Samora Machel led FRELIMO, the Mozambican Liberation Front, to victory against Portuguese colonialism in 1974, and the following year became independent Mozambique's first President. He died eleven years later in a mysterious plane crash. Drawing on stories, speeches, documents, and the memories of those who knew him, this biography presents the many different faces of the man Nelson Mandela called 'a true African revolutionary'. Machel was a trained nurse who became a consummate military strategist, a farmer's son with the diplomatic skills first to tread the tightrope between China and the Soviet Union and then to charm Margaret Thatcher, a man of the people who found himself utterly alone, a dedicated seeker of peace who never saw anything but war. The book examines the discourse of equality, liberty and comradeship that flourished during the 1960s and 1970s in the liberation struggles of the countries of southern Africa, in the face of the dominant rhetoric of the cold war. It meditates on the different languages through which the Mozambican dream was articulated: the linguistic currencies of anti-colonialism, of anti-racism, and of Marxism- Leninism, while exploring the gaps between then and now, between Mozambicans and the western idealists who wanted to be part of their new society, and between the polyglottal Mozambicans themselves.
Sarah Lefanu is author of the acclaimed biography Rose Macaulay, and of MLA award-winning In the Chinks of the World Machine: Feminism and Science Fiction. From 2004 to 2009 she was Artistic Director of the Bath Literature Festival. She has been RLF Fellow at the University of Exeter, and teaches at the University of Bristol's Department for Lifelong Learning.