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Biography Of António Agostinho Neto First President Of Angola

Dr António Agostinho Neto, who was educated at the University of Lisbon, became the first president of Angola in 1975, a position he held until 1979. Between 1975 and 1976, he was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize.

The 17thof September is, for Angolans in particular, a date of special significance, because it marks an equally special event, namely the birth of António Agostinho Neto on 17/09/1922.  It is known as “o Dia do Herói Nacional” (National Heroe’s Day).

The commemoration of the anniversary of the birth of António Agostinho Neto, was instituted in 1980, in memory of the first President of Angola, who on 11 November 1975 proclaimed National Independence, after many years of Portuguese colonization.

It is a tribute to the person who is considered to be the “immortal beacon of the Angolan revolution”, in recognition of his great intellectual capacity, of his position as a statesmen, liberation fighter, politician, man of culture, and his contribution to the liberation struggle of not only the Angolan people but of other peoples, too.

Agostinho Neto took up the fight early on against negative manifestations of tribalism, regionalism, racism and other preconceptions which ran contrary to Angolan national unity and reconciliation.

After completing his secondary school in Luanda, Neto worked in the health service.  He would very soon become a prominent figure of the nationalist cultural movement, which expanded rapidly in the 1940s.

Because of his involvement in political activities, he was imprisoned for the first time in 1951 as he collected signatures for a petition to be submitted to the World Peace Conference in Stockholm.

On 11 November 1975, after 14 years of struggle against colonialism and imperialism, he proclaimed national independence, for which so many honourable sons and daughters of Angola gave their lives.  At that time, was President of the People’s Republic of Angola, today known as the Republic of Angola.

Agostinho Neto died on 10 September 1979 in Moscow, in the former USSR, after succumbing to illness.  He was part of the generation of African students who played a decisive role in securing the independence of their countries, in what became known as the Portuguese Colonial War or the Overseas War.  Neto was imprisoned by the PIDE and deported to Tarrafal, was given permanent residence in Portugal, from where he fled into exile. There, he became the leader of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), of which he had been honorary president since 1962.