The death of Samora Machel

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Machel was a gifted public speaker. Picture BBC news website, date unknown

Death of a Revolutionary commemorates Samora Machel's life and examines the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death and acknowledges the contribution that he made to Mozambique and her Independence. Machel was a revolutionary leader of the Mozambican liberation movement FRELIMO and Independent Mozambique's First President, he was killed in a plane crash in October 1986

The revolutionary of Mocambique leader liberation movement FRELIMO and first Mozambican President Samora Moises Machel, was killed in plane crash on 19 October 1986. The death of the President sent shockwaves throughout the world. Also killed in the crash were thirty three members of his party and the crew of the Russian built Tupolev TU 134A.

The plane was returning from a Summit of African leaders held in Zambia. It went down in the Lebombo mountains near Mbuzini in Neslpruit eastern Transvaal (now Mpumalanga). The crash site was an area where the South African border connected with Swaziland and Mozambique. The fact that it chrashed over South African territory raised some questions about the possibilities of the involvement of the apartheid government. Of thirty-four people on board only nine survived the crash.

After the crash a Commission, made of representatives from South Africa, Mozambique and Soviet Union, was instituted to establish the cause of the crash. Many possible reasons, ranging from the mechanical fault to bad weather conditions, were put forward as the cause of the crash. However the investigations failed to pin-point the precise cause of the crash. The new democratic South African government have called for a new inquiry to determine the real cause of the crash and death of the President Machel and his party.


References:
• afrol News, South Africa to review Samora Machel death [online] Avaliable at: www.afrol.com/ [Accessed 28 September 2009]
• Answers Corporation (2009), Samora Machel biography [online] Available at: www.answers.com/ [Accessed 28 September 2009]
• Wikipedia, Samora Machel biography [online] Avaliable at: en.wikipedia.org/ [Accessed 28 September 2009]

Last updated : 25-Jul-2012

This article was produced for South African History Online on 03-Apr-2011