Mandume and the Ovambo Resistance to Portuguese Colonialism in Angola

King Mandume ya Ndemufayo, portrait extracted from a photograph of the King with British representatives in South Africa

Mandume, king of the Cuanhama (Oukwanyama) principal subgroup of the Ovambo in Southern Angola, was one of the last and most important resistance leader against Portuguese conquest in Angola. By the size of his army, he could be compared to Samori Touré, but he did not have the same historic aura or military genius and given his very short life, he has remained unknown to many. Yet, in 1915, he held in his hands for 10 days the scourge of the balance of power in Southern Angola directly, and indirectly in Angola as a whole. Mandume is celebrated by many nationalists in Luanda as one of their heroes because he fought against Portuguese advances inside Angolan territory. He was a leader of the Ovambo resistance, defending the independence of his people, the Cuanhama so as not to get absorbed within Angola. Given European drawing of African boundaries during the 1884 Berlin Conference, the Cuanhama found themselves between areas of Portuguese West Africa (Angola) and German South West Africa (Namibia); thus Mandume has also entered the pantheon of the Namibian resistance. Who was Mandume?

King Mandume ya Ndemufayo, probably in Oihole, sometime before 1916

Mandume ya Ndemufayo was a simple ethno-nationalist, who refused to be colonized and had about 35,000 to 40,000 armed fighters; more than any Angolan nationalists ever had before 1974. He took over the reins of the Cuanhama kingdom in 1911 and his reign lasted until 1917 when he died of either suicide or machine gun fire while under attack from South African forces. Ya Ndemufayo grew up during a time of significant upheaval in the Oukwanyama kingdom due to the presence of European merchants and missionaries. As King Nande’s nephew (his mother was the king’s sister), he was third in line for succession to the Kwanyama throne. To protect his life as royal child heir to the throne, Mandume had to live in various homesteads. King Nande died on 5 February 1911 and Mandume succeeded him at barely 18 years old. Immediately upon ascending the throne, he moved the royal residence to Ondjiva (now in Angola). He could be thought of as a neo-traditionalist leader, who, even though he studied in the German mission schools, he spoke German, and a bit of Portuguese, and championed the independence of his people. Strongly anti-European, he expelled Portuguese traders from Kwanyama territory to denounce price inflation. Given the great drought and famine which lasted from 1911 to 1916, Mandume issued decrees prohibiting the picking of unripened fruits to protect against droughts and the unneeded use of firearms, an important commodity obtained from European traders. Significantly, he also issued harsh penalties for the crime of rape and allowed women to own cattle, which was previously illegal. Overall, King Mandume sought to restore previous Kwanyama wealth and prosperity against a decaying system of local leadership. Ya Ndemufayo had a reputation for expelling Christians within the Oukwanyama kingdom. Numerous Christian families fled to the Ondonga kingdom of the Ovambos. Ya Ndemufayo did not favor Portuguese Roman Catholic missionaries as well as German Rhenish Missionary Society Protestants within his kingdom. In some European archives, it is said that he was a tyrant, but it is unclear whether it is European propaganda (a case of the hunter telling the story of the hunt) or reality.

Flag of Ovamboland

Before Mandume, previous Cuanhama kings had fought valiantly against Portuguese invasion of their land, King Weyulu from 18851904, his brother King Nande (1904 – 1911); unfortunately, they all in the end saw no choice to the inevitable Portuguese colonization. Mandume rejected the idea of Portuguese colonial rule and demanded to be on equal terms with the colonial rulers in their distant capitals.

King Mandume with his warriors in Oihole in 1916

No European colonizer seriously challenged the well-organized and well-armed Ovambo kingdoms until 1915 and the beginning of World War I which coincided with a massive local drought. During the Battle of Omongwa in August 1915, ya Ndemufayo and the Kwanyama’s resisted a Portuguese attack led by Pereira de’Eça for three days. On 20 August, Mandume assembled several thousand men and attacked the Portuguese camp shouting “The land does not belong to the white[s]!”. After 10 hours of fighting, the Ovambo were forced to retreat due to a lack of supplies including the water which they had lost. In total, the Portuguese took 35 casualties and 57 wounded; while the Ovambo lost 25 and had 100 wounded. After the battle, the Portuguese also started claiming that German forces were helping the Ovambo because it was unimaginable to them that Africans were able to wage war like Europeans. Simultaneously, the South African forces peacefully conquered the portion of the Oukwanyama kingdom formerly located in German South West Africa; this was at a time when Germany lost the first world war, and thus all its African colonies. German South West Africa’s administration was taken over by the Union of South Africa (part of the British Empire) and the territory was administered as South West Africa under a League of Nations mandate. Due to losses and lack of water, ya Ndemufayo first relocated the Kwanyama capital to an area south called Oihole, and then later into South West Africa. He used the border line to conduct attacks against Portuguese who were encroaching on his old territory in Southern Angola. However his attacks of Portuguese interests from his territory in South West Africa were not appreciated by the South African authorities who summoned him to Windhoek where he refused to go. In February 1917, after ya Ndemufayo refused to submit to South African control, he died in battle against the South Africans who had mounted an attack against him. The cause of his death is disputed; South African records show his death from machine-gun fire, while oral and popular history described his death as suicide, after being wounded so he could not be taken in by enemy forces. After his death, the South African administration abolished the Kwanyama-Kingship which was only restored in 1998, after over 8 decades

Mandume Ndemufayo Ave in Windhoek, Namibia

Today, Mandume Ya Ndemufayo is honored as a national hero in both Angola and Namibia. He is one of nine national heroes of Namibia that were identified at the inauguration of the country’s Heroes’ Acre near Windhoek. Namibia’s Founding President Sam Nujoma remarked in his inauguration speech on 26 August 2002 that: It is better to die fighting than to become a slave of the colonial forces.” — These were the defiant words of one of Namibia’s foremost anti-colonialist fighters. He said these words in defiance when the combined [European] colonial forces insisted he should surrender. […] To his revolutionary spirit and his visionary memory we humbly offer our honor and respect.

Early resistant, bronze plaque for King Mandume ya Ndemufayo at the Independence Museum in Windhoek, Namibia

The 100th anniversary of the death of Oukwanyama King Mandume ya Ndemufayo on February 2017 was attended by thousands of Namibians at Omhedi in the Ohangwena region including former Namibian presidents, where President Hage Geingob unveiled a bust of King Mandume. If you ever visit Windhoek, Namibia, make sure to walk along the street named after King Mandume, or visit the Universidade Mandume ya Ndemufayo in Angola. Please check out the article “The Legacy of legendary Oukwanyama King still vivid“, the article from The Namibian, Order out of chaos: Mandume Ya Ndemufayo and Oral History by Patricia Hayes, and lastly Les Africains Tome 8, editions J.A. p.207 (1977) to learn more about this great last resistant to Portuguese colonial advances in Southern Angola and Northern Namibia.

Le progrès ne peut être arrêter / Progress cannot be stopped


Le coassement des grenouilles n’empêche pas l’éléphant de boire (Proverbe Mandingue – Guinée, Mali, Gambie, Sénégal). – Vous ne m’empêcherez pas d’agir; les chiens aboient, la caravane passe. 

The croaking of frogs does not prevent the elephant from drinking (Mandinka proverb – Guinea, Mali, The Gambia, Senegal). – You will not prevent me from acting; dogs bark, but the caravan moves.

Mali – Burkina Faso – Guinea Agree to form a Tri-Country Axis

Map of Mali with its capital Bamako

It is no secret that 14 African countries today are still under the French colonial tax (The 11 Components of the French Colonial Tax in Africa), and that every year, France takes home upwards of 500 billion dollars (Africa is funding Europe!) from its currency imposed upon those countries. After all, France has no gold mines on its soil but yet is the 4th world producer of gold, gold coming from Mali, while Mali is among the world’s poorest countries on the planet. It is also no secret that Mali has been trying to free itself from this colonial tax (The French Colonial Tax at the Heart of Mali-France Tensions), and has been working tirelessly to revoke at least 8 of the 11 rules. With the unrest in Burkina Faso brought by the Jihadists from the north who were well protected by the French army brought in to protect Burkinabe interests, but who instead have created further unrest in the area, it is no surprise that Burkina Faso has joined forces with Mali, and now Guinea, to create a strategic axis which will focus on military and trade agreements between the 3 countries. Although we do not particularly trust the Guinean leader, we applaud the union between the two brothers Mali and Burkina Faso, faced with sanctions from the puppet organization that is ECOWAS. We also applaud this ‘federation’ which will give Mali and Burkina Faso access to the sea via Guinea, thus opening up these land-locked territories to further trade. Enjoy excerpts below from the People’s Dispatch; check out also the write-up on AfricaNews.

Like Thomas Sankara said, “La patrie ou la mort, nous vaincrons!


Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso

The three West African countries, all of whom have recently undergone military takeovers amid rising public anger against France, have agreed to a Bamako-Conakry -Ouagadougou axis, with enhanced cooperation on matters ranging from trade to the fight against insecurity.

As France is getting ready to withdraw its troops from Burkina Faso by the end of the month, signs of a possible realignment in the region are emerging with a tripartite meeting between the foreign ministers of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Guinea—Olivia Ragnaghnewendé, Morissanda Kouyate, and Abdoulaye Diop—held in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou on February 8 and 9.

The leaders discussed a range of issues, “in particular the success of the transition processes leading to a return to a peaceful and secure constitutional order,” and, importantly, the “revitalization of the Bamako-Conakry-Ouagadougou axis” to make it a “strategic and priority area” on matters including trade and economic exchanges, mining, transport, roads and railway links, and the “fight against insecurity.”


The communique issued following last week’s tripartite meeting condemned the “mechanical imposition of sanctions which often fail to take into account the deep and complex causes of political change,” adding that these measures “affected populations already battered by insecurity and political instability,” “undermine sub-regional and African solidarity,” and “deprive ECOWAS and the AU of the contribution of the three countries needed to meet their major challenges.”

While calling for “technical, financial, concrete, and consistent support” for security efforts and the return to a normal constitutional order, the three countries have agreed to “pool their efforts and undertake joint initiatives for the lifting of the suspension measures and other restrictions.”

“Love the African Way” by Esmeralda Yitamben

L’amour / Love

Today, I will share with you a beautiful poem by author Esmeralda Yitamben, “Love, the African Way.” As you remember, I shared the poem ‘African Hair’ by Esmeralda Yitamben which, in my humble opinion, should be published in school books… and which I dearly love. Here is another one, for the lovers out there, and the historians as well. Every part of this poem is rich in history, history of the African continent, of the race, and combines the ancient and the modern faces of Africa : from the scholarly city of Timbuktu, one of the first universities of the world, to the second longest river of Africa, the Congo River and the great Congo Empire, to the libraries of Alexandria, to the sandy beaches of Senegal, from the dunes of The forgotten kingdom of Nubia to the streets of Douala. Imagine climbing the tallest mountain of Africa for someone you love, going to battle like Shaka Zulu, and winning them all like Menelik II (Battle of Adwa)… Imagine a love founded on the rock of the great Egyptian pyramids, and rising like the sphinx, never faltering. No doubt that this is a celebration of victory, of wealth, of the conquest of all battles, and above all… of love. The original poem can be found on Enjoy!


Love, the African Way” by Esmeralda Yitamben

I want to love you in Bambara

And take you to the sacred city of Timbuktu.

Nakupenda Malaika

Is what I will tell you, my angel, in Kiswahili.

Wapi Yo” my dear?

I will speak Lingala and navigate the Congo River looking for you from Kinshasa to Lubumbashi.

On my way, I will stop to contemplate the okapi, whose beauty and grace reminds me so much of yours.

I will climb Mt Kilimandjaro and stand fearlessly like a Maasai warrior.

I will rise on the wings of the sphinx at Thebes,

and revive the rolls of papyri from the burnt libraries of Alexandria,

to read you centuries’ old love poems

And walk the dunes of the ancient kingdom of Nubia at Meroë.

I will celebrate my long lost love on the beach of Dakar, and claim how much I miss you in Wolof “Namm naa la”.

Mase fi mi sile my love, don’t go, is what I will say in Yoruba, so that you never leave me.

You belong to me, natondi wa, I love you, and I will dance to the rhythm of makossa in the streets of Douala.

Like Chaka Zulu, I will be the warrior of your heart, I will fight a thousand battles for you.

And like Menelik II, great emperor of Ethiopia, I will win them all for you, precious one!

Together, we will build an empire as great as the Empire of Mali and our love will be talked about throughout the universe.

And when we finally meet again, I will say M’Bifé, I love you.


Wapi Yo = “Where are you?” In Lingala (Congo)

Nakupenda Malaika = “I love you angel” in Kiswahili (Kenya, Tanzania)

Namm naa la = “I miss you,” in Wolof (Senegal, Gambia)

Mase fi mi sile = “don’t leave me” in Yoruba (Nigeria)

Na tondi wa = “I love you” in Douala (Cameroon)

Makossa is a musical style from Cameroon

M’Bifé = “I love you,” in Bambara (Mali)

Les temps difficiles ne durent pas éternellement / Dark Times do not Last Forever

Lu metti yàggul te ku muñ muuñ

Ce qui fait mal ne dure pas toujours, et celui qui persèvere sourit. (Proverbe Wolof – Senegal, Gambie) – Continuez à avancer car les temps difficiles ne durent pas éternellement

Whatever is painful does not last, and whoever perseveres smiles. (Wolof proverb – Senegal, Gambia) Keep going as dark times don’t last forever.

Thomas Sankara re-Burial Boycotted by Family

“We are heirs of the revolution” by Thomas Sankara

Almost 4 decades after Thomas Sankara and his 12 companions were treacherously murdered, they are given a burial at the memorial erected in Sankara’s honor in front of the place where they were assassinated, at the Conseil de l’Entente. His family has boycotted the ceremony because, as they say, how can you bury such a hero in the place where he was murdered? In a press release, they said, “We believed and continue to believe that it is fundamental that a space be found that allows to gather and appease hearts, and not to divide and increase resentment,” the Sankaras added in their statement on Sunday, calling the place chosen by the government “conflictual and controversial”. I know that Thomas Sankara now belongs to the entire nation of Burkina Faso, and even to the continent of Africa, but shouldn’t his family have a say as to where he is buried?

At the time of Thomas Sankara and companions’ murders in 1987 ordered by Blaise Compaore and his croonies, Sankara and his comrades were buried in some common fields with no names. Later, their bodies were exhumed in 2015 for legal proceedings.

What do you think? Is it okay to bury Thomas Sankara, our true panafricanist and anti-imperialist revolutionary, who fought for our freedoms, in the place where he was murdered?

As Sankara always said, Homeland or death, we shall overcome!

France to Withdraw Troops from Burkina Faso

Flag of Burkina Faso

This is about 2 weeks old news, but it is a victory nonetheless. France has agreed to a request from Burkina Faso’s military leaders to withdraw all its troops from the country within a month. Remember that, as part of the colonial tax forced upon the Burkinabe people by France (and all other 14 past French colonies in Africa – The 11 Components of the French Colonial Tax in Africa, agreement #6), there is one rule which links Burkina Faso to France via defense agreements where France is supposed to help Burkina Faso in case of external attacks. As we have seen, France has not held its part of the bargain, instead funding and letting jihadists proliferate on the Burkinabe territory and committing abuses against the local populations. There were other defense agreements signed in 2018; this is a rescinding on the 2018 agreements. It is the third African country from which France is forced to move out its troops: Central African Republic, Mali, and now Burkina Faso. It is a victory; Little by little…  As Agostinho Neto said, “A luta continua, e la vitoria e certa.” Enjoy excerpts below from Al Jazeera. For more, read also the piece by Ramzy Baroud on GulfNews.


France will withdraw its troops from Burkina Faso within a month after the West African country’s military rulers asked it to leave, the French foreign ministry said, in a move that will further reduce its presence in a region facing growing violence from armed groups.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the French ministry said it had received notice the previous day that a 2018 agreement on the status of French troops in the country had been terminated.

In accordance with the terms of the agreement, the denunciation takes effect one month after receipt of the written notification. We will comply with the terms of this agreement by complying with this request.”

France retains some 200 to 400 special forces in its former colony.

On Monday, Ouagadougou said it had decided to end a military accord that allowed French troops to fight armed groups on its territory because the government wants the country to defend itself.

Burkina Faso’s national television reported on Saturday that the government had suspended a 2018 military accord with Paris on January 18, giving France one month to pull its troops out.

Protests against the French military presence have surged in Burkina Faso, partly linked to perceptions that France has not done enough to tackle the violence that has spread in recent years from neighbouring Mali, whose military rulers asked French forces to leave last year and deployed Russian private security contractors instead.

The Pope Visits the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan

Pope Francis (R) waves as he arrives on the popemobile for the mass at the N’Dolo Airport in Kinshasa. [Source: Arsene Mpiana/AFP – Al Jazeera]
There are no coincidences. Is it a surprise that the Pope is visiting the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) just after the big signing of cobalt and copper mines to the US? Or South Sudan oil fields (3rd largest in Africa behind Nigeria and Angola)? This is the first visit of the Holy See in the DRC in 37 years, and the first ever to South Sudan! To all the religious people out there, this is not an attack on religion or the Pope, it is just asking questions: let’s face it, your prayers are not the reason the Pope is visiting the DRC or South Sudan; your resources are! Some people tell me that it is because Africa is the future of Catholicism with the largest growing population of Catholics, but why is there no true African presence at the Vatican then? Others say that the Pope is trying to preach peace… President Charles De Gaulle of France once said that, “states do not have friends, they only have interests.” It is best for Africans not to think of love or friendship, but rather in terms interests.

Flag of Mozambique

Remember how the Pope visited Mozambique just before the major signing of the biggest gas fields in the world to the French firm Total and a condominium of commercial banks from around the world descended upon it? Ever since that 15 billion dollars contract with the French firm Total for the oil in Cabo Delgado, and the discovery of one of the largest oil, gas, diamonds, rubies fields in the world, peace in northern Mozambique has become evasive (Who/What did we say goodbye to in Africa in 2020?). Now they want us to believe that there is an Islamist insurgency in Mozambique of all places! The Islamists passed over Congo, Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, to land in… Mozambique! After his Mozambican visit, Pope Francis sent money to help the people and children of Mozambique who have been displaced by conflict! … Why did the Vatican not help the government of Samora Machel in their fight for independence back in the days? Lastly, to help with peace in Mozambique, Rwandan troops have been sent there. Rwanda today is a world producer of minerals it does not have on its soil, and we know that neighboring Congo is the real provenance of those. Is it then a coincidence that the same Rwanda that is in conflict in DRC, is the same deployed in Mozambique to protect TotalEnergies’ interests in the region?

Flag of the Democratic Republic of Congo

To come back to the Pope’s visit to the DRC and South Sudan, I wish that while visiting the country, instead of asking the faithful to pray (1-million mass to celebrate the Pope visit in DRC), the Pope could ask for roads or hospitals… the country probably took out of its coffers the money needed for hospitals or roads, to accommodate his visit. Couldn’t he ask that for his next visit, he would like to go from Kinshasa to Lubumbashi by road or rail (not possible at the moment)? The Pope made a grand speech saying all the things Africans love to hear Pope says Hands off Africa: “Hands off the Democratic Republic of the Congo! Hands off Africa! Stop choking Africa, it is not a mine to be stripped or a terrain to be plundered.” However, for the new African generation, the era of words is over, actions speak louder! There is no secret that since the Ukraine war, many foreign leaders have been visiting Africa in search of the next energy source, even the King of Belgium visited Congo in 2022 for the first time since independence and offered words as usual (King Philippe of Belgium’s Visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)); after all, Africa is relatively easy to tame: no united governments, poor governance, corrupt leadership, no cohesion, 54 countries, etc. So it is easy to sign a deal for Nigeria’s oil and gas for X amount, and not give a dime to Niger (France’s backyard) for its uranium for instance. This is where the African Union (AU), had it been an organization at the service of its constituents and not external financial backers, would have played an important role.

DRC and Zambia Sign Over Cobalt and Copper Resources Rights to the United States?

Flag of the Democratic Republic of Congo

I was stunned by the recent signing of the DRC and Zambia cobalt and copper mines to the USA!!! You heard me right! Last month during the US-Africa summit, the puppets that are the African leaders, leaders of Zambia and DRC, Hakainde Hichilema and Felix Tshisekedi, signed the total surrender of the supply chain and production of cobalt and copper. Hello? Is this 2023 or what? Did Tshisekedi or Hilema ask the people of their countries before signing these treaties? Was this discussed at the parliament? Not that the parliament is any better, but still, is it not my country? We know that these countries are deep in debt (Zambia Sovereign Debt Crisis), but shouldn’t the citizens know that their lives and resources are being signed away to foreigners? Shouldn’t they have a say? As you know, the DRC supplies 70% of the world’s cobalt, while Zambia supplies 70% of the world’s copper. In the west we are being told that the future is the electric car, which everyone should embrace with the Teslas and all those car brands, but none of this is possible without the DRC resources. The claim is that the agreement is to manufacture electric batteries near the mines or rather facilitate the development of value chain in electric battery and clean energy… but in a place where there are no roads, how much of it will be done on the ground? How much of it is real? It’s like the signing of the trade agreements between the EU and Africa in recent years, where the idea on ‘paper’ was the opening of African markets to Europe and vice versa, but instead the reality is that Africa is submerged with uncontrolled European products, and the local farmers/industries suffer, while there is no real export of African products to Europe.

Zambian flag
Zambian flag

The worst part is that these big multinationals will make billions, but will not even build roads in these countries, not even a single road or hospital! In some countries, when the locals asked for roads or hospitals (Niger, Guinea, etc) they were beaten up, imprisoned, killed, and more. When one learns about the 999-year lease in Kenya (Did You Know about the 999-year Lease granted to Europeans in Kenya ?), one thinks, it happened over a century ago, the locals were illiterate, or not versed in European languages, or in the particular case of the 999-year lease the locals were not even present at the signing table; but today… what is the excuse? Except that maybe we have a lot of traitors, spineless leaders, corrupt leaders, and puppets in our ranks? It is unacceptable!

For the press release of the document, go to the state department website; more articles can be found here, and check out the article by Conor Gallagher via NakedCapitalism on Markets Insider about the race for resources in Congo.


MoU was signed that will have the governments of DRC & Zambia surrender the supply chain and production of copper and cobalt to American control for EV market #lesothotribune #zambiantiktok🇿🇲 #drctiktok

♬ original sound – LesothoTribune