GREAT BLACK LEADERS
|Abebe Bikila, 1996
The story of Abebe Bikila's life as related to his daughter , Tsige, by his mother and grandmother.in 1964 at the Tokyo Olympics Abebe Bikila became the first person to repeat an olympic marathon victory. Bikila sets another world record at 2:12:11 and becomes the first marathoner to finish in under 2:13 in 1969 a car crash left Abebe Bikila paralyzed from the waist down. The last four years of his life are spent in a wheelchair. Being in a wheelchair did not prevent Bikila from participating in sports. He took up archery and became involved in sports for the physically disabled.on October 22, 1973 Abebe Bikila died of a brain hemorrhage at the age of 41. (Bikila, 1996)
|Askia Muhammed Toure
King of Sonhay 1493 to 1529
A devout Muslim, Askia "The Great" ruled and administered Songhay strictly according to Islamic Law. He divided his country into provinces, each with a professional administrator as governor, and ruled each fairly and uniformly through a staff of distinguished legal experts and judges. At times he fought established tradition to rule in the best interests of his people by adjusting the taxes to reduce the burden on the commoners. Askia Muhammed Toure united the entire central region of the Western Sudan, and established a governmental machine that is still revered today for its detail and efficiency.
Camara Laye was born in Guinea in 1924. He studied engineering in Paris, where he wrote his first book, The African Child, an autobiographical bildungsroman set in pre-colonial Africa. The sequel, A Dream of Africa , written twelve years later after he had returned to his native land, sees an Africa on the brink of independence. In 1979 The Guardian of the World, a collection of native songs and lore, was cited by the Académie Française?the same year Laye died in Senegal, where he had lived in exile for thirteen years.
Queen of Egypt 69 to 30 BC
The most famous of seven matriarchs to bear this name, Cleopatra rose to the throne at seventeen. The young queen is often erroneously portrayed as Caucasian, however, she was of both Greek and African descent. By mastering many different languages and several African dialects, she became instrumental in reaching beyond the borders of Egypt.
Striving to elevate Egypt to world supremacy, Cleopatra enlisted the military services of two great Roman leaders. She persuaded Julius Caesar and , later, Mark Anthony to renounce their Roman allegiances to fight on behalf of Egypt. each, however, met his death before Cleopatra' s dreams of conquest were realized. Disheartened, Cleopatra pressed as asp to her breast, ending the life of the world's most celebrated African queen
Chief Dingiswayo kaJobe of the Mthethwa, an Nguni chieftain who brought a lot of innovation and tactics into the art of warfare. Shaka Zulu was to learn a lot from this great leader. He started the reorganisation of his armies by instituting a regimental system. Young Mthethwa warriors were conscripted into regiments, with each regiment distinguished by its dress and the colour of its shields.
|The Travels of Ibn Battuta - A Virtual Tour with the 14th Century Traveler
You will be following along on trips in the footsteps of Ibn Battuta, the famous 14th century traveler. Along the way you will see many of the same sights that he saw. There will be many links to help you understand what he saw. There will even be links that bring you into "side trips" and enable you to see into the future - beyond the 14th century.We don't know what Ibn Battuta looked like, except that he had a beard. This drawing is from National Geographic Magazine, Dec., 1991.Ibn Battuta started on his travels when he was 20 years old in 1325. His main reason to travel was to go on a Hajj, or a Pilgrimage to Mecca, as all good Muslims want to do. But his traveling went on for about 29 years and he covered about 75,000 miles visiting the equivalent of 44 modern countries which were then mostly under the governments of Muslim leaders of the World of Islam, or "Dar al-Islam". He met many dangers and had many adventures along the way. He was attacked by bandits, almost drowned in a sinking ship, was almost beheaded by a tyrant ruler, and had a few marriages and lovers and fathered several children on his travels!Near the end of Ibn Battuta's own life, the Sultan of Morocco insisted that Ibn Battuta dictate the story of his travels to a scholar and today we can read translations of that story called "Rihla - My Travels". Much of it is fascinating, but some of it seems to be made up and even is inaccurate about places we know about. However, it is a valuable and interesting record of places which add to our understanding of the Middle Ages.This is a map of the Muslim World about 1300. Ibn Battuta mainly traveled in the area surrounded by the green line - countries with Muslim governments. Beyond that, Muslim traders had already ventured out into China, Indonesia and further, and had established small Muslim communities in more regions of the world. Ibn Battuta would seldom be far from fellow Muslims on his travels, and he would greatly benefit from the charity and hospitality offered to Muslim travelers and pilgrims.
King of the Opobo 1821 to 1891
Jubo Jubogha, the son of an unknown member of the Ibo people, was forced into slavery at age 12, but gained his freedom while still young and prospered as an independent trader (known as Ja Ja by the Europeans). He became chief of his people and the head of his Eastern Nigerian City State of Bonny. He later established and became king of his own territory, Opobo, an area near the Eastern Nigeria River more favorable for trading.As years passed, European governments, mainly British, attempted to gain control of Nigerian trade. Ja Ja's fierce resistance to any outside influence led to his exile at age 70 to the West Indies by the British. The greatest Ibo chief of the nineteenth century never saw his kingdom again.
|Biography of Kwame Nkrumah(1909-1972)--------------------------------
Kwame Nkrumah became the first prime and later president of Ghana. He was born on September 21, 1909, at Nkroful in what was then the British-ruled Gold Coast, the son of a goldsmith. Trained as a teacher, he went to the United States in 1935 for advanced studies and continued his schooling in England, where he helped organize the Pan-African Congress in 1945. He returned to Ghana in 1947 and became general secretary of the newly founded United Gold Coast Convention but split from it in 1949 to form the Convention People's party (CPP).After his 'positive action' campaign created disturbances in 1950, Nkrumah was jailed, but when the CPP swept the 1951 elections, he was freed to form a government, and he led the colony to independence as Ghana in 1957. A firm believer in African liberation, Nkrumah pursued a radical pan-African policy, playing a key role in the formation of the Organization of African Unity in 1963. As head of government, he was less successful however, and as time passed he was accused of forming a dictatorship. In 1964 he formed a one-party state, with himself as president for life, and was accused of actively promoting a cult of his own personality. Overthrown by the military in 1966, with the help of western backing, he spent his last years in exile, dying in Bucharest, Romania, on April 27, 1972. His legacy and dream of a "United States of African" still remains a goal among many.
|Mansa Kankan Mussa
King of Mali 1306 to 1332
A flamboyant leader and world figure, Mansa Mussa distinguished himself as a man who did everything on a grand scale. An accomplished businessman, he managed vast resources to benefit his entire kingdom. He was also a scholar, and imported noteworthy artists to heighten the cultural awareness of his people.
In 1324 he led his people on the Hadj, a holy pilgrimage from Timbuktu to Mecca. His caravan consisted of 72,000 people whom he led safely across the Sahara Desert and back, a total distance of 6,496 miles. So spectacular was this event, that Mansa Mussa gained the respect of scholars and traders throughout Europe, and won international prestige for Mali as one of the world's largest and wealthiest empires.
King of Basutoland 1815 to 1868
For half a century, the Basotho people were ruled by the founder of their nation. Moshoeshoe was a wise and just king who was as brilliant in diplomacy as he was in battle. He united many diverse groups, uprooted by war, into a stable society where law and order prevailed and the people could raise their crops and cattle in peace. He knew that peace made prosperity possible, and he often avoided conflict through skillful negotiations.Moshoeshoe solidified Basotho defenses at Thaba Bosiu, their impregnable mountain capital. From this stronghold he engineered a number of major victories over superior forces
King of Asante 1680 to 1717
Osei Tutu was the founder and first king of the Asante nation, a great West African forest kingdom in what is now Ghana. he was able to convince a half dozen suspicious chiefs to join their states under his leadership when according to legend, the Golden Stool descended from heaven and came to rest on Osei Tutu's knees, signifying his choice by the gods. The Golden Stool became a sacred symbol of the nation's soul, which was especially appropriate since gold was the prime source of Asante wealth.
During Osei Tutu's reign, the geographic area of Asante tripled in size. The kingdom became a significant power that, with his military and political prowess as an example, would endure for two centuries.
|Queen Amina of Zaria 1588-1589
The elder daughter of Bakwa Turunku, who founded the Zazzau Kingdom in 1536, Queen Amina came to power between 1588 and 1589 A. D. Unlike her younger sister, Zariya (from whom the city of Zaria derives its name), Amina is generally remembered for her fierce military exploits.
A brilliant military strategist, many wars she fought, and all she won. And, through her conquest, she expanded the area under her reign by erecting great walled camps during her various campaigns, and Amina is generally credited with the building of the famous Zaria wall. She is today remembered - by some fondly, by others less so -as "Amina, Yar Bakwa ta san rana," meaning "Amina, daughter of Nikatau, a woman as capable as a man."
|Samora Machel, Son Of Africa
Before his death in a tragic plane crash that many believe to have resulted from South African sabotage, Mozambican President Samora Machel gave the filmmaker and exclusive interview that forms the basis for the look at one of Africa's most important freedom fighters and revolutionaries.SAMORA MACHEL, SON OF AFRICA combines the interview with documentary footage of Machel at a political rally in Zimbabwe, a song and dance tribute to Frelimo and Machel by peasant, and the thoughts and reminiscences of Professor John Saul, a personal friend of Machel and a former teacher in the Frelimo part school in Maputo.
King of the Zulus 1818 to 1828
A strong leader and military innovator, Shaka is noted for revolutionizing 19th century Bantu warfare by first grouping regiments by age, and training his men to use standardized weapons and special tactics. He developed the "assegai," a short stabbing spear, and marched his regiments in tight formation, using large shields to fend off the enemies throwing spears. Over the years, Shaka's troops earned such a reputation that many enemies would flee at the sight of them.
With cunning and confidence as his tools, Shaka built a small Zulu tribe into a powerful nation of more than one million people and united all tribes in South Africa against Colonial rule