Eduardo Mondlane was born on June 20, 1920 in the Gaza District of southern Mozambique, which at the time was under the colonial rule of the Portuguese. He was the 4th son of a Tsonga chief, and became the only one in his family to receive a formal education.
Mondlane attended a number of mission primary schools before obtaining a scholarship to attend secondary school in South Africa. He was admitted into Wits University in Johannesburg, but was expelled for his nationalistic views which came into conflict with the recently adopted apartheid system. He eventually obtained a degree in Sociology and Anthropology from Oberlin College in the USA, and then completed a PhD in Sociology at Northwestern University.
In June 1962, Mondlane left the United States for Tanzania, and helped form FRELIMO (Frente de Libertacao de Mocambique), a socialist pro-independence movement made up of exiled Mozambican nationalists, and he became the first president of the organisation. With the backing of the USSR and many African nations, FRELIMO launched a guerrilla war in 1964 against the colonial Portuguese government in an attempt to win Mozambique's independence.
Mondlane led FRELIMO until 1969 when he was killed by a bomb which had been disguised as a notebook, sent to him by unknown assassins. FRELIMO continued to fight for independence after Mondlane’s death and by the early 1970s it controlled central and northern Mozambique despite being outnumbered by the Portuguese military almost 10:1. In 1974, following a military coup in Lisbon, Portuguese colonial policy dramatically changed and on June 25, 1975, FRELIMO was given control of Mozambique and the country gained its independence.
We celebrate Eduardo Mondlane’s life and service to the people of southern Africa!