Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Clown In A President

Samora Moises Machel

A Comedian and A Dictator



An African


About the Author


Chapter 1 : Samora

Chapter 2 : The Beginning of the Struggle

Chapter 3 : The Rise of President Samora

Chapter 4 : The President

Chapter 5 : The Rise of the RENAMO War

Chapter 6 : A Man of Actions

Chapter 7 : The RENAMO War

Chapter 8 : The Shameful Country

Chapter 9 : Aluta Continua

Chapter 10 : The Last Show


During the 3rd century, the Bantu tribes - mainly from Central and Western Africa - moved into Mozambique. In the 11th century, the Shona also moved into the country, in great numbers, and, consequently, occupied a large portion of Mozambique.

In 1498, Vasco da Gama led the first Portuguese settlers into Mozambique. This influenced many Arabs and Indians to partake in the trading market. The Portuguese moved into the country in large numbers and, eventually, appropriated the land, as well as the mineral resources, from the Indigenous Mozambicans.
 In the 18th century, Mozambique became a market centre for slave trade. The slave industry existed until 1842, when it was officially banned. By then, Mozambique had become a Portuguese colony, which resulted in Mozambique becoming one of Portugal’s provinces under the Salazar government. All the laws that were passed in Lisbon were made effective in Mozambique.


“There is no place like Africa...” Nkhwame Nkrumah

A statement from a proud African


I think of all the great leaders of this continent,

I think of Julius Nyerere, Jomo Kenyatta,

Eduardo Mondlane, Samora Machel,

Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela and many others,

Who dedicated their lives to the struggle

of this beautiful continent.

I think of an African Identity,

Based on the spirit of Ubuntu,

Our diverse cultures and traditions.

I think of tireless men and women out there,

Who are striving to change the image of this beautiful continent,

Who are willing to move away from poverty, corruption,

Unemployment, diseases and bring to an end to the wars

That has destroyed our identity.

“‘An African’ is that person who strives for a better Africa. It is a struggle that began with Nkhwame Nkrumah, and which Thabo Mbeki is fulfilling through his call to initiate the African Renaissance. An African is the person who works towards the development and prosperity of this continent, in order to restore and recover what had been stolen from Africa. (He or she is the one who is transparent and accountable in anything that concerns Africans??). He or she is the one who is proud of our ever-changing seasons, and who also ploughs and ensures that we have enough of the fertile land left for us by our forefathers”.

Eric Stengile

(South African High School student)


A Clown In A President “…represents the lives of many brothers and sisters who dedicated themselves to the struggle for the liberation of the African continent, in the hope of one day living in a free and better Africa, but who were detained, tortured and even killed - some of them without trial - by the very countrymen who took over power when the colonial powers were overthrown.

In today’s Africa, most of these heroes have been forgotten, as if they never existed, when, in actual fact, without their contributions to the struggle, victory may have been delayed, even if it was certain.

As the leaders of contemporary Africa advocate the rebirth of the continent through the newly launched African Union, it cannot be built on a false foundation. If this new Union is, and is to be considered, different from its predecessor, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) needs to embrace the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) as the defining value of its foundation.

While the OAU was formed with genuine intentions, it is also the same organization that was used for propaganda purposes by African Dictators. Some of the history and people mentioned in books published under the authority of the OAU and distributed in National libraries in countries across Africa, are a testimony of how African leaders manipulated this organization for their own propaganda and the spreading of fabricated information.

A biophysical, social, political and economic African Renaissance can only be achieved if all citizens are considered equal, the rights of all are respected, and every citizen’s efforts and contribution are acknowledged, as Africa is not only for those in power at that given moment, but for all Africans, irrespective of tribe, religion, family background and colour of skin.

It is hoped that this book, …” A Clown In President, will serve as a lesson to all our Africa leaders so that ‘Never again shall Africa become a continent of Dictators’.


Solomon Mondlane was born on 30 June 1976 as Domingo Tshekefane Mondlane in Chinonanquila, Maputo. He is the son of Vicente Mododweni Mondlane of Manjacaze in the Gaza Province of Mozambique and Verah Stengile of Johannesburg, South Africa.

Solomon escaped the RENAMO/FRELIMO war and settled in Swaziland as a Refugee at the age of 9. His aunt, Leah, was abducted by RENAMO and has since never been traced. Solomon Mondlane has challenged Mrs. Graça Machel to create a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) for Mozambique. In his first book, “The Life and Walks of Dr. Jose C. Massinga”, Mondlane stated that Graça should stop separating the issue of the death of her husband from the issue of the many victims who suffered under President Samora’s regime.

By Kenneth Makhanya


We can forgive, but we cannot forget. Today Mozambique is ruined, thanks to President Samora’s one-party system. I hated Samora, and I hated those who were around him. People like Sergio Viera, Armando Guebuza, Marcelino dos Santos, Carlos Monteiro and many of those who influenced Samora to run our country like he did. He definitely ran our country like his own backyard. I was imprisoned and tortured without trial. Today, I can’t even walk properly, because I was forced to walk barefoot on a cold floor during my five years of imprisonment. Sergio Vieira was the man behind my sufferings.

What makes it worse, is that on the day I, together with 16 other men, was released, no explanation was given. Today, we are living under a democratic society, but nothing is said about those who were victimised under Samora’s regime. To show that we are human beings, not even an apology has been received from the government; instead we are prevented from challenging the government.

I thank Solomon for standing up for the people of Mozambique. Without him many things that actually happened could not be known. I warned the government before:

‘Solomon can be a helpful source in our country if given a chance, but if they will still run after his life, then that will never solve any problem.’

He is straightforward and to the point. I appeal to the government to consider re-visiting the issue of all those who were victimised during the war. We don’t need to see the perpetrators brought before the law, but we want to see a public apology, which will make the victims feel that they are recognised. Many people disappeared and the government must work on a programme that will trace those missing family members. While we were in prison we lost everything we had and nothing was done.

After the launch of his last book, ‘The Life and Walks of Dr. Jose C. Massinga’ (my biography), Solomon escaped death after he was abducted, and he also received threats from the government. If that continues, then it will prove that our country is not willing to work collectively with its people.

Thanks once more. I can’t express enough how grateful I am to this young man.

Dr. Jose C. Massinga

(Ex-Political Prisoner and ex-Member of Parliament)

CHAPTER 1: Samora

“He is a mad man who ran our country like his own back yard.”

This statement was made by my brother during one of our political conversations. He was referring to the late President of the then People’s Republic of Mozambique, Samora Moises Machel, better known as ‘President Samora’.

“These politicians decided to have a lunatic running our country like a shebeen. Look what he did,” my brother continued, pointing out the damages caused by the 16 years of civil war under President Samora’s leadership.

Who was he? The President, a comrade, the son of Africa, a father of the Mozambican Nation, a dictator, an authoritarian, a comedian and entertainer… That was President Samora, who declared himself a life President of Mozambique.

President Samora was born on 29 September 1933 in a place called Chilembene in the province of Gaza, in the southern part of Mozambique. His parents were poor peasants whose farm was forcefully taken from them by the Portuguese settlers to grow cotton. In order to earn a living, they worked for these colonialists under slave conditions.

In the early 1950’s, President Samora’s relatives settled in South Africa and worked in the mines. His elder brother died while working in the mines under bad conditions. Samora later went to live in Lourenço Marques (which is now known as Maputo). He attended his lower primary at a Catholic School, and while studying he also worked as a gardener for a Portuguese family.

It is not known how far he went with his education, although it is believed that he completed grade 5. He was later fortunate to be employed as a mortuary caretaker in Lourenço Marques Central Hospital, presently known as Maputo Central Hospital. During his stay in Lourenço Marques, he witnessed what his people were subjected to under the Portuguese regime. President Samora himself was working under terrible conditions, where he experienced insults and physical abuse. Despite handling corpses - some of which were badly damaged – he was never given counselling.

He took note of everything that was happening to his fellow black Mozambicans: his people were living a miserable life of slavery. He was against the forced-labour law, which was well known as ‘shibalo’, whereby people were forced to plough the Portuguese sugar cane fields without pay. He was against corporal punishment, which his people were subjected to as a way of restoring order in the country. He was against the occupations - by the settlers - of land left to the Mozambicans by our forefathers. He was against all the laws that were passed in Portugal and made effective in Mozambique, (which was lawfully considered to be one of Portugal’s provinces under Salazar).

President Samora noted that dogs were given better treatment in hospitals than his fellow black men. To make things worse, he was forced to accommodate dead dogs in the black mortuary. This knowledge led him to lead the first ever nurses’ strike, demanding better treatment of his people. This statement summed up his grievances: “The rich man’s dog gets more in the way of vaccination, medicine and medical care than do the workers upon whom the rich man’s wealth is built.”

This event marked the beginning of President Samora’s journey into the world of politics.

CHAPTER 2 - The Beginning Of The Struggle

In the early 1960’s, President Samora heard about Dr. Eduardo Chivambo Mondlane who resided in the United States of America. He originated from the province of Gaza, where President Samora was also born. Dr. Mondlane was planning to launch a guerilla war against the Portuguese regime. He had visited Mozambique in 1961, and was well-received by the Portuguese government during his visit. Dr. Mondlane was well-respected by both the government and his native people. During his short stay in Lourenço Marques, he held meetings with many blacks, in an attempt to understand them, and to get more information about what they were experiencing under Salazar’s regime. Addressing the media, he said: “It is clear that our people are experiencing hardships in their native land. Something needs to be done and must be done soon.” He gathered contacts from many of his people and promised to return to them.

Towards the end of 1961, the late Tanzanian President, Julius Mwalimu Nyerere (commonly known as Mwalimu), invited Dr. Mondlane to his country, as there was something that concerned him about Mozambique. He had come to an understanding that there were three underground movements that were fighting against the Portuguese regime. One movement was based in Zimbabwe, one in Malawi and the other in Tanzania. He had been approached by the Tanzanian movement to assist them in organising a guerrilla movement to fight against the Portuguese regime. While he was willing to help, he was still somewhat reluctant, as he feared that the three movements might clash with one another. He feared that there might be bloodshed amongst the Blacks before the enemy was defeated.

President Nyerere saw Dr. Mondlane as the right person to work with in the formation of a guerrilla movement. He had known him from long ago, as Dr. Mondlane was his main contact in the United Nations when Tanzania was fighting for its freedom.

During their meeting, President Nyerere requested Dr. Mondlane assist his fellow Mozambicans, who were fighting a common enemy separately. He shared his fears of what might happen if these groups continued fighting that way. He called on Dr. Mondlane to intervene by bringing the three leaders to form one movement. He was prepared to help on condition that they worked as a collective.

In the beginning of 1962, with the help of President Nyerere, Dr. Mondlane invited the three leaders of the different underground movements of Mozambique to Tanzania. He called on them to work as a team in order to fight for their country’s independence. He wanted to discuss the formation of an Alliance that would lead the Mozambican people to freedom. He made them aware of President Nyerere’s offer of assistance if they were to work as a team. Dr. Mondlane assured them of his full support, and emphasized the importance of working on democratic principles: “The Alliance is not a political party that is going to govern Mozambique once we were independent. Our different movements shall split and we will contest each other in elections,” he said, bringing light to his people.

The three leaders saw Dr. Mondlane’s ideas as a brave move towards the freedom of Mozambique. They promised to come back to him once they had conducted a separate meeting. Dr. Mondlane left for the United States with the hope that the three men would agree on the most constructive way forward. Immediately after Dr. Mondlane left, the three leaders had a meeting focusing on Dr. Mondlane’s proposal. By this time plenty was happening in Mozambique: black people were tortured and used as slaves, and some were traded to Portugal to work as cheap labourers. The three men agreed on the principles needed to ensure a successful overthrow. They agreed that: ‘United they shall conquer and divided they shall fall’.

Thus, the Front Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO), known as the Frente de Libertação de Moçambique, was born. It was the union of the three underground movements that had been fighting against the Portuguese regime: UNAMO, UDENAMO and NAMU. Dr. Mondlane was invited back to Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania. He was elected FRELIMO’s first President, and Urius Simango was named his Deputy. Another important name to be noted was that of young Joaquim Alberto Chissano, who was elected FRELIMO’s youth wing leader, and later Secretary of Intelligence. Dr. Massinga was elected FRELIMO’s representative in America, where he was going to pursue his studies.

It was during this launch that Dr. Mondlane explained the role of the Alliance (FRELIMO). He emphasized that FRELIMO was not a political party but an Alliance. “Political Parties will be formed once FRELIMO becomes victorious, and this will lead to its dissolution. That is when we will see the return of UNAMO, UDENAMO and NAMU,” he said, to the jubilation of his united men and women who were willing to die for their country. Dr. Mondlane ended his gathering by singing his favourite song:


The news of the formation of FRELIMO reached President Nyerere who gave his full support to the Alliance, as promised. FRELIMO began organizing its activities in Nachingwea, Southern Tanzania.

In the meantime, Dr. Mondlane held talks with the Portuguese regime. He proposed a power sharing settlement with the Portuguese government. He stressed that war was not an answer and it was a waste of time; however, if need be, they would have no other option but to strike against the settlers. The Portuguese government rejected the proposal.

By this time the news about Dr. Mondlane and his FRELIMO movement was spreading like wild fire. Indigenous Mozambicans regarded him as a Black Messiah sent by the Almighty to set them free from the hands of the enemy. On the other hand, the Portuguese regime was not happy with the news. Their government in Portugal sent a clear message to its administration in Lourenço Marques to imprison all those who were found to be a part of, or suspected to be influenced by, FRELIMO.

Of course, many Indigenous Mozambicans were arrested and beaten up during that period. The mention of the name ‘Dr. Mondlane’ or of his organization, ‘FRELIMO’, was outlawed. By this time, many young Indigenous Mozambicans, influenced by their parents, as well as by the horrendous conditions under which they lived, joined Dr. Mondlane in Dar-es-Salaam Tanzania, where he was now based.

Portuguese soldiers were often seen in Black Communities, dispersing gatherings and making arrests. At this time, much was happening in Africa: for instance, the Republic of Congo (Zaire) was under the leadership of Blacks who were fighting against one another. Fearing a repeat of what was happening in Zaire, the government in Mozambique banned all Native Mozambicans from listening to the radio.

President Samora’s disappearance from the city of Lourenço Marques was quickly brought to the attention of the government. Although his whereabouts were unknown, it was believed that he had crossed into Tanzania where his hero, Dr. Mondlane, was based. This occurred in 1963, a year after FRELIMO was founded.

On 25 September 1964, FRELIMO, with the support of the Tanzanian government under the rule of President Julius Kambarage Nyerere, launched its war against the Portuguese regime in Mozambique. Another country that showed support to FRELIMO was the then Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) (which is simply known as Russia today). A first bullet was shot, marking the beginning of the war. FRELIMO started its fight for freedom in Rovuma. President Samora was among thousands of young men and women who entered the country of their forefathers in order to face the enemy.

FRELIMO structured its guerrilla movement by mobilizing Black Mozambicans residing near the Tanzanian borders. These people were used as ‘crossover’ bridges for those who wanted to join FRELIMO in Tanzania. People who crossed over to Tanzania were encouraged to behave like locals once they reached the borders that separated Mozambique and Tanzania. They would make their clothes very dirty, gather firewood, put their luggage in the firewood and then carry it on their heads across the borders. In doing so, they would not be noticed.

Dr. Mondlane immediately noted President Samora as a brilliant soldier. He was soon appointed as a commander in one of the military groups. President Samora’s group was always victorious whenever they faced the opposition, as was proved by the additional weapons they often acquired after returning from a fight. Dr. Mondlane negotiated for Samora to undergo military training in Russia, Algeria and other African countries. The training he underwent supplied him with more experience, thus ensuring he would become a more powerful and respected soldier. He set up the first FRELIMO training camp upon his return. President Samora was supportive to his comrades (as they often called one another) and he was positive that victory was inevitable.

In the meantime, the Portuguese government was recruiting Indigenous Mozambicans to be soldiers, and was also getting support from Portugal, in the form of 70 000 troops. The West and some European countries referred to FRELIMO as a terrorist group, but, through his network, Dr. Mondlane was able to convince the world that FRELIMO had no other option but to launch a war against the Portuguese regime, in order to free its people. In addition, the Portuguese government’s refusal to share power with the Indigenous Mozambicans perpetrated the war.

The Portuguese experienced a large exodus of Native Mozambicans from Portugal. As a result, Portugal had to work around its policies that made life difficult for Blacks: officially, Native Mozambicans were not regarded as citizens of Portugal, as only the Portuguese were given citizenship status. It was at this time that the Portuguese Government declared all Mozambicans full citizens of Portugal, saying, “All of us are Portuguese.”

The government convinced the Native Mozambicans to join the army by spreading fabricated information, such as stating that some people based in Tanzania, and led by Mondlane, were taking up arms, and were willing to steal their country. The government called on the people to defend their land. This somehow split the Native Mozambicans: some supported the Portuguese, while others supported FRELIMO.

Dr. Mondlane was well-known across the world, even before FRELIMO was formed. He had worked in America as an officer of the United Nation (UN) Trusteeship Council. He helped many African countries such as Ghana and Tanzania gain their independence. He blamed the UN and the National Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) for not acting against Portugal when the Portuguese refused to accept a proposed power sharing settlement with the Indigenous Mozambicans.

President Samora was appointed Secretary of Defence in 1966, making him eligible for membership on FRELIMO’s top three policy-making bodies. In 1968 he was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. Again this increased his political, as well as his military, responsibilities. He is believed to have turned the guerrilla movement into a very powerful army. He was famous for his slogans: “Viva Frelimo, A baixa o Colonialismo!” or “Aluta Continua!” President Samora ran the army positively and was now directly linked to other armies in the African Independent countries. He also travelled extensively to the USSR.

During the war, FRELIMO discovered a borehole several meters underground in the bushes of the northern province of Cabo Delgado. The name of this place was ‘Rwarwa’, and was subsequently used as the cooking headquarters for FRELIMO. Cooks worked in shifts, travelling long distances, transporting sacks of food and bringing back the cooked food. This borehole was also used as a hiding place. The Portuguese tried to throw bombs inside the borehole, but they were unsuccessful as the hole had many corners.

CHAPTER 3 - The Rise of President Samora

On 3 February 1969, Dr. Eduardo Chivambo Mondlane, the founder and first president of FRELIMO, was assassinated. A parcel bomb was placed on his desk, and when he opened it, the parcel exploded, killing him instantly.

Tension and anger engulfed the Indigenous Mozambicans, as well as other African countries, including South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Ghana and Swaziland, to name but a few. Confusion engulfed the FRELIMO movement and its representatives abroad. Fear was also heightened as, before he died, Dr. Mondlane had expressed concern about the division of the FRELIMO movement, and the system that was to be adopted when FRELIMO became victorious in its endeavours for freedom. Dr. Mondlane was torn between communism and capitalism. The main issue was that FRELIMO was supported by a communist state (the USSR) in the fight against the Portuguese regime, yet Dr. Mondlane believed in capitalism, having studied and worked in America. He was adamant to raise his view on the two systems. During one of his interviews he said, “It is too early for us to decide which system would be adopted once we are victorious. It will depend on what the people of Mozambique would want.”

This uncertainty made the USSR government uncomfortable, as they believed that Mozambique would automatically adopt their system because of the support they had given FRELIMO. On the other hand, the West and the European countries were not sure what Dr. Mondlane was up to. Although they knew that he had studied in a capitalist State, they were not left assured of his allegiance, as they had not been supportive of his war against the Portuguese.

Now, this division was evident within FRELIMO ranks and Dr. Mondlane had not been clear about his stand on the issue. The movement was now divided between the two foreign systems. The question was: what path would FRELIMO take without Mondlane?

Conversely, there was jubilation on the part of the Portuguese government, the West as well as some European countries: they thought that Mondlane’s death would mark the end of FRELIMO. On hearing the news, President Samora left his army in the war zone and headed for Dar-es-Salaam in order to assess the damage that was caused to the movement.

From within the darkness of death and confusion, President Samora emerged as a force of hope. After he had observed the situation, he summoned for an executive emergency meeting. This surprised everybody, as he had no right to call such a meeting; the person who was expected to call this meeting was Urius Simango, the FRELIMO Deputy President. Nevertheless, they came in numbers, albeit that the situation was tense. Amongst those present were the senior members of FRELIMO, notably Cavandame, Marcelino dos Santos, Filip Magaya, Pascoal Mocoumbi, Alberto Chipanda, Josina Muthemba (who later became President Samora’s wife), Armando Guebuza, Sergio Vieira, Carlos Monteiro, Mario Machungo, Joaquim Albert Chissano, Guejer, Justinho Chemane, Osman Abdul, Valeso Jacinto and Mabote, among many others.

President Samora rose to the occasion. He spoke confidently, addressing a distressed team of men and women. He blamed the enemy (Salazar’s International Defence Police for the State ‘PIDE’) for the death of Dr. Mondlane, and he also pointed out that some of the members of FRELIMO were also involved in his death. He promised that these members would face justice once their identities were discovered, and that the enemy would pay the hard way for the damage that had been caused. He called upon his comrades not to panic, as victory was certain, even without Dr. Mondlane.

“He started the way for us, and we shall follow,” said Samora, to the applause of the determined movement. FRELIMO mourned the death of its leader, Dr. Eduardo Mondlane, with this cry: “Viva FRELIMO! A Baixa o Colonialismo! Aluta Continua!”

President Samora was soon elected to serve on the Council of the Presidency, which was formed after Dr. Mondlane’s death, sharing the office with two more experienced and ‘educated’ men.

While serving on this Council of the Presidency, he called for another executive meeting where he officially declared to his colleagues that he was going to assume Dr. Mondlane’s responsibilities as the new President of FRELIMO. This was a shock to the whole team of senior members. The man who was tipped to step into Dr. Mondlane’s shoes, temporarily, until the next congress of FRELIMO was Urius Simango. After Samora’s announcement, senior members looked at each other without uttering a word. The meeting ended with the chanting of “Viva Frelimo.”

President Samora’s short academic career led some outsiders to question the movement's decision to accept his leadership, especially when more qualified men were available. Nevertheless, FRELIMO went ‘back to work’ with President Samora in charge. Although FRELIMO was facing division, everyone agreed on one thing: the importance of defeating the enemy. That same year, President Samora was married to his fellow comrade, Josina Muthemba, who later bore him a son.

President Samora’s marriage to Josina was somewhat suspicious to his colleagues. Josina’s previous lover, Filip Magaya, was shot dead by Samora’s troops when crossing the river Rovuma. The shooting was declared a mistake, but many believed it was done deliberately, as Josina had avoided President Samora’s attentions while she was still in love with Magaya. Only after Magaya’s death, did Josina give herself up to President Samora.

President Samora was a no-nonsense man. All the overseas representatives were informed about FRELIMO’s new leader, and it came as a shock to them. Many were unaware of who he was, and information on him was not readily available.

President Samora ordered all those who were overseas studying to come back to Africa and fight, for at least a year, before they could continue with their studies. This was to assure these ex-patriots that they were part of the struggle. Not everyone accepted the order from the President; people, such as Dr. Massinga, rejected the call. Dr. Mondlane’s aim in having some Mozambicans studying and some fighting was a strategy in preparing for FRELIMO’s leadership in the future.

By this time FRELIMO had already conquered most of Mozambique’s small towns in the north, and they were heading towards the central part of the country. The Portuguese government sent more troops to Mozambique, in addition to the 70 000 soldiers sent during the mid-1960s. Pressure was put on the Portuguese government in Portugal by its citizens, who demanded the withdrawal of the Portuguese soldiers from the war, as their children were dying like flies. They urged their government to negotiate with the FRELIMO movement for a peaceful transfer of power.

Towards the end of 1973, the Portuguese Administration in Lourenço Marques proposed a meeting with the leaders of FRELIMO. President Samora appointed Dr. Massinga, who had returned from America, to lead a delegation that was to meet with the Portuguese team in Mocouba. President Samora warned Dr. Massinga not to agree with power sharing. He ordered him to go and listen to what the opposition would propose, and then come back to report to him. Samora was going to decide on their proposal.

The Portuguese regime was dealing with the wrong person in President Samora, as their proposal of power sharing was rejected. It was clear to FRELIMO that the war was nearing its end, and they were going to be victorious. These negotiations could have occurred when Dr. Mondlane was still alive, but both sides held out for too long. Time was running out for the Portuguese regime, and Portuguese soldiers continued to die in numbers.

On 7 April 1971, Josina Machel, President Samora’s wife, died from an unknown disease. Although he was mourning the death of his wife, President Samora did not give up on the struggle. ‘Samora’ became a household name in the country, amongst both the black and white citizens.

Meanwhile, the former Vice President to Eduardo Mondlane, Urius Simango, had disappeared from the FRELIMO camp. He was said to have spoken strongly against Samora’s leadership. It was at this time that he was reported to have returned to Lourenço Marques, to discourage the Native Mozambicans from joining the FRELIMO army as it had lost direction.

CHAPTER 4 - The President

In 1974, a coup by the left wing in Portugal weakened the Portuguese army and led to its withdrawal from the war that had lasted 10 years. Jubilation filled the streets of Lourenço Marques. Villages sang a song of victory, while Africans in Africa, as well as overseas, roared with happiness.

The FRELIMO troops were transferred to Lourenço Marques, and a father of the nation was born: Samora Moises Machel was going to lead this new country of hope. When he addressed his people on the National Radio, President Samora sang a song of jubilation. He assured his people that the land that was stolen by the Portuguese settlers would be returned to them; he promised equality and a better life for all. Samora’s easy, boyish smile and ever-moving eyes had, thus far, given him the reputation of being a comfortable and approachable leader.

The Lusaka Agreement was signed, which ensured the transfer of power from the Portuguese to the Indigenous Mozambicans led by President Samora. Mr. Joaquim Alberto Chissano was elected Prime Minister during this transition period. President Samora spent most of his time at Nachingwea, FRELIMO’s military headquarters in Southern Tanzania.

On Wednesday, 25 June 1975, Mozambique obtained its Independence. President Samora was inaugurated as the first black President of the Republic of Mozambique. The atmosphere was pleasant. Joy and happiness was seen on the faces of all the Indigenous Mozambicans. The Machava Stadium overflowed with a jubilant Nation, while the Portuguese were beset with anger and sorrow. President Samora sang his promises to the people. Taking back what was stolen from the blacks was a priority: reclaiming land, houses and businesses was on the agenda.

He praised all the men and women who had committed themselves to the struggle of Mozambique. The gathering was marked with the chanting of his famous slogans of victory: “Viva FRELIMO! A Baixa o Colonialismo!”

The Colonialists’ flag descended, marking an end to the Portuguese era in Mozambique. The country’s new flag, the pride of the newborn Nation, was lifted up high and the new National Anthem, composed by Justinho Chemane, was sung:

“Viva, viva A FRELIMO

Guia do povo Moçambicana!

Povo heróico qúarma em punho

O Colonialismo derubou.

Todo o povo unido

Desde o Rovuma até o Maputo,

Luta contra imperialismo

Continua e sempre vencerai.


Viva Moçambique!

Viva a Bandeira,

Simbolo Nacional!

Viva Moçambique!

Que por ti o Povo lutará.

Unido ao mundo inteiro,

Lutando contra burguesia,

Nossa Pátria sera túmulo

Do capitalismo e exploraçao.

O povo Moçambicana

D’ operários e de camponeses,

Engajado no trabalho,

A requeza sempre brotará.


This was a National song of victory dedicated to the people and the country. It translates as follows:

‘Long live FRELIMO, Guide of the Mozambican people, the Heroic people, who brought down the Colonialist rule; all united from Rovuma to Maputo, struggle against Imperialism and continue and shall win.’

‘Long live Mozambique. Long live our flag, the symbol of the nation. Long live Mozambique: for you, your people will fight. United with the world, struggling against the bourgeoisie. Our country will be a weapon against capitalism and exploitation. The Mozambique people, workers and peasants shall all produce wealth.’

“Viva FRELIMO, Viva Moçambique!”

This was the beginning of President Samora’s reign. Most African leaders wished him success, notably, Tanzania’s Julius Kambarage Nyerere and Zambia’s Kenneth Kaunda (commonly known as ‘KK’), among many others. They also proposed that Mozambique should play a major role in helping other countries that were still under the oppression of the Colonialists. One of these countries was Zimbabwe (known at the time as Rhodesia). Robert Mugabe’s ‘Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army’ (ZANLA) was fighting for its country’s Independence. They had been engaged in the guerilla movement for almost 3 years, fighting against Ian Smith’s white regime.

Immediately after his inauguration, President Samora appointed his Cabinet Ministers. Among these were: Alberto Chipanda (Defence), Joaquim Chissano (Foreign Affairs) and his Director Dr. Jose Chicuarra Massinga, Armando Guebuza (Home Affairs), Graça Simbine (Education), Mario Machungo (Industry and Trade) to name but a few. In that same year, President Samora married Graça Simbine, who is now known as Graça Machel.

President Samora urged his government to work for the people of Mozambique. He was described as a man of action rather than words. All his Ministers were prepared to abide by his commands and orders. In order for someone to qualify to be part of the President’s cabinet, he/she was supposed to act like him.

President Samora sidelined most ‘highly qualified’ Mozambicans by giving them lower positions. Amongst them were Dr. Massinga and Pascoal Mocoumbi. The President was threatened by the ‘educated’ people, and would rather work with those who had been with him in the army from the beginning. When asked about his level of education, he would respond: “Ten years of war.”

His wife Graça was regarded as highly qualified amongst his top Ministers. She had spent years overseas studying when FRELIMO was at war. But some Mozambicans who were studying overseas were not as lucky as she was. When they came back to Mozambique, they were imprisoned, and some were put in the borehole of Rwarwa, which was now called the Central Base (and would later be renamed the Rwarwa Centre). This was the Base that had been used by FRELIMO for its activities during the war. Some prisoners disappeared without trace.

The Home Affairs Minister, Armando Emilio Guebuza, was the first Minister to show how governing should be done when working with President Samora. His Ministry proposed a ‘20-24 decree’, which gave Portuguese settlers 24 hours to leave the country, carrying a maximum of 20 kg of luggage. This decree earned him the position of ‘right hand man’ to the President. This also earned him the nickname “20-24 decree”

These were horrible times in the lives of the Portuguese settlers. They were allowed to go to the nearest transport stations, where free transportations were organized which would ferry them to the destinations of their choice, across Mozambican borders. All types of transportation were made available to them.

The situation looked very tense. The families were moving out of their houses in large numbers, their faces filled with sorrow and anger. They were leaving behind what they have worked for, for so many years: their big businesses, schools, vehicles, mansions, beaches and the beauty of their beloved country of birth. It was like they were moving to the unknown world.

On the other hand, joy and happiness was felt intensely by the Indigenous Mozambicans. They were going to assume their previous masters’ responsibilities. They were to become the new owners of the beautiful mansions, cars and businesses left behind by their ‘masters’. Most of those who had worked for the white families, were now going to own everything that was left behind.

All transport stations were overcrowded. Men, women and children of one colour were in one spirit: the spirit of obeying the order from the new regime. It was like a dream, but reality remained - they had to leave. While there were those who were reluctant to leave, most of the Portuguese yielded to the law.

Within 24 hours the country lost some of its people and the city of Lourenço Marques was noted to be the quietest city in the world. Those Portuguese Nationals who remained behind were stoned to death when the 24-hour deadline had elapsed. Those who survived were imprisoned and deported by force.

President Samora’s promises were becoming a reality to the people. The Portuguese were paying back what they had stolen from the Indigenous Mozambicans. President Samora summoned the Nation to talk about Mozambique’s future without the Portuguese. His speech - which he pretended to read, with the forefinger of his right hand pointing upwards as he emphasized his points - lasted for more than 5 hours. He spoke about the enemy, land, education, apartheid in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Africa as a whole. That rally marked the beginning of many more all-day rallies to come. Marking his people’s victory over the settlers, he led the crowd in singing a Shangaan song:

“Awile, awile, awile,

Awile Mkolonyi! 2x

Asiya tiyindhlu, asiya mimova, asiya yinkhwashwu,

Awile Mkolonyi, awile

Asiya shwibhomba, asiya mashamba, asiya timpresa,

Awile Mkolonyi, awile.

Awile, awile, awile

Awile Mkolonyi!”

The song reflected the continuous jubilation felt by the Mozambicans with regards to the downfall of the Portuguese regime: ‘They left their houses, cars, buses, farms, businesses and everything; the colonialist has fallen.’

Thus, President Samora became one with his people, and he chanted, to their joy:


“Viva Moçambique!”

“A baixa o Colonialismo!”

CHAPTER 5 - The Rise of the RENAMO War

In 1976, a new guerilla movement, the National Resistance of Mozambique (RENAMO), which was based in Gorongosa in the Northern province of Sofala, launched its war against President Samora’s government. This movement was under the leadership of André Matsangaissa, who was a former FRELIMO soldier.

André was not happy about the way President Samora was running the country. He believed that the initial constitution that brought about FRELIMO in 1962 had been changed completely. He believed that Dr. Mondlane’s ideas of a democratic society - freedom to vote and to be voted for - was not in practice, as no-one had elected President Samora. There was no way one could have challenged him.

Andre was also angry that Dr. Mondlane’s promises of having FRELIMO dissolved after the war was not met. He had raised his concerns to the President, but was imprisoned. He managed to escape and crossed the river Mpungue, which divided Dondo and Gorongosa in the northern province of Mozambique. He initiated his activities in Gorongosa.

“Our country shall be governed by its people collectively. No one shall run this country without the mandate from the people!” He said, addressing his followers. “To avoid dictatorship in our country, RENAMO will take over where Dr. Mondlane left. President Samora must be stopped.” He continued: “Under Samora, our people are still subjected to rape by the ex-FRELIMO soldiers, and their belongings are taken by force. He is running the country like he ran the guerrilla movement. He must be stopped.”

When President Samora heard about the movement, he promised his people - during one of the many rallies he frequently held - that his government would fight André’s movement and would conquer them within 48 hours. He accused André of being a traitor, a servant for the Colonialists, and a friend to a puppet, referring to Malawi’s Kamazu Banda.

“My people! André deserves to die,” he told his people. He also touched on the subject of the Boers of South Africa, who had to be driven out of that country. He wanted to see a free South Africa and see Nelson Mandela as a free man. As usual, he could not stop without uniting his people with his famous slogans:


“A baixa o Colonialismo!”

“Viva Moçambique!”

“ A baixa Matsangaisa!”

“ A luta continua!”

He chanted this to the applause of his nation, who responded with:

“Viva!” “A baixa!” and “Continua!”

As usual, he led his people in singing a new song:

“Anhloko yaMatsanga yamatekenya

Anhloko yaMatsanga yamatekenya

Anhloko yaMatsanga yamatekenya,

Wena, matakutlulela. X2

Loku bhula nayena

Loku bhula nayena

Loku bhula nayena,

Wena, matakutlulela.

Loku hleka nayena

Loku hleka nayena

Loku hleka nayena,

Wena, matakutlulela.

Loku tlanga nayena

Loku tlanga nayena

Loku tlanga nayena

Wena matakutlulela.

Anhloko yaMatsanga yamatekenya

Anhloko yaMatsanga yamatekenya

Anhloko yaMatsanga yamatekenya,

Wena, matakutlulela.”

This was President Samora’s song of the day, emphasizing his message to his people. It was his way of making sure that whatever he said was heard and retained by his people. The song could be heard everywhere, and it provoked André and his movement RENAMO, which President Samora referred to as ‘Matsanga’, which meant ‘their hair was full of ticks’. “Don’t even talk, laugh or play with him for you might become the next victim!” rhymed the song.

What a clown in a President! For Samora, the RENAMO war was a joke. Since he had managed to kick out the Portuguese regime, despite its power and support from Portugal, he thought it would take him exactly 48 hours to defeat the RENAMO movement. People had to wait and see, as they believed in their leader.

By this time, President Samora put his revolutionary principles into practice. As a Marxist, he called for the Nationalization (government ownership) of the Portuguese plantations and properties. He established public schools and healthy clinics for the peasants. He organized FRELIMO into a Leninist Party. Big cities and towns, roads, schools and Higher Learning Institutions were renamed. Children were introduced to a communist education system.

Heroes who fought for their country were honoured, as were international heads of states who had helped Mozambique achieve Independence. In honour of his first wife Josina Machel, he declared 7 April as Women’s Day. He also declared 3 February as Hero’s Day, as that was the day Dr. Mondlane was assassinated. The billboards around the country featured pictures of President Samora, with Marxist slogans. He also destroyed the Portuguese statues, thus eradicating their history - an act some of his people were not happy with. After the war he continued to wear his battle fatigues, as well as eat and work amongst the soldiers he directed through much of the Colonialist war. He was often seen on the farms with his people, ploughing and cutting rice.

However, President Samora had not forgotten about the assassination of Dr. Mondlane. He personally named his suspects. Among them were the then Deputy President to Dr. Mondlane, Urius Simango, whose whereabouts were unknown. It was rumoured that he was already locked up in an underground prison of Rwarwa. Also on the list of suspects was the name Cavandame, which took many people by surprise: he was one of those who had disappeared without a trace.

The fate of many other freedom fighters was also questioned. One example is Joana Simiao. She had been involved in bringing down the colonialists’ rule in her own way. She helped many young people join FRELIMO in Tanzania, and also taught the Blacks the doctrine of FRELIMO. She was accused of being a spy, and her eyes were removed. Thereafter, she disappeared. Another freedom fighter who was falsely accused was Guejer, who also disappeared. What happened to Dr. Simango (not related to Urius)? The last time he was heard from was when he was to have been imprisoned in Tanzania. Chicco Feiro was a former colonialist spy, who was killed by a mob - a killing that was apparently ordered ‘from the top’.

During the ‘investigation’ into Dr. Mondlane’s assassination, many senior members of FRELIMO were imprisoned and killed without trial. Although President Samora tried hard to play the innocent in this matter, many fingers pointed at him and his Foreign Affairs Minister, Joaquim Chissano. It was believed that, with the help of the Tanzania’s President Nyerere, the Soviet Union’s government and the anti-Portuguese Administration in Portugal, Dr. Mondlane was assassinated by his own comrades, as he was believed to be a capitalist. Chissano, being his man of Intelligence, should have opened the parcel first, before it was laid on Dr. Mondlane’s desk.

President Samora was more of a favourite with the Soviet Union and the Tanzanian States than Dr. Mondlane, who had worked and studied in America, was. Yet, despite the fact that much evidence points in this direction, the mystery of who killed Mondlane still lingers.

The RENAMO war against FRELIMO became tense in the Northern provinces of the country. In the South, stories were told about André’s movement, popularly known as ‘Matsanga’. President Samora deployed his soldiers in numbers to fight against this new enemy, and he urged his people to fight on. He blamed Kamazu Banda of Malawi for supporting the guerilla movement. He also pointed to the neighbouring Apartheid government of South Africa saying: “Unless South Africa is free, Mozambique will never be peaceful. South Africa’s apartheid government is a hindrance to our Independence.”

He was a man regarded as a Messiah, who was going to free Africa from the Colonialist. President Samora was also helping Robert Mugabe’s ZANLA Movement of Zimbabwe, while engaged in a civil war in his own country. It is a well-known fact that the Zimbabwean war was fought by the Mozambicans, especially in the Gija area. Samora also proposed to the Organization of African Unity (OAU) to stage a war against the South African government.

Mozambique, which was now known as ‘The Peoples Republic of Mozambique’, became the new home to South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC) exiles, notably, Jacob Zuma and Ruth First. As a result, Matola City became a target for the South African regime and was attacked. This enraged and incited President Samora:

“The Nation is at war!” He declared. He told his people that, while it was important for them to be educated and plough their fields, it was also very important for them to have their shirtsleeves rolled up, with their guns on their backs. This meant that each and every citizen was supposed to be ready to defend Mozambique.

He initiated community military training sessions, and all men and women were ordered to attend training. Those who absconded the training were imprisoned, tortured (with a sjambok) and even killed. They were often seen marching along the streets singing:

“ Yina yivamani

Yina yimasotsha


Yina yimasotsha.”

They would repeat these lyrics, singing until the end of the training session. The lyrics stated that they were the soldiers of FRELIMO:

“Who are we?”

“We are FRELIMO soldiers.”

The people respected – or, rather, feared - their President. They could be heard praising the FREMILO party, even if things were not going well:

“FRELIMO wayikoka ngcindi,

Phu, varila vaMaji yeveyeve


This song stated that FRELIMO could fight and had defeated the colonialists.

CHAPTER 6 - A Man of Actions

In 1979 the leader and founder of the RENAMO movement was killed in his Gorongosa barracks in the Sofala province. Between 1979 and 1980 the war subsided. However, in 1981 RENAMO began infiltrating from South Africa over the nine provinces. This time RENAMO was run by Afonso Dhlakama, a well-known former FRELIMO strong man.

The laws of the country became more and more difficult for the people of Mozambique. The ‘pass law’ was introduced, and it stated that nobody was allowed to move around without an identity document. For one to be able to leave his/her place of birth, he/she had to notify the local Regional Administration Office. Failure to do so would result in corporal punishment.

The war had become difficult for the people of Mozambique to bear. President Samora put his nation on alert. Every household was entitled to own a gun, and when going to work, at least one family member or adult had to carry a gun. He trusted nobody around him. He also accused many people of being spies of the South African apartheid regime, as well as America’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Dr. Massinga was the first victim on the list, compiled by Samora, of 17 men who were to be prosecuted. Dr. Massinga’s link with the Brazilian government, which was planning to help with the administration set-up in the country, brought suspicion to President Samora’s government. The bombing of Motola City convinced the President that Dr. Massinga was involved.

Dr. Massinga was imprisoned under the supervision of the then Deputy Minister of Safety and Security, Sergio Vieira, who was the man who made life unbearably difficult for Dr. Massinga and the other 16 men who were imprisoned with him: Jossias Dhlakama (former Tenete), Fernando Baptista (former Tenete), Sir Fawume (former Captain), Cornelio Bumila (former Captain), Pedro Chitimela (former Captain), Humbuto Laisee (former Captain), Sir Lipiwa (former Captain), Constantino Dowane (former Captain), José Simango (former Captain), Sir Fernando (former Captain), Sir Fernando Nhassingo (former Captain), Franscisco Vilanculos (former Captain), Marcos Chiviti (Former Military Cook), Wendi Wenyere (former Captain), Alberto Sando (former Captain) and Issa Faume (no title).

Sergio Vieira was often seen in the cell where Dr. Massinga was imprisoned in Jamangwane Central Prison. He would order the guards to give him salty food, which not even a dog could eat. Dr. Massinga was severely tortured. His ears were pulled, he was sjamboked, electrocuted, and forced to sleep on a cold floor. In committing these atrocities, Sergio Vieira was trying to please the President. He was also regarded as a spy, and tried to blackmail the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Joaquim Chissano. Vieira claimed that Chissano had an alliance with the South African apartheid regime.

When President Samora heard this, he immediately dealt with the allegations made against the Minister. He summoned both the Minister and Vieira. He questioned the Minister about the allegations brought against him. The Minister denied the allegations and Vieira failed to prove his allegations. President Samora trusted his Minister, having worked with him since he took over as a President of FRELIMO, and, thus, believed him rather than Vieira.

In his speech to the Nation, President Samora verbally attacked Dr. Massinga, while other suspects were paraded in public before being shot: “In our country we have traitors led by Jose Chicuarra Massinga. These men belong to the dustbin.” He then led his Nation in a song:

‘Mabhandidu, yitamathlaya mabhandidu,

Mayitekela mimova, yitamathlaya mabhandidu,

Myivela atiku yitamathlaya mabhandidu.

Mabhandidu, yitamathlaya Mabhandidu”

The song stated that all the criminals, those who were taking the people’s land and belongings, were to be killed.

Subsequently, the news of President Samora’s cruel governance reached the rest of the world. The International Community warned President Samora to put and end to the slaughter and introduce a democratic system. President Samora retaliated to the call. People were now forced to attend the President’s all-day rallies. His speeches started at around 9am and finished at about 5 in the afternoon. They were broadcast live on National Radio and Television. Refusal to attend the President’s rally, would lead to corporal punishment and imprisonment, and possibly to death. People were not allowed to leave before the President ended his speech. He spoke without taking a break, with his trademark stance of one finger pointing up towards the sky and his other hand holding his waist, while occasionally pointing to his Ministers, who were seated around him.

This time, his speech was directed to the West and the European countries. He accused them of interfering in his county’s Internal Affairs. He declared himself a life President saying: “Daqui não saio, daqui ninguèm mitira!” (He would not leave the Presidency and nobody was going to remove him). In addition to his usual slogan “Viva FRELIMO”, he added, “ A baixa Americano!”

A famous musician composed a song in the words of the President: “Daqui não saio, daqui ninguèm mitira!” This song became President Samora’s exclusive song. During his many rallies, dressed in his famous military uniform, he was often heard whistling it and his people would sing it out loud. A dictator was now born. Samora Moises Machel was now referred to as: ‘Always a President.’ And ‘The father of the Nation.’

President Samora took a stand against corruption. He was strongly against street vendors who were selling their produce to the public at high prices. He ordered his army to clean up the streets and lock up all those whom, he said, had been robbing the nation. Another musician echoed the President’s order by singing:

“Khomani, khomani,

Khomani, khomani, khomani


Ngotfungotfu ka Hholima

Hholima Popular.

A Hhosi yakantonga vayikhomile ka Tsalala,

Nayishavwisa matandza yakukala munyu

Ivigilancia, vigilancia popular.”

The translation of this song reads: ‘The king of the robbers was caught selling salt-less eggs in Tsalala area. He was supposed to be caught and imprisoned’.

Corporal punishment was lawfully re-introduced in the country. Ironically, this was the system President Samora was against during the Portuguese regime. This time around, the law was crueler. People were forced to publicly confess for crimes they had not committed. They were sjamboked or even killed. A roughly-made pipe, called the ‘imboma’, was the National sjamboking weapon. People were summoned to witness the public beatings of ‘criminals’ once or twice in a week, which took place in a community centre called ‘Circo’. People were punished for crimes such as robbery, burglary, theft and committing adultery. Those who were suspected of spying on the government, like Dr. Massinga, were given life sentences or killed. Circo was a place where people were also told about President Samora’s new effective laws in the country. They were advised to read the public notices, which were stuck all over the community centres and along the main city streets.

Televisions were abolished in households and only one place in a community could operate a television: the ‘Circo Community Centre’. Apart from Samora’s speeches, only selected Chinese films and Communism educational programmes were allowed to be viewed. In addition, there was only one newspaper in the country, which only reported on government matters, and was called Noticia.

Moreover, women were not allowed to wear trousers; instead, a monochrome cloth called a ‘capulana’ was introduced for all the women in the country to tie around their waists. It became a type of uniform, as all women wore one type of attire. It was now popular for Mozambique to introduce one type of product for the whole Nation.


Years went by, and seasons came and went. André Matsangayisa did not live long enough to witness the destruction caused by the war. The war’s objective seemed to have changed. It had become a war against civilians. The RENAMO leader, Afonso Dhlakama, argued that the war should also be targeted towards the people because President Samora, whom he called ‘Chiletfana’, had urged all the people of Mozambique to own guns and, therefore, nobody could be trusted. (Dhlakama referred to Samora as ‘Chiletfana’ because of his beard, which Dhlakama claimed was untidy and dirty).

During this time the government reported the destruction of schools, hospitals and the bombings of railways and hydroelectric facilities by RENAMO. Many incidents of rape, barbaric murder and robbery on civilians were reported across the country. In one incident, a mother was forced to stamp her child to death with a mealie-meal grinding machine, as a way of silencing her, because she was crying in the guerilla’s presence. Then the woman was gang-raped, lying on top of her husband, who was lying face down. Another baby was knocked against the wall. Similar incidents were occurring across the country.

The international community urged President Samora to hold talks with the RENAMO leader. President Samora’s simple answer was, “I don’t talk to the animals who stay in the bush with lies and ticks on their heads.” He promised the Nation that he would personally hunt down Afonso Dhlakama, saying:

“Our Nation will fight to the bitter end. With only a hundred soldiers I will stand strong against Matsanga, and I will fight on, even if I remain with two soldiers. I will not give up even if I remain on my own, with my one arm chopped off. Even with one arm, I will continue fighting”

“A man with one eye cannot talk to me, he belongs in the bush not in town,” continued President Samora, referring to Afonso Dhlakama, who was believed to have been blind in one eye. President Samora sent two youngsters overseas, a boy and a girl, saying that if all Mozambicans were to die, the two should come back and start a new generation of Mozambicans.

Meanwhile, Afonso Dhlakama had become as cruel as President Samora. Ordinary people complained about Dhlakama, whose war targeted them, saying: “ André was better than Dhlakama. Wherever he attacked, he protected the civilians, but Dhlakama is killing innocent people. Who is he going to rule in this country if he kills innocent people?”

Afonso Dhlakama did not respond positively to the people’s call. His army remained in the bush during the day, and at night they attacked people’s homes. They caused havoc wherever they went with the vulgar language that filled the air. They cut people’s lips off and then ordered them to go laugh or sing with President Samora. Women were forced to sing one of President Samora’s favourite songs entitled “Anhloko Yamatsanga Yamatekenya”, and were then killed. Limbs were amputated, people were burnt alive, houses were burnt to ashes… Living in Mozambique had become a curse.

Noting the situation, President Samora ordered his Minister of Defence to lead his National Defence Force to war. He wanted to see Dhlakama dead. He also urged all his Ministers to be prepared to go to war and fight against the traitor and criminal. President Samora was always in his military uniform with his sleeves rolled up, and he made it unlawful for any man to wear a long-sleeved shirt without rolling up the sleeves. If anyone were to disobey, he would be considered a traitor and would be punished or killed.

The Minister of Defence was not successful in killing Dhlakama, and so President Samora had to do it personally. He took his group of soldiers and headed to Gorongosa where Dhlakama was based, despite the pleas of other African Presidents who tried to stop him.

The news of Samora going to war brought joy to his Nation. Everybody expected the death of Afonso Dhlakama. Early the next day, it was reported that President Samora had just missed killing Dhlakama by a few inches as Dhlakama left the RENAMO camp on a motorbike, leaving his spectacles behind. (For his prove, he came back with the spectacles and having destroyed and killed many guerillas??).

Like other organisations, RENAMO was besieged with problems. Orlando Cristina, RENAMO’s First Secretary, was murdered, and infighting for the position disturbed the movement for a while. Eventually, Evo Fernando took over and RENAMO continued where they had left off: “War on civilians!”

People were forced to carry their belongings over long distances to the RENAMO camps. In one incident, a pregnant woman had her stomach cut open because the guerilla soldiers argued about the gender of the child she was carrying: to prove their respective arguments, they cut her stomach open, and she, subsequently, died. The guerillas moved in numbers, and they attacked families once it was dark. Most families locked their houses from the outside and used a window as an entrance, in an attempt to deceive the guerillas. Some climbed trees in order to hide, but the rebels would shoot at the trees before they entered the houses. If the rebels found out that tricks were being played on them, one had to pay the hard way. Other people would move in with relatives in the city, spend the night there and return home the next day.

On one occasion, a soldier who was on leave was found by the RENAMO soldiers relaxing in his house, with his military uniform hanging by the wall. He was tied up and hung upside down from a tree. A big fire was started below his head, burning him alive. Another victim was tied to the railway track, and a passing train chopped off his head.

While such incidents occurred, President Samora was busy buying increasingly more weapons from the USSR. He exchanged food for guns while his people were starving to death. He also took out countless loans for billions of US Dollars to enable his government to buy more weapons.

In 1983, a new war emerged in the country: this time it was drought. Tens of thousands of Mozambicans died because of famine. There were long queues all over the country with people waiting patiently for food, which, at times, never came. Sometimes, when food did come, it was only distributed among the senior members of the community. President Samora’s priority citizens were soldiers and ANC exiles. Amongst the luckiest were people staying in the city.

The city of Maputo, formerly known as Lourenço Marques, was ruined. This was the city that was once regarded as the Pearl of Africa during the Portuguese regime. The once beautiful buildings were falling apart, and sewerage systems were blocked. Apartments, which would normally accommodate a reasonable number of people, were now occupied by at least triple the amount of people. Roofs of buildings were occupied by squatters who built their shacks thereon, and toilets became bedrooms. People were not paying rates and this led to the government’s failure in maintaining the city. Civil servants were also no longer paid for several months at a time.

Mozambicans were flowing out of the country in large numbers, and this angered President Samora, who said that such people were cowards who could not sacrifice their lives for their country. People found leaving the country, were killed. He chastised them, saying: “You escape your country because your brains cannot think. Stop eating chicken heads as you will never be alright.”

While his people were fleeing, President Samora continued to help Robert Mugabe’s ZANLA movement. Ian Smith, the Prime Minister of Rhodesia, attacked Mozambique with air jets. Once again, Matola City became a target. The people of Mozambique faced even more hardships. First it was RENAMO, then South Africa, the drought and now Ian Smith.

President Samora vowed to defend his country against the neighbouring Colonialists, stating that, “All the Colonialists shall be driven out of our land.” By this time he had made a proposal to Oliver Tambo, the ANC leader in Zambia, for him to attack South Africa’s apartheid regime, but his proposal was turned down. Samora took a hard stand against PW Botha and his ally, Kamazu Banda, during his address to the Nation. After his long speech he, once again, led his Nation in a song:

“Zimithi ovana yini?

Ovani nyakanyaka uthemba majubane suka1

Uthinta Samora, uthinta Ndzilo,

Ovani nyakanyaka uthemba majubane suka!”

(This song literally meant that Ian Smith was provocative, but this time he had provoked the wrong person in Samora, and decided to escape??)

Despite the many troubles his country was facing, President Samora enjoyed a luxurious life with his family. Wherever he was holding rallies, more than 50 vehicles accompanied him; these included motorbikes, private cars, military trucks and ambulances, and no-one could know which car he was driving in. Although he practiced communism in his country, he lived a capitalist life when abroad. In Zambia he had a mansion where he visited with his family.

Both FRELIMO and the RENAMO armies recruited children to war. President Samora’s wife, Graça, who was the Minister of Education, helped her husband in this respect. She lured young men and women, promising them that they were going to attend free College Education to qualify as teachers. To their surprise, they were all taken to the FRELIMO war camps to be trained as soldiers.

President Samora continued to hold rallies around the country. Radio stations tuned into his speeches all day long. There was only one type of radio system in the country, and was found in each and every household: it was a small black radio with a silver bird labeled ‘xirico’ on it.

During his all-day rallies, Samora would ask the Nation, “Are you hungry?” Fearing his reaction if they told the truth, they replied “No!” He would then ask them “Why?” and they would reply, “Because we want to be with our President!” And then another song would begin:

“Awafuma awafuma Machele,

Awafuma, awafuma Machele,

Awafuma, awafuma Machele

Awafuma Moçambique!”

He repeated the lyrics until the crowd was also able to sing. This song emphasized that President Samora was in charge: he was maintaining his status as a President for life. With his finger pointing upwards and his other hand on his waist, he would point randomly at anybody within the crowd. He would tell the person that he had pointed towards to come to him. People would look around and push one another until Samora acquired his culprit. He would then accuse that person of being a spy; the person would then be forced to confess, and was then beaten up and shot to death in front of thousands of people. A rubbish truck would be ordered to remove the dead body to the wastelands, because that was where spies belonged, according to the President.

According to his colleagues, President Samora’s finger symbolised many things: authority, victory, threat and confidence (Some said, it represented his cruel law: ‘one kilo per person for one month’). Although the laws were harsh, people were able to abide by them.

The singing of the National Anthem and the raising of the National Flag were the most respected events in the country. During the hoisting of the National Flag, a whistle was blown. Everybody who heard it, from every corner, tar road and gravel road, was required to stand at attention. Passing cars were required to stop and passengers would alight in order to observe the raising of the National Flag. The same thing occurred with the singing of the National Anthem. When people heard the Anthem over the radio, they were expected to stand at attention and sing, even in their homes. Spies were everywhere – therefore, failing to comply with these laws could lead to corporal punishment.

President Samora had influence with all his people, both adults and children. Children even played games in the name of the President, and were often heard singing “Viva, Samora Moises Machel, viva!” while playing. While adults performed ‘makhwayela’, the gumboot dance, they could be heard singing:

“Umkuma Machel ayetlelile

ungamtfusha wena?


“Ayikhona, ayikhona”

Translated, this means: you can’t wake up Machel whenever you find him asleep, being the respected father of the Nation.

CHAPTER 8 - The Shameful Country

The people of Mozambique continued to live a difficult life. As President Samora had helped ZANLA of Rhodesia conquer Ian Smith, Robert Mugabe began helping his friend fight the RENAMO movement by sending 1000 troops to Mozambique.

Seeing the defeat of Ian Smith, PW Botha made a proposal to President Samora for the protection of his country. This led to the signing of the Komati Non-Aggression Pact by the two countries. It ensured that their respective territories would not be used as a base for attacks against one another.

During the signing of this accord, President Samora spotted his Foreign Affairs Minister, Joaquim Chissano, chatting and laughing with a white man who was one of President Botha’s delegates. Back home Chissano received a slap from the President and was locked up in prison for some days. This is how the President had begun to discipline his Ministers. None of the Ministers was sure of what the President was up to. He ordered all of them to spy on one another and report back to him. No one knew who was watching whom.

President Samora received plenty of blame for the signing of the Komati Accord. It was seen, by many, as a betrayal against his ANC friends. Some said he had exposed himself as the worst and most uneducated leader ever seen in this world: a leader who could be used at any time.

In one of his rallies he kept his Ministers shivering as he turned to them in an aggressive manner, declaring them corrupt leaders. He referred to Marcelino dos Santos (a FRELIMO senior member) as a ‘grandson of the Colonialists’ because he was coloured. People were warned to watch dos Santos closely as he could sell the country back to the Portuguese.

PW Botha never honoured the Komati Pact, as his spy planes were often shot in Mozambique. He attacked Mozambique using different strategies. On one occasion, he had sharp nails planted on the Namaacha Main Road. He then had the Matola Rio Bridge bombed, which was never shaken. Children were warned not to pick up any neglected pens found on the streets, because they could have been explosives.

Meanwhile, the UK-based Multi National Lourho signed a secret agreement with RENAMO to protect their properties. At the same time, Samora’s government was refused membership by Comecan, the economic co-operation body of the Soviet block, even though Mozambique declared itself a Marxist State. By this time famine had permeated every part of the country.

The then Minister of Home Affairs, Armando Guebuza, became a favourite in President Samora’s government. At this time his Ministry passed a law, known as ‘Operation Production’, which President Samora made effective. As a result, many families were displaced, especially the youth. The two main cities, Beira and Maputo, were specifically targeted. People from these cities were allocated to the bush regions of the isolated Niansa Province in the North of the country. Guebuza argued that this law would create jobs for the unemployed youth. They were ordered to build their shelters using the tree branches and grass as roofing. People were given only hoes to clear the bushes. They were also given drums to use as cooking pots to cook their food, which they would dish out for themselves with banana leaves. Life became miserable for these people, as they were also separated from their loved ones.

This law brought many sorrows to the lives of many Mozambicans. People disappeared without a trace: some were eaten by lions, while others were killed by the RENAMO movement. People who followed the Jehovah’s Witness religion were also targeted, as they refused to recite the FRELIMO’s ‘viva’ slogans, claiming that they had only one God, and He was not Machel. This, consequently, led to the abolishment of religion in the country.

President Samora also became harder on government officials. He attacked them for being corrupt and embezzling State funds. He accused the Director of Housing (APIE) of being corrupt and led the investigation in that department. He also visited some big companies to see how they operated. On arrival at one of these companies, he was told that the Director was on sick leave, when he had simply locked himself in the toilet in his office: he was so drunk that he could not face the President. The President went directly to the Director’s office and sat there quietly. The Director, thinking he was speaking to his Deputy, asked, “Is he gone?” to which the President answered, “Yes, he is gone.” The Director came out of the office bathroom, found himself face-to-face with the President, and fainted. Not surprisingly, he was killed.

The President of the Republic, as Samora was also referred to, was often seen in Market Centres, wearing his casual clothes. On one occasion he enquired of a woman selling fruits: “How much are your mangos?”

“Only 50 scudo,” she replied

“That’s very expensive,” continued the President

“Expensive? Machel has caused problems in this country and you say these are very expensive?!” the woman responded angrily.

President Samora smiled and left the scene. People who noticed the President rushed to tell the woman whom she had just been talking to. She shivered, quickly packed her goods and left for home.

CHAPTER 9 - Aluta Continua

Years passed by, during which time Dr. Massinga and the other 16 men were still in prison, President Samora had already celebrated his 50th birthday, innocent people continued to die in large numbers, cars and buses were burnt to ashes, houses and companies were bombed, and people were abducted. The FRELIMO army was as involved in these acts as RENAMO was; they were now killing civilians for food and claiming that it was the work of RENAMO.

President Samora’s government received blame for these atrocities from all over the world. Pressure amounted from the American government, but Samora would not heed to this pressure. He also continued to help the ANC exiles.

In contrast, President Mugabe had become a hero in the West and the European countries. President Samora was not happy about Mugabe. Samora warned him not to trust Whites for they would come and steal African land and enrich themselves. He warned Mugabe that, in time, he would realize that Samora was right, but, by then, it would be too late

The USSR government honoured President Samora with an emblem of ‘Chief Marshal’. He became the first black ‘Chief Marshal’ in history, and this became the new title for the People’s President. At this time, he decided to release Dr. Massinga with his colleagues. They had had no hope of being released, as they expected to be prosecuted. Fortunately, the American government warned Samora not to eliminate Dr. Massinga, and that is how he survived.

More killings were reported in the outskirts of Maputo. On one occasion Samora received an invitation from the Maputo Central Hospital to observe the situation of the people who had been murdered. On his arrival he looked at the thousands of dead bodies, which were piled up, and had them transported in trucks, like firewood.

“What would you do if your hair were to grow very long?’ Asked President Samora at a rally.

“Cut the hair!” Shouted the crowd.

“Then what happens?” Continued the President.

“New hair will grow back!” The crowd responded.