DYNAMIC AFRICA

Set up in 2010, Dynamic Africa is diverse multi-media curated blog with a Pan-African outlook that seeks to create an expressive platform for African experiences, stories and African cultures.



CONTACT: dynamicafricablog@gmail.com

all submissions via email only


Recent Tweets @
Blogs We Follow
Posts tagged "history"

#TBT Dynamic Africa History Post: 10 of Africa’s most well-known couples of the 20th century.

This post is not made with the purpose of romanticising the unions of these couples, but rather as a way to reflect on a different angle of 20th century history on the African continent by looking at some of the most prolific, politically-involved, highly revered or controversial couples we have come to know from around the continent. Some were loved during their time, others loathed - or even a mixture of both at times. Either way, both individuals in all these relationships are popularly known names because of, and some times in spite of, their unions.

Nelson and Winnie Mandela

Perhaps the most famous African couple of the 20th century, both Nelson and his second wife Winnie are political icons in their own right.

The pair met in 1957 at a Soweto bus station at the height of their political activities. Winnie, then Madikizela, was 22 and Nelson was . They were married the next year and the two of them had two daughters - Zenani and Zindziswa. In 1963, three years after the birth of their second child, Nelson Mandela would be sentenced to prison on Robben Island. He wouldn’t be released until 1990.

Although initially banned from visiting him for several years, and occasionally imprisoned herself (and put under house arrest), throughout much Mandela’s prison term Winnie remained dedicated to Nelson, visiting him when permitted and sharing news of his state with the outside world, and vice versa. However, his incarceration eventually took a toll on the both of them.

The two finally separated in 1992 and were officially divorced in 1996.

Nelson Mandela eventually passed away in late 2013.

Albertina and Walter Sisulu

Another South African political couple, the Sisulu’s long-lasting relationship was one of an enduring love and friendship that began in 1941 when the couple first met in a Johannesburg hospital. Him a lawyer and she a nurse, the pair married in 1944 and remained so until Walter’s death in 2003 aged 90. Albertina Sisulu would pass almost ten years later in 2011 aged 92.

Nelson Mandela was the best man at their wedding and he and Walter would both be sentenced during the Rivonia Trial in the early 1960s to serve life sentences on Robben Island. 25 years of Walter Sisulu’s life would be spent there.

The couple had five children and adopted four more. Like Winnie Mandela, she raised the couples children whilst Walter was in prison and was at times imprisoned herself. The couple’s relationship stood the test of time and both are highly affectionately remembered by the South African public.

Jomo and Ngina Kenyatta

Kenya’s first president and First Lady were married in in 1951, a little over a decade before Kenyatta would serve in office as the nation’s first president. Although Jomo Kenyatta had married twice before, Mama Ngina became more well known to the public due to her glamorous appearance, often accompanying the president in public. The couple had children four children one of which is Uhuru Kenyatta, current president of Kenya.

The two remained married until Jomo Kenyatta’s death in 1978 but Mama Ngina would retained her status as ‘Mother of the Nation’, and First Lady of Kenya until 2002 as incoming president Daniel Arap Moi had separated from his wife in 1974.

Mama Ngina currently resides in Nairobi.

Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings and Jerry Rawlings

The Rawlings met whilst both attending Achimota School in Ghana a co-ed boarding high school located in Accra, later marrying after in 1977.

In May 1979, Jerry J. Rawlings led a successful military coup that resulted in him becoming 8th Ghana’s president. He and his armed forces stayed in power for a little over 100 days, until September of that same year when he handed power to a freely elected civilian president, Hilla Limann. He would again serve as head of state in 1981, after Rawlings overthrew Limann’s government. Rawlings is often credited with reviving Ghana’s economy in the late 80s and 90s. In the country’s first elections since 1979, he was elected as Ghana’s president in 1992 and be again reelected in 1996. He stepped down from the presidency in 2001.

The couple remain married to this day and currently reside in Ghana and have four children.

Robert and Sally Mugabe

Born Sarah Francesca Hayfron in Ghana, then the Gold Coast, Sally Mugabe became current Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe’s first wife in 1961. The two met at a school in Ghana where they both were teaching at the time. It was during this time that Robert Mugabe became inspired by the Pan-African ideologies of Kwame Nkrumah that would lead Mugabe into a career of politics. 

The pair soon moved to Zimbabwe, then Rhodesia, and Robert was arrested in 1964 for his involvement with Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU). in 1967, Sally went into exile in England where she spent eight years campaigning for the release of her husband and other political prisoners in Rhodesia. Their only child, Nhamodzenyika, a son, was born in 1963 but unfortunately died after a severe bout of malaria he contracted in Ghana in 1966.

Robert Mugabe was eventually released from prison in 1975 and in 1987 became Zimbabwe’s first president. Unfortunately, Sally Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s First Lady, died of kidney failure in 1992. Some consider this to be the time at which Mugabe’s policies in Zimbabwe began to take a drastic turn.

Samora and Graca Machel

Although Samora Machel, Mozambique’s first president, had had relations with three women before meeting and marrying Graca, he is most remembered for the latter relationship. Samora had been married once before, to a highly political Mozambican woman named Josina Abiatar Muthemba whom he met in Tanzania in the early 1960s. The two were married there in 1969 and Muthemba gave birth to the Samora’s only son that same year. Sadly, she passed away in 1971 at the age of 25 leaving Samora incredibly devastated.

Before Muthemba, Samora had had two previous relationships that yielded five children.

Graca and Samora met in the 1970s and were married three months after their country’s independence in 1975. The two were both members of FRELIMO before their marriage. The pair had two children, a daughter and a son, and remained married until Samora’s controversial plane crash death in 1986.

Julius and Maria Nyerere  

Married in 1953 until Julius’ death in 1999, the Nyerere’s were Tanganyika’s, and later Tanzania’s, First couple from 1961 to 1985. Julius Nyerere served as the country’s first prime minister and president from 1961 until his retirement in 1985 and was by far the most political of the two. Unfortunately, much of his policies plummeted the country in a serious state of decline.

The couple had seven children during their marriage and Maria was known as the ever-loving and doting wife who preferred to take a quiet behind-the-scenes role.

Meles Zenawi and Azeb Mesfin

Meles Zenawi Asres was Ethiopia’s prime minister from 1995 until his death in 2012, at the age of 57, after previously having served as president of the country’s transitional government from 1991 to 1995. It was during the latter phase that Eritrea seceded from the country.

Both were highly political in their own right with Azeb known for her fight against HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia, and for promoting issues concerning mental health and women’s rights.

Meles Zenawi was a very gifted student who dropped out of university, where he was studying medicine, and became involved in by joining the Tigrayan National Organization (TNO) the forerunner Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). The TPLF was instrumental in the struggle against Lieutenant Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam and the Derg, the communist military government of Ethiopia.

Under his government, it is said that discrimination against and repression of Oromo people was widespread. Zenwai’s presidency was also marred by the Anuak conflict which began in 2003.

He and Azed Mesfin Haile were married until his death and the couple had three children.

Emperor Haile Selassie I and Empress Menan Asfaw

Ethipoia’s most well-known couple, and quite possibly one of the most popular couples in both African and world history, Emporer Haile Selassie I and Empress Menan Asfaw from Selassie’s coronation in 1930 until his deposition by the Derg in 1972. 

Although highly revered by the Ras Tafari movement, for which he is named after, as God incarnate and the returned messiah, his relationship and rule of Ethiopia was far more complex. During the invasion of his country by Italy, he was forced into exile in 1936. Selassie appealed to the League of Nations for assistance in defending his country during this time, after which the British came to his aid. Despite this success and his aims to modernize Ethiopia in coming years, towards the end of his rule famine and frustration with his archaic dominance over the country led to him being ousted from power in a coup and kept under house arrest in his palace until his death in 1975.

Empress Menen was remembered far more favourably in the public eye often taking on social welfare issues and causes, most notably women’s issues. She was also a devoutly christian woman who took no public stance on political affairs.

The two had no children and Empress Menen passed away little over a decade before her husband who died in 1975, and she in 1962.

Kwame and Fathia Nkrumah

The First President and First Lady of Ghana were wed in what some press outlets described as a ‘surprise ceremony’ in 1958. The pair were married on the evening of her arrival in Ghana on New Year’s Eve that year. A relation of President Nasser of Egypt, Fathia received her marriage proposal from Kwame Nkrumah whilst working at a bank in Cairo. Fathia, inspired by Kwame’s Pan-Africanist ideals, accepted the proposal despite not knowing Nkrumah personally. At the time of their wedding, communication proved difficult as she spoke only Arabic and he, none at all.

The couple had three children together and following Kwame’s exile in 1966, Fathia was forced to single-handedly raise her children in her home country of Egypt ending her time as First Lady of Ghana.

Theirs was a marriage that was more romantic that political and was said to have been a Pan-Africanist strategy carried out in the hopes of linking North Africa with the rest of Africa.

Connect with Dynamic Africa on:

Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Google+ | Soundcloud | Mixcloud | Instagram | Newsletter

All Africa, All the time.

As South Africa marks its annual commemoration of the tragic Sharpeville Massacre that occurred on March 21st, 1960, as Human Rights Day, we remember a more recent event that shocked the nation and has caused a series of uproar and protests as a result.

The Marikana miners’ strike took place at a mine owned by Lonmin in the Marikana area, close to Rustenburg, in August 2012.

What resulted was a series of violent incidents between the South African Police Service, Lonmin security, the leadership of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and strikers themselves, which resulted in the deaths of 44 people, the majority of whom were striking mineworkers killed on 16 August. At least 78 additional workers were also injured on 16 August. The total number of injuries during the strike remains unknown. In addition to the Lonmin strikers, there has been a wave of wildcat strikes across the South African mining sector. [x]

Above is a clip from the recently released ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom’ that partially demonstrates what took place in Sharpeville on this day in 1960.

In this video, Archbishop Desmond Tutu discusses his reaction to the heinous event that took place 54 years ago at one point saying, “I remember it as a moment where you realized that black life was cheap”.

Further reading & viewing: Robert Sobukwe - founder & leader of the Pan-African Congress in South Africa that led the march against Pass Laws in Sharpeville.

Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Google+ | Soundcloud | Mixcloud | Instagram | Newsletter

All Africa, All the time.

fylatinamericanhistory:

André Rebouças (1838-1898) was a renowned Brazilian engineer, writer, and abolitionist and one of the founders of the Brazilian Anti-Slavery Society. Born a free man in Bahia, he was educated in Brazil’s military academy and served in the army during the Paraguayan War (also known as the War of the Triple Alliance). He eventually became well-known in Rio de Janeiro, then the country’s capital, for solving a problem regarding the city’s water supply. 

Rebouças was active in the abolitionist cause, founding the Brazilian Anti-Slavery Society alongside Joaquim Nabuco (who went on to become Brazil’s ambassador to the US) and José do Patrocínio (a renowned abolitionist who was also of African descent). He followed the deposed Emperor Pedro II into exile in Europe following the 1889  coup d’état which abolished the Brazilian monarchy, and settled in the Portuguese capital city of Lisbon. There he worked as a journalist for local and international newspapers, including the Times of London. He then spent some time living in the city of Luanda in West Africa (present-day Angola), before ending his days in Funchal, Madeira, where he is said to have committed suicide at age 60 in 1898.

Sources: 1, 2, 3.

Hopefully this is the beginning of many more great things to come for Lupita Nyong’o.

The cast of Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave on stage after their film had won the ‘Best Picture’ award at the Oscars.

In the Academy’s 86 year history, 12 Years a Slave is the first film by a black director to win this award.

The film also took home the award for ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’, won by John Ridley.

Director Steve McQueen dedicated this win to “all the people who have endured slavery and 21 million people who still suffer slavery today”.

(via redreznikv)

In Photos: “Signares” by Fabrice Monteiro.

Exploring history and fashion along the west coast of Africa, for his series ‘Signares' Belgian-Beninese photographer Fabrice Monteiro recalls a time in history where distinct cultures collided.

As European traders and explorers began to ascend on Africa’s west coast around the 15th and 16th century, as these men where forbidden from bringing their families and wives from their home countries, they began to intermingle and intermarry with African women in the Senegambia region. As a result of these relations, many of these women began to orchestrate business dealings to their benefits “using these partnerships to bolster their socioeconomic standing and personal trading enterprises”. One signare in the 1770s from St Louis, Senegal, is noted to have been a property owner and dealer as she bought and sold property in Saint-Domingue, while “five other signares in Gorée signed a petition against a poorly run French company that had been awarded an exclusive contract with the island”. 

Although these relations were not at first recognized by colonial and European authorities, it later became acceptable for Europeans living in Senegal to marry and have their descendants profit from these unions through heritage rights. Most of these women were considered to be of a high class and often married “middle-class executives or French and English aristocrats”. Naturally, a new sense of fashion was born as the women combined their own traditional styles with European attire at the time.

Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Google+ | Soundcloud | Mixcloud | Instagram | Newsletter.

All Africa, All the time.

Did you know that 12 U.S. presidents were involved in human trafficking and slavery?

As the United States marks Presidents’ Day, Democracy Now turns to an aspect of U.S. history that is often missed: the complicity of American presidents with slavery.

“More than one-in-four U.S. presidents were involved in human trafficking and slavery. These presidents bought, sold and bred enslaved people for profit. Of the 12 presidents who were enslavers, more than half kept people in bondage at the White House,” writes historian Clarence Lusane in his most recent article, “Missing From Presidents’ Day: The People They Enslaved.”

schomburgcenter:

New Date!
Join us on March 13 at 6:30 p.m. for a conversation between award-winning historian Sylviane A. Diouf and Pulitzer Prize winner Eric Foner about Diouf’s new book, Slavery’s Exiles: The Story of the American Maroons. 
In a preview of the talk, Diouf said: “One of my most surprising discoveries was the existence of maroons who have been completely overlooked. I call them “borderland maroons” because they settled in the woods and swamps bordering plantations. What is astonishing is that individuals, mothers with children, and entire families lived there for years in underground homes. Something else amazed me: the extent of the enslaved community’s solidarity without which the maroons could not have survived. The maroon experience was truly extraordinary and sheds new light on the larger slave resistance.”Free! Registration required.Photo Credit: Fugitive Slaves in the Dismal Swamp, Virginia by David Edward CroninNew-York Historical Society

schomburgcenter:

New Date!

Join us on March 13 at 6:30 p.m. for a conversation between award-winning historian Sylviane A. Diouf and Pulitzer Prize winner Eric Foner about Diouf’s new book, Slavery’s Exiles: The Story of the American Maroons


In a preview of the talk, Diouf said: “One of my most surprising discoveries was the existence of maroons who have been completely overlooked. I call them “borderland maroons” because they settled in the woods and swamps bordering plantations. What is astonishing is that individuals, mothers with children, and entire families lived there for years in underground homes. Something else amazed me: the extent of the enslaved community’s solidarity without which the maroons could not have survived. The maroon experience was truly extraordinary and sheds new light on the larger slave resistance.”

Free! Registration required.

Photo Credit: 
Fugitive Slaves in the Dismal Swamp, Virginia by David Edward Cronin
New-York Historical Society

(via schomburgcenter)

News of Mandela’s release on British newspaper ‘The Voice’.

Founded in 1982 by Jamaican-born publisher Val McCalla, The Voice is currently the only British Black newspaper in operation in the UK.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Google+ | YouTube | Soundcloud | Mixcloud

All Africa, All the time.

24 years ago today, on February 11th 1990, Nelson Mandela was released from Victor Verster Prison in Paarl.

He had served a total of 27 years behind bars, most of it on the infamous Robben Island, after being convicted of treason during the Rivonia Trial in 1964 for his involvement in Umkhonto we Sizwe - the ANC’s armed wing.

Both before his sentencing and upon his release, Mandela made two iconic speeches. The first, delivered during the Rivonia Trial, lasted three hours. Referred to as the “I Am Prepared to Die" speech, it was inspired by Fidel Castro’s "La historia me absolverá" (History Will Absolve Me) and is considered one of the greatest speeches of the 20th century. 

After his release from prison in Paarl, Mandela delivered another iconic speech that began similarly to Mark Antony’s equally iconic speech in Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”, but with a vastly different message: Friends, Comrades and Fellow South Africans....

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Google+ | YouTube | Soundcloud | Mixcloud

All Africa, All the time.

During a time of struggle and strife, the hardest thing to do is to remain ‘human’, to not lose ones humanity. And what is more human than a smile, laughter, and of course, dancing?

Indian-South African photographer GR Naidoo’s images of the Alan Paton-written musical ‘Mkhumbane’, featuring music by Todd Tozama Matshikiza.

Here’s some background info on it as well as a summary of the play:

In 1959 Matshikiza wrote the successful musical King Kong, based on the life of a heavyweight boxer Ezekiel Dlamini. Paton had previously published his successful novel, Cry the Beloved Country in 1948.

The musical opened in Durban on 29 March 1960 at the Durban City Hall, a little more than a week after the Sharpeville Massacre on 21 March and a day before the government declared a state of emergency on 30 March.

Mkhumbane is the traditional name for Cato Manor, just 7 km outside Durban, and is named after the Mkhumbane River which ran through the area.

The musical tells the story of a day in the life of the inhabitants of Mkhumbane. The cast was made up almost entirely on Cato Manor residents.

The story focuses on a father who was robbed by tsotsis of his savings which was meant to pay for his son, John’s, education. He sends his son to the city to look for work. Meanwhile, the son’s girlfriend back home persuades the shebeen queen to organise a charity concert to raise money to pay for John’s education.

As the concert reaches full swing everyone is terrified as John, returning from the city, is being carried in by his father after being attacked by tsotsis. The perpetrator of the violence is identified and brought to justice. The musical ends with a feeling of hope as the residents of Mkhumbane return to their homes.

(via SA History)

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Google+ | YouTube | Soundcloud | Mixcloud

All Africa, All the time.

Silicosis: The curse of Lesotho’s miners

Al Jazeera reports on the decades-long injustices against gold mine workers from Lesotho, working in South African mines, that have gotten ill as a result of their exposure to silica dust. There are currently as many as 2,000,000 former gold miners suffering from silicosis, according to the South African Department of Labour.

As with other mining industries in the country, South Africa’s gold industry was founded on the migrant labour system that was solidified through the racist system of apartheid. Black men from various parts of Southern Africa were often cheaper to employ than locals, a factor that still stands to this day. More than half of the total workforce in the mining sector is recruited from neighbouring countries. Because of this, many often “disappear from the radar of the occupational health institutions and the mining houses” once they retire or leave the mines to return home. This has meant that those who become gravely ill, as in the case of the gold miners who’ve contracted silicosis, they are unable to claim health insurance benefits if at all they are covered.

During apartheid, black mine workers were not covered despite making up up to 90 percent of mine workers in the country. Despite reformations made to the Occupational Diseases in Mines and Works Act (ODMWA) after 1994, which for a long time “only served the white and coloured workers”, the implementation of these amendments have not been efficiently and adequately carried out.

Above are images of mine workers from Lesotho who have been affected by the silicosis outbreak in Southern Africa, photographed by Felix Karlsson:

  • Maphatsoe Kompi is a former miner who contracted silicosis during nearly 40 years working deep underground in South Africa’s gold mines.
  • Lebina Liphapang worked without adequate breathing protection in South Africa’s mines for 29 years, and left when he realised the work was making him severely ill.
  • Liphapang has found himself unable to work. Suffering from silicosis due to the tiny particulates he inhaled while working in the mines, he can rarely afford medication and faces a bleak future.
  • Silitosis sufferer Litabe Litabe spent 30 years  toiling in South Africa’s gold mines, where he describes conditions as “harsh”. He says the ventilation systems didn’t reach all underground areas and often failed.

Central African Republic elects first woman president.

After the country’s first Muslim leader and former interim president stepped down on January 10th after both internal and external pressure over his failure to curb the ongoing conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR), an election was held to determine who the country’s next interim president would be.

With six candidates knocked out in the first round, lawyer, businesswoman and now former mayor of the capital city of Bangui Catherine Samba-Panza went to head-to-head against Desire Kolingbe, the son of a former president Andre Kolingba, winning 75 votes against Kolingba’s 53 in the second round of voting. 

In her victory speech, Samba-Penza called on her fellow citizens to ‘put down their arms and stop all the fighting’.

Although a Christian, the BBC reports that President Samba-Penza is seen as ‘politically neutral’ at a time where tensions are high between CAR’s Muslim and Christian population.

On a farm deep in the countryside 100 miles (160km) west from Sao Paulo, a football team has lined up for a commemorative photograph. What makes the image extraordinary is the symbol on the team’s flag - a swastika.

The picture probably dates from some time in the 1930s, after the Nazi Party’s rise to power in Germany - but this was on the other side of the world.

"Nothing explained the presence of a swastika here," says Jose Ricardo Rosa Maciel, former rancher at the remote Cruzeiro do Sul farm near Campina do Monte Alegre, who stumbled across the photograph one day.

But this was actually his second puzzling discovery. The first occurred in the pigsty.

"One day the pigs broke a wall and escaped into the field," he says. "I noticed the bricks that had fallen. I thought I was hallucinating."

The underside of each brick was stamped with the swastika.

It’s well known that pre-war Brazil had strong links with Nazi Germany - the two were economic partners and Brazil had the biggest fascist party outside Europe, with more than 40,000 members.

But it was years before Maciel - thanks to detective work by history professor Sidney Aguilar Filho - learned the grim story of his farm’s links to Brazil’s fascists.

Filho established that the farm had once been owned by the Rocha Mirandas, a family of wealthy industrialists from Rio de Janeiro. Three of them - father Renato and two of his sons, Otavio and Osvaldo - were members of the Acao Integralista Brasileira, an extreme right-wing organisation, sympathetic to the Nazis.

The family sometimes held rallies on the farm, hosting thousands of the organisation’s members. But it was also a brutal work-camp for abandoned - and non-white - children.

"I found a story of 50 boys aged around 10 years old who had been taken from an orphanage in Rio," says Filho. "They were taken in three waves. The first was a group of 10 in 1933."

Osvaldo Rocha Miranda applied to be a guardian of the orphans, according to documents discovered by Filho, and a legal decree was granted.

"He sent his driver, who put us in a corner," says 90-year-old Aloysio da Silva, one of the first orphans conscripted to work on the farm.

"Osvaldo was pointing with a cane - ‘Put that one over there, this one here’ - and from 20 boys, he took 10.

"He promised the world - that we would play football, go horse-riding. But there wasn’t any of this. The 10 of us were given hoes to clear the weeds and clean up the farm. I was tricked."

The children were subject to regular beatings with a palmatoria, a wooden paddle with holes designed to reduce air resistance and increase pain. They were addressed not by their name, but by a number - Silva’s was number 23. Guard dogs ensured they stayed in line.

"One was called Poison, the male, and the female was called Trust," says Silva, who still lives in the area. "I try to avoid talking about it."

Argemiro dos Santos is another survivor. As a boy, he had been found on the streets and taken to an orphanage. Then Rocha Miranda came for him.

"They didn’t like black people at all," says Santos, now 89.

"There was punishment, from not giving us food to the palmatoria. It hurt a lot. Two hits sometimes. The most would be five because a person couldn’t stand it.

"There were photographs of Hitler and you were compelled to salute. I didn’t understand any of it."

Some of the surviving Rocha Miranda family say their forebears stopped supporting Nazism well before World War Two.

Maurice Rocha Miranda, great-nephew of Otavio and Osvaldo, also denies that the children on the farm were kept as “slaves”.

He told the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaperthat the orphans on the farm “had to be controlled, but were never punished or enslaved”.

But Filho believes the survivors’ stories. And despite it being a long time ago, both Silva and Santos - who have never met since - tell very similar, harrowing tales.

The orphans’ only respite came in football matches against teams of local farm workers such as the one pictured in the photograph with the swastika flag. Football was key to the ideology of the integralistas. Military parades took place at the Vasco da Gama football ground and the game was regularly used for propaganda purposes under Brazil’s dictator, Getulio Vargas.

"We’d have a kick around and it evolved," he says. "We had a championship - we were good at football. There was no problem."

But after several years, Santos had had enough.

"There was a gate and I left it ajar," he says. "Later that night, I was out of there. No-one saw."

Santos returned to Rio where, aged 14, he slept rough and worked as a newspaper seller. Then in 1942, after Brazil declared war on Germany, he joined the navy as a taifeiro, waiting on tables and washing up.

He had gone from working for Nazis, to fighting them.

"I was just fulfilling what Brazil needed to do," says Santos. "I couldn’t have hate for Hitler - I didn’t know the guy! I didn’t know who he was."

Santos went on patrol in Europe and then spent much of World War Two working on ships hunting submarines off the Brazilian coast.

Today Santos is known locally by his nickname Marujo - “sailor” - and proudly shows off a certificate and medal that recognises his war service. But he is also famous for another reason - as one of Brazil’s top footballers of the 1940s, becoming a midfielder for some of the biggest teams in Brazil.

"At that time professional players didn’t exist, it was all amateur," says Santos. "I played for Fluminense, Botafogo, Vasco da Gama. The players were all newspaper sellers and shoeshine boys."

Nowadays Santos lives a quiet life in south-western Brazil with Guilhermina, his wife of 61 years.

"I like to play my trumpet, I like to sit on the veranda, I like to have a cold beer. I have a lot of friends and they pass by and chat," he says.

Memories of the farm, though, are impossible to escape.

"Anyone who says they have had a good life since they were born is lying," he says. "Everyone has something bad that has happened in their life."

Just came across this really interesting map titled “What Africa might look like had it never been colonized”. Doesn’t specify who these colonists are (my guess is the Europeans) and I can’t seem to track who the created this, but it’s an interesting visual nonetheless. 

Added text: Also not sure how factually correct this is so history boffins, feel free to chime in.