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Appiah, Joseph Emmanuel [Joe] (1918–1990), politician in Ghana, was born in Kumasi, Gold Coast, on 16 November 1918, the son of James W. K. Appiah, schoolmaster, and his wife, Adoma. He came from an aristocratic family with close maternal and paternal links to the ruling house of Asante. His father had been personal secretary to the Asantehene, ...

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Awolowo, Obafemi (1909–1987), politician in Nigeria, was born on 6 March 1909 at Ikenne, a small town about 40 miles from Lagos, in Ijebu Remo division, the son of David Sopolu Awolowo (d. 1920) and his wife, Mary Sofowora Efunyela. The Ijebu are a subgroup of the ...

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Nnamdi Azikiwe [Zik] (1904–1996) by A. Harris © News International Newspapers Ltd

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Azikiwe, Nnamdi [known as Zik] (1904–1996), journalist and president of Nigeria, was born in Zungeru, Northern Nigeria, on 16 November 1904, the son of Obed-Edom Chukwuemeka Azikiwe (c.1854–1958), a civil servant attached to the Nigeria regiment of the Royal West African Frontier Force...

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Bello, Sir Ahmadu [formerly Ahmadu Rabah], sardauna of Sokoto (1910–1966), premier of Northern Nigeria, was born at Rabah, a small riverain town upstream of Sokoto, one of ten half-brothers and fifteen half-sisters born to his father, Ibrahim Rabah, the district head. Both parents were ...

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Edward Wilmot Blyden (1832–1912) by unknown photographer © reserved

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Blyden, Edward Wilmot (1832–1912), advocate of pan-Africanism, was born on 3 August 1832 on the island of St Thomas (then under Danish rule) in the West Indies. He was the third of the seven children of Romeo Blyden, a tailor, and his wife, ...

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Bright, Herbert Christian Bankole- (1883–1958), medical practitioner and politician in Sierra Leone, was born of Sierra Leonean parents on 23 August 1883 at Okrika (later in Nigeria), the son of Jacob Galba Bright (1843–1910), businessman, and his wife, Laetitia, née Williams (...

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Broadhurst, Robert (1859/60–1948), pan-African nationalist leader, was born probably in Sierra Leone, the son of a Manchester merchant, John S. Broadhurst, who had a business there; his mother, whose name is unknown, was from Sierra Leone. He was sent to Britain to be educated at ...

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Danquah, Joseph Boakye (1895–1965), lawyer and politician in Ghana, was born on 21 December 1895 at Bepong, Kwawu, Gold Coast, the son of Emmanuel Yaw Boakye Danquah (d. 1907) and his second wife, Lydia Okom Korantemaa. His royal father had been chief state drummer to the ...

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Dumbuya, Alimami Dala Muhammadu [Dala Modu] (c. 1760–1841), political leader in Sierra Leone, was born in Bambouk in the upper Senegal River region, the eldest son of Fenda Muhammadu Dumbuya and Mama Dalu of Bambouk. He was a member of the Dumbuya, one of the most distinguished merchant (...

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Garba-Jahumpa, Ibrahima Momodou (1912–1994), schoolteacher and politician in Gambia, was born in Bathurst (Banjul), capital of the British colony of Gambia, in 1912, the son of Momodou Jahumpa, a shipwright and senior figure in the local Mohammedan Society, whose family had emigrated to ...

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Ibrahim, Sir Kashim (1910–1990), politician and governor of Northern Nigeria, was born on 10 January 1910 in Gargar ward, Yerwa, in the Borno province of Nigeria, youngest son of Mallam Ibrahim Lakanmi (b. c.1840), a Kanuri aristocrat, and of a Badawi...

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Jallow, Momadou Ebrima (1928–1987), trade unionist and Gambian nationalist, was born on 15 June 1928 to parents of mixed Fula, Serahuli, and Wolof stock in Georgetown, McCarthy Island division, in the British protectorate of the Gambia. He later moved to the capital, Bathurst (...

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Lewis, Sir Samuel (1843–1903), lawyer and civic leader in Sierra Leone, was born on 13 November 1843 at Campbell Street, Freetown, Sierra Leone, the second of the seven children of William Lewis (c.1812–1901), a merchant, and his wife, Fanny Thorpe (...

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Margai, Sir Milton Augustus Strieby (1895–1964), prime minister of Sierra Leone, was born on 7 December 1895 at Gbangbatoke, a small town in the Banta chiefdom in southern Sierra Leone, the son of M. E. S. Margai, a prosperous trader, part of a landed aristocracy that had managed the transition from the slave trade to the legitimate commerce that came with British rule in the interior of ...

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Nkrumah, Kwame (1909?–1972), president of Ghana, was born at Nkroful, Nzima, a village in the south-west of Gold Coast Colony. As birth certificates were not then mandatory, the exact date of his birth is uncertain. He was probably born on 18 September 1909 and baptized in the local Roman Catholic church three days later. On occasions in later life he was to give his year of birth as 1912, almost certainly erroneously. His father, a goldsmith from a town on the border with the ...

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Kwame Nkrumah (1909?–1972) by unknown photographer, 1964 Getty Images

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Omoniyi, Bandele (1884–1913), nationalist and writer on African politics, was born on 6 November 1884 in Lagos in the British colony of Nigeria, the son of Aina Omoniyi. Both his father, said to be headman of a gang of day labourers at the ...

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Sesay, al-Hajj Shaikh Jibril [known as Shaikh Gibril Sesay] (1903–1988), political leader, was born in the village of Mabayla in Sanda Tenraren chiefdom, Bomboli district, Sierra Leone. His father, Abu Bakari Lomeh Sesay (b. c.1879), was a Muslim scholar and wealthy merchant whose export–import business was based in ...