The Submarine

Tomaz Aquino Messias de Bragança was born in 1924 in Bardez. Leaving Goa for Mozambique, and following studies in  Portugal and in France, he worked for the end of Portuguese rule in Goa as well as in other Portuguese colonies.  An active journalist, he wrote in the  progressive Afrique-Asie (Paris) and Revolution Africaine (Algiers) and worked in various capacities in many parts of Africa. He was aboard the Tupolev TU 134 along with Samora Machel when it crashed at Mbuzini, a village in South Africa, on 19 October 1986.

Aquino de Bragança: Battles Waged, Lasting Dreams, the English translation of Aquino de Bragança: batalhas ganhas, sonhos a continuar that was published in Portuguese (Maputo: Ndjira, 2009) was  released in Panjim on April 2. The book, published by Goa1556, is by Bragança's wife Silvia, and includes reminiscences about his work and times. Aquino was known for his links with the liberation movements across Africa -- from Morocco to Algeria, Mozambique, Angola, Cabo Verde, and Sao Tome. Figures like Nelson Mandela and Julius Nyerere were his comrades.
 
When the MFA -- Movement of the Armed Force (Movimento das Forcas Armadas) -- overthrew the Caetano regime in Portugal on 25 April 1974, he was the person that the Mozambique liberation movement Frelimo turned to, sending him to Lisbon to evaluate the volatile situation.

After Mozambican independence, South African activist Ruth First and Aquino set about recruiting a group of committed radical scholars from Mozambique, South Africa, and Western Europe, and forming them into a research collective through the Centro de Estudos Africanos that focussed on current issues of social and political transformation. Ruth First was killed by the erstwhile apartheid South African regime, via a parcel bomb in 1982.
 
Aquino de Bragança was a trusted confidante of Samora Machel, and undertook numerous delicate diplomatic missions on behalf of the Frelimo government. Nicknamed "the submarine" in party and government circles, he was known for his ability to keep an exceedingly low profile.
 
In our Biography section, in paperback, Rs 350. ISBN: 978938073919

Comments