On January 20, 1974, Amilcar Lopes Cabral, a great African fighter and activist, was murdered. This is a tribute to him.
Young Cabral
Young Cabral

Remember that Amilcar Lopes Cabral was born on September 12, 1924 in Bafata in what is now Guinea-Bissau, which was a Portuguese colony at the time. He was the son of Juvenal Cabral and Iva Pinhel Evora and he was a good student.

After graduating from secondary school in 1943, he received a scholarship in 1945 that allowed him to go to Portugal to continue his studies. During his stay in Portugal, he became friends with people who later became actors in the liberation struggles in Africa during the colonial period, particularly in the areas conquered by the Portuguese, such as Angola. He met people like Mario Andrade, Agostinho Neto or Eduardo Mondlane, who was the future founder of the FRELIMO front for the liberation of Mozambique.

During his studies he and his African companions, who also studied in Portugal, became aware of the problems in Africa. Their awareness and considerations led them – especially together with Agostinho Neto – to secretly set up a center for African studies in Portugal in order to examine colonial African populations and to promote African literature.

Cabral as a student

On August 3, 1959, his party suffered heavy losses when a strike led by the Portuguese army, the Dockers of Bissau, was put down. According to his statements, he understood the following: The oppressor only begins to listen when the number of bodies on his side is high enough.

cabral 3 Reorganizes the party – PAIGC – and bases its struggle strategy on the rural population and the expansion of the camp. And he, like many other African activists at the time, like Mandela, with his party – still illegal – is preparing for the armed struggle against the Portuguese for several reasons, among which we can mention in particular:

independence from Guinea Bissau and Cap Verde
The pursuit of economic, cultural, social and political unity of all ethnic groups in these regions.

1963 the armed struggle against the Portuguese explosions. The PAIGC – based on armed struggle – fought from various sides against the Portuguese with a base in Guinea Conakry and Senegal. His great expertise has enabled his organization to beat the Portuguese several times and liberate several regions from the south of the country.

Cabral wearing sun glasses with a weapon in his hands surrounded by feminine troops of his army

In 1952 he left Portugal after working there and in other Portuguese colonies. He returned to Guinea to work and try to end Portuguese rule and colonization. As director of the experimental agricultural center in Bissau, he used his work to study the socio-economic structures of the country for a few years and to delve into local realities. This better knowledge of the field should serve him in his liberation struggle. In 1955 the colonial governor of Guinea-Bissau asked him to work in Angola.

During his stay in Angola, he participated in the founding of the famous MPLA – Angola Liberation Movement – in 1956. In the same year, on December 19, he and 5 of his companions founded the African Independence Party of Guinea Bissau and Cap Verde – PAIGC – which was originally an illegal organization before it was later officially recognized. This was the beginning of the real fight. He became the party’s general secretary. In 1957, he secretly organized the movement in Guinea by creating several underground cells and a union movement with people from the urban population.

On August 3, 1959, his party suffered heavy losses when a strike led by the Portuguese army, the Dockers of Bissau, was put down. According to his statements, he understood the following: The oppressor only begins to listen when the number of bodies on his side is high enough.

cabral 3 Reorganizes the party – PAIGC – and bases its struggle strategy on the rural population and the expansion of the camp. And he, like many other African activists at the time, like Mandela, with his party – still illegal – is preparing for the armed struggle against the Portuguese for several reasons, among which we can mention in particular:

independence from Guinea Bissau and Cap Verde
The pursuit of economic, cultural, social and political unity of all ethnic groups in these regions.

1963 the armed struggle against the Portuguese explosions. The PAIGC – based on armed struggle – fought from various sides against the Portuguese with a base in Guinea Conakry and Senegal. His great expertise has enabled his organization to beat the Portuguese several times and liberate several regions from the south of the country.
Cabral wears sunglasses with a gun in his hand, surrounded by female troops from his army
Cabral wears sunglasses with a gun in his hand, surrounded by female troops from his army

From 1964 to 1965 Cabral and his party replaced the colonial structures with new administrative and political structures in the liberated areas to help the population and solve their problems related to colonial injustice. At the same time, he tried to make his movement known internationally to support and legitimize the need for his struggle on an international, political and diplomatic level, to achieve independence and to destroy the Portuguese colonial regime.

cabral 2 In 1966 Cabral participated in a conference in Cuba that represented three continents – Asia, Africa and Latin America – and at which the organization of solidarity between the people of Asia, Africa and Latin America was created. Cabral established himself as a prominent revolutionary.

On the field, the PAIGC resistance forces continue the fight and continue to beat the Portuguese. In 1968 the PAIGC had already liberated two thirds of Guinea-Bissau, controlled these places, strengthened the administration, laid the foundation stone for a real state structure, created schools, health centers etc.

In 1969, before all the military and diplomatic progress of the PAIGC, the Portuguese feared that their image would be smeared – bad reputation – abroad, therefore they promised the best living standards to the populations and sought that the black people corrupt to use them to destroy Cabral movement. But these attempts did not prevent the advance of the Cabral movement, which was to be received by the western authorities to discuss his struggle, to defend his ideas and his liberation movement. He escaped an assassination attempt established by the Portuguese on November 22, 1970.

In August 1971 the PAIGC governing body decided to prepare the conditions for the elections that would be held in 1972, with the aim of forming the first popular assembly of Guinea Bissau. And this happened.

In 1972 the United Nations recognized the PAIGC as a legitimate representative of the people of Guinea Bissau and Cap Verde. From then on, the United Nations and western countries would discuss issues concerning Guinea Bissau and Cap Verde only with this movement. The United Nations therefore began to condemn the maneuvers practiced by the Portuguese colonizers. Official independence was not that far and the fall of the Portuguese was only a matter of time.
We can see Cabral and Fidel Castro, a person who has done a lot for Africa and who has supported several African liberation movements – for example the ANC in South Africa.
We can see Cabral and Fidel Castro, a person who has done a lot for Africa and who has supported several African liberation movements – for example the ANC in South Africa.

On January 20, 1973, the Portuguese ordered the assassination of Cabral in Conakry. On September 24 of the same year, the popular assembly formed the year before by the PAIGC announced the constitution and on September 10, 1974 Portugal recognized the independence of Cap Verde and Guinea Bissau.

Although Cabral could not see the end result of his work – the independence for which he fought for nearly thirty years – his vote came true and the fight he waged paid off.

timbre cabral To conclude, we quote here a quote from Cabral: “No one can doubt, among our people, as among other Africans, that this national liberation war in which we have committed ourselves belongs to the whole African continent!”

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