“In politics if you want anything said, ask a man. If you want anything done, ask a woman.” Those are the words of Margaret Thatcher, former British Prime Minister who is the first lady to hold that seat and subsequently win three consecutive terms. Prior to her tenure at 10 Downing Street, Thatcher was a research chemist who later trained as a barrister before winning a parliamentary seat in the year 1959. Her journey to parliament was not an easy climb as she had to face several rejections before serving as the MP for Finchley in north London, on a Conservative Party ticket. After the Conservative Party lost general elections in 1974, she defeated Edward Heath, for the party’s top seat and in May 1979, she became Prime Minister. Her long serving stay was quite eventful, having to contend with an economic recession and inner-city riots.
Idi Amin, born Idi Amin Dada Oumee, liked to call himself ‘Conqueror of the British Empire’ and ‘Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Sea,’ but today, his murder count supersede these titles, and he’s simply known to many as ‘The butcher of Africa.’ With the blood of nearly three hundred thousand people on his hands, this former Ugandan president is usually considered a monster of human history.Idi Amin’s exact year of birth is undetermined, but many sources place it between 1923 and 1925. Born in the Kawka tribe in Koboko, Uganda, it is said his father was a Muslim farmer, and his mother a sorceress from the Lugbara tribe. Soon after his birth, Amin’s parents separated. His mother, a camp follower of the King’s African Rifles, a regiment of the British colonial army, raised him. The third of eight siblings, Amin only received a rudimentary education, but would excel in sports and convert to Islam at an early age.
Born in January 17, 1954 in Washington, D.C, Robert Kennedy Jr, is the third of eleven children born to Ethel Skakel Kennedy and Robert “Bobby” Kennedy and a nephew of President John F. Kennedy. A resolute defender of the environment, the Harvard University graduate was born into a family of privilege: the Kennedys. Kennedy Jr. could have done many things with his life, but his passion for the environment meant that he ended up synergies all his energies in the fight for environment and everyone’s right to access to clean water and air. He studied at the London School of Economics and received his law degree from the University of Virginia Law School. Following graduation, he attended Pace University School of Law, where he was awarded a Masters Degree in Environmental Law. Kennedy has grown as an environmental globetrotter, working on environmental issues across the Americas and aided several indigenous tribes in Canada and Latin America in successfully fronting for treaties that have seen their traditional homelands protected.
Born in October 6, 1919 to a pastoralist Somali Marehan family near Shilavo in the Ogaden, Mohamed Siad Barre was the military dictator and President of the Horn of African nation of Somalia from 1969 to 1991. His parents died when he was ten years old. Siad travelled to the town of Luuq in Southern Somalia for his primary education, and then moved to Mogadishu in nearby Somalia Italiana for his secondary education. Claiming to have been born in Garbahaarreey in order to qualify, he later joined the colonial police force during the British military administration of Somalia, rising to the highest possible rank. He joined the Somali police force after the British took control of the country in 1941 and rose to the post of chief inspector. In 1958, Somalia's own police force was formed, and by 1 July 1960, when Somalia became independent - uniting with the former British Somaliland Protectorate to form the Somali Republic - Siad had won accelerated promotion to the rank of Vice Commander of Somalia's Army when the country gained its independence in 1960.
The Life and Times of Josiah Mwangi (J.M.) Kariuki
Known and referred by many as J.M. Kariuki, Josiah Mwangi Kariuki was born on March 21 1929, in an area known as Kabati-ini near Bahati Forest in the Rift Valley Province of Kenya. The only boy in a family of five siblings, he was born to Kariuki Kigani and Mary Wanjiku, at a time when Kenya was a colony under the British Rule. His parents had earlier on been forced to leave their home area, Chinga, located in the Nyeri native reserve, back in 1928 to work in the white highlands. There, they became squatters on a European settler's farm and were expected, as was the case with other African squatter families, to do the regular and seasonal jobs for wages. In 1938, he briefly enrolled in Evanson's Day School, but dropped out shortly due to lack of school fees. In 1940, when he was ill, his father Mr. Kariuki Kigani, married a 2nd wife and moved back to Chinga, where he died in 1943.
Nigeria, Sub Saharan Africa’s second largest economy is also the most populous nation in the African continent and accounts for 47 per cent of West Africa’s population. With a population of over 150 million people, the oil-rich nation blankets under a dark history that was marred by coups d'état, military aggression, corruption, human right abuses, inter-faith violence, media gagging, ethnic clashes, among other vices that were common with many post-colonial African states. However, after staggering from one coup to another since independence on October 1, 1960, the country had its first democratically elected president in 1999 in Oluṣẹgun Mathew Okikiọla Arẹmu Ọbasanjọ. Obasanjo’s election as President marked the first transition from a military to a democratic rule. His election paved the way for the return of a civilian leader to the country after 15 years of military rule.
On his website, Paul Kagame.com, one is graced with documented pictures and text of a visionary and revolutionary leader who is unwavering and relentless in his charge of improving the lives of the citizenry. Whether answering questions from journalists in Kigali or addressing a summit on climate change in Geneva, Paul Kagame’s self-styled and radical approach to using reconciliation to rebrand and rebuild his country stands out in every word that comes out of his soft-speaking lips. Born in October 1957 in Ruhango, the Rwandan president’s Tutsi family fled pre-independence ethnic persecution and violence in 1960, crossing into Uganda where he spent thirty years as a refugee. He became an internationally renowned figure and rose to prominence as the leader of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), whose victory over the incumbent government effectively ended the Rwandan genocide (pitting Hutu-Tutsi ethnic rebellion) in July 1994.
Mention the word ‘Mwalimu’ anywhere in the streets of Tanzania, and you will have every one thinking of one man. A man known to many as the father of the nation and a man who thought of himself as a ‘schoolmaster by choice and a politician by accident.’ This man is Mwalimu Julius Kabarage Nyerere. This ‘accidental politician’ became the first African Prime Minister in the year 1961 and later became the first president. His belief in the traditional way of African life inspired him to develop his particular vision of connecting socialism with African communal living. In response to the hard economic times for his country in the late 1960’s he formulated the Ujamaa system.The focus, given the nature of Tanzanian society, was on rural development. People were encouraged to live and work on a co-operative basis in organized villages or ujamaa (meaning ‘familyhood’ in Kiswahili).
Born Kamau Wa Ngengi at Ng'enda village, Gatundu Division, Kiambu in 1889 to Muigai and Wambui, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta served as the first Prime Minister (1963–1964) and President (1964–1978) of Kenya. His date of birth, sometime in the early to mid 1890s, is unclear, and was unclear even to him, as his parents were almost certainly not literate, and no formal birth records of native Africans were kept in Kenya back then. In 1914, he was baptized a Christian and given the name John Peter which he changed to Johnstone. He again later changed his name to Jomo in 1938. He adopted the name of Jomo Kenyatta taking his first name from the Kikuyu word for "burning spear" and his last name from the beard belt that he often wore.
Born in the coastal town of Kilifi in 1923, Ronald Gideon Ngala was a Kenyan politician whose life was marked by a realistic approach to politics and by a devotion to Kenya which allowed him to place his country's stability and growth first over his own political ambition. A son of the Mijikenda community in Kenya’s coastal province, Ngala was educated at the prestigious Alliance High School and at Makerere University College, where he received a diploma in teaching. He then began a teaching career (1949-1954), rising to the positions of headmaster of the Buxton School (1955-1956) and of supervisor of schools (1957-1958) although his interest was primarily in politics. Once he joined politics and founded the Mijikenda Union in 1947, Ngala never looked back and became the most famous Mijikenda politician and the kingpin of Coast Province politics in the 1950’s and 1960’s.
Born on the 15th August 1930 to Leonard and Marcella Ndiege in a place called Kilima Mbogo, about an hour drive from Nairobi, Thomas Joseph Mboya was one of the most charismatic and progressive politicians Kenya had in the years leading to independence and also during the post-colonial era. Mboya was educated at various Catholic mission schools and enrolled at Catholic Secondary School, now St. Mary’s School in Yala, Nyanza Province. He later attended the Holy Ghost College, now Mang’u High School in 1946 and qualified well enough to join Cambridge School and do his Certification. Upon his graduation in 1956, he returned to Kenya and joined politics at a time when the Mau Mau uprising was fighting a losing battle with the British government.