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Marcelino dos Santos

Marcelino dos Santos




Marcelino dos Santos, born on May 20, 1929, in Lumbo, Mozambique, emerged as a prominent figure in Mozambique's liberation movement, contributing as a poet, revolutionary, and politician. His life's journey reflects a commitment to the struggle against colonialism and the pursuit of social justice.

Dos Santos grew up in Lourenço Marques (now Maputo), witnessing the violence and racism against factory workers under Portuguese labor regimes. His father's political activism and his own early labor experiences fueled his passion for addressing oppression. At 18, he left Mozambique to study in Lisbon, Portugal, where he expressed his father's ideas of unity through his writings and poems.

In the early 1950s, dos Santos and other nationalist-speaking students gained attention from Portuguese political police, leading them to flee to various countries. Dos Santos found refuge in France, where he collaborated with other exiled African nationalists. Living among leftist African writers and artists in Paris, he published poems under the pseudonyms Kalungano and Lilinho Micaia. His involvement in the Anti-Colonial Movement and nationalist organizations further solidified his commitment to the cause.

Dos Santos played a crucial role in the founding of the Mozambican Liberation Front (FRELIMO) in 1962. His connections, particularly with Eduardo Mondlane, were instrumental in garnering support for FRELIMO's fight for independence. FRELIMO's first congress in Tanzania marked a significant step towards the liberation movement.

After Mondlane's mysterious death in 1969, dos Santos assumed a pivotal role in FRELIMO. Elected to FRELIMO's ruling system, he became a prominent member of the Political Bureau, overseeing the economy. In the late 1970s, he served as the Minister of Economic Development and later chaired Mozambique's Parliament from 1987 to 1994. Dos Santos remained a Marxist-Leninist, resisting the party's embrace of capitalism in later years.

Dos Santos aimed to establish bonds with the U.S. for economic development and aid. Despite ideological differences, he sought cooperation for emergencies and agriculture. In the latter part of his political career, dos Santos played a pivotal role in transforming Mozambique's political landscape, introducing political pluralism and a new constitution.

Marcelino dos Santos, a national hero declared by Mozambicans in 2015, passed away on February 11, 2020. Throughout his life, he remained an icon in the African struggle against colonialism, advocating for collective responses to the challenges posed by colonial and neo-colonial influences.


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