Samora Machel: Why we must keep remembering 19 October 1986.

By Lenin Tinashe Chisaira

Samora Machel

‘International Solidarity is not an act of charity: It is an act of unity between allies fighting on different terrains toward the same objective. The foremost of these objectives is to aid the development of humanity to the highest level possible.’-Samora Machel (September 29, 1933 – October 19, 1986)

On 19 October 1986, exactly thirty years ago today, Samora Machel, the revolutionary leader of Mozambique’s independence was murdered by the apartheid South Africa government.

The anniversary of Samora Machel’s assassination at the hands of apartheid South Africa should make progressive minded people look back at history and be reminded that there is still massive struggle to be waged. Samora Machel is inspirational on those of us who still hope and fight for a socialist world which will be based on free education, healthcare, shelter, economic and environmental justice…as well as serious wars on corruption, dictatorship, capitalism and poverty. This is what’s on my mind as I commemorate thirty years after the assassination of the poison of Samora Machel.

I have been to Mozambique three times, twice in 2013 and once in 2014; on two of these occasions I was attending the International Peasants’ Conference on Land. The conferences were hosted by the National Union of Mozambican Peasants (UNAC) in Maputo. On the other occasion I was passing through Tete Province on my way to attend the SADC Peoples’ Summit in Malawi.

The days in Maputo were very inspirational, due to both the fighting spirit and courage of the Mozambican people as well as the historical significance of Maputo, as evidenced even the street names and statues in the capital of the nation.

I was also fascinated because being a socialist myself, I was curious to observe how one of the most socialist nations in Africa at the time of its independence from fascist Portuguese rule in 1975, had fared through the years to 2013/4. The nation had gone through a brutal civil war and the economic onslaught of the international financial institutions as well as the rising threats of Chinese, Japanese and Brazilian investments in plantations and coal and gas mines.

As I see the investments projects that were apparently leaving behind the majority of the Mozambicans and enriching the political and economic elites, I couldn’t help wondering if the Mozambique struggle hadn’t been long betrayed. Then I realised that almost all African nationalists fought colonialism and imperialism on the premise of establishing just, socialist Pan-African societies that would be in perpetual solidarity with other oppressed nations around the world. But that is a struggle betrayed.

The struggle for a more just and equal world has long since been betrayed in Mozambique itself, Zimbabwe, Angola and South Africa. It is however up to progressive minds to continue fighting for a more just and equal future for the impoverished masses of the African people. The choice now is socialism.


 [Lenin Tinashe Chisaira is an activist and lawyer based in Harare, Zimbabwe. He tweets at @LeninChisaira and is interested in Economic Justice, Human Rights, Leftist Politics and Environmental Justice. He blogs at ]


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