He passed away on January 5, 2014, after suffering a heart attack.
Born in Nampula, Mozambique in 1972, Abel Xavier is a former professional footballer who played for both the junior national teams of Portugal as well as the senior team.
Xavier, who has also played for several clubs including Benfica, Liverpool, Everton, Roma, LA Galaxy, just to mention a few currently coaches the national team of Mozambique.
An African music great and legend, Afric Simone, was born to a Brazilian father and a Mozambican mother. He shot into the limelight in 1975 when his hit song “Ramaya” debuted on the European charts. Another song titled “Hafanana“, which was released the same year was also a commercial success.
Afric Simone has several albums to his name and has toured and performed in several countries.
A very popular figure in her home country, Maria Mutola is a retired athlete with several honors to her name. Mutola, who mostly competed in 800-metre events competed at 6 Olympic games and made history at Sydney 2000 when she won Mozambique’s first ever gold medal at the Olympics.
She has also competed in other athletic events breaking records and winning medals along the way.
Born in Chibuto in the Gaza Province of Mozambique, Wazimbo is regarded as one of the most popular marrabenta (a traditional Mozambican dance style genre) musicians.
His popular 1988 hit song “Nwahulwana” was featured in an advert by Microsoft and was also partly used as a soundtrack for the 2001 Sean Penn directed movie “The Pledge”.