Angola Day of the National Hero: September 17
Angola celebrates Day of the National Hero as a public holiday.
In Angola, National Heroes Day is September 17 and it is the birthday of the national hero Agostinho Neto.
History of Angola Day of the National Hero
Agostinho Neto was born in September 17, 1922 in the village of Icolo in Bengo province, Angola. Neto completed high school and then worked for the Portuguese Colonial Health Service until 1947. He traveled to Portugal to study medicine when he was provided with funds by his home village.
While studying in Portugal, Neto made friends with other students from Africa and formed an Africa cultural society. Years later members of this group became leaders of anti-colonial movements in Africa.
Agostinho published his first volume of poetry in 1948 and this was followed by authorities arresting him for the first time. A series of arrests followed which interrupted his studies. In 1956, he joined the Movimento Popular da Libertação de Angola (MPLA, Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola). He was allowed to complete his studies in 1958. The he returned to Angola with his new wife, Maria Eugénia da Silva. In Angola he set up a medical practice in gynecology.
Agostinho Neto was arrested again in June 6, 1960 because of his campaigns against the Portuguese colonial administration of Angola. Patients, friends, and supporters where fired upon by the police when they to show their support, 30 were killed and 200 more were injured. Portuguese authorities held him in exile first in Cape Verde and finally in Lisbon, there he wrote a second volume of poetry.
The Portuguese authorities released Neto into house arrest in Lisbon following sustained international pressure. Neto later escaped and went to Morocco and then Zaïre – joining the Angolan Liberation movement in exile. He late became president of the MPLA in 1962.
In 1974, Portugal underwent the Revolução dos Cravos (Carnation Revolution). Marcelo Caetano was removed as leader by a military coup d’état and led a year later to a democratic election. Portugal’s African colonies saw its silver lining. On 11 November 1975, the MPLA declared independence in Angola. In November 11, Agostinho Neto was proclaimed president.
Agostinho Neto died in 10 September 1979 in Moscow Russia, where he had traveled to receive treatment.
Angola Day of the National Hero Traditions, Customs and Activities
A daylong program of activities is prepared for the celebration of which includes activities like singing of the National Anthem and patriotic Pledges. These are followed by dancing, singing, music and parades.