Lucio Lara in Copenhagen, 1970's.
A broad Movement: A history of the MPLA through the documents and writings of Lucio Lara
Original title: "Um amplo movimento: Itinerário do MPLA através de documentos e anotações de Lúcio Lara"
Lúcio Lara (Lucio Rodrigo Leite Barreto de Lara), or Tchiweka (war-pseudonym taken up by Lara as homage to the land of his mother, (Tchiweka being the name of her home-village) was born in Huambo on April 9th 1929. He was the son of a Portuguese father (merchant and civil servant) and Angolan mother.
Having finished secondary studies in Huambo and Lubango, he left for Portugal to pursue studies in Chemistry and Physics at the Faculties for Science at the University of Coimbra and in Lisbon. In 1949, in the former Casa dos Estudantes do Império, he initiated his political activities and took part in the directing body of the “house” in Coimbra. He was part of the Clube Maritime Africano in Lisbon, (with Agostinho Neto, Humberto Machado, Zito Van-Dúnem and other nationalists from the Portuguese colonies) which in the 1950’s played a significant role in the mobilisation of the indigenous peoples of the colonies, and in the circulation of information and documents.
As a founder of the MAC (Movimento Anti-Colonialista/Anti-Colonial Movement), which also included Agostinho Neto, Amilcar Cabral, Mário de Andrade, Noémia de Sousa, Humberto Machado and Eduardo dos Santos among others, he took up a more dedicated political activity. In March 1959 he was forced to leave Portugal to escape prison, finding refuge in Germany. After this, he participated in the Tunis Conference of January 1960 as a representative of the MPLA (Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola/Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola) and the newly created FRAIN (Frente Revolucionária Africana para a Independência Nacional/African Revolutionary front for National Independence).
After a sojourn in Casablanca in 1960, Lara settled in Conakry to establish the first directing Committee of the MPLA outside Angola. It is through this period of turmoil that the documents published in this volume allows us to follow Lara, as he survived economically through working as a manual labourer and a teacher, while also being supported by his wife, who was also working as a teacher. At the same time he gained access to literature that had been prohibited in Portugal. The contacts established here were highly influential to his continued political development. Apart from the above mentioned, this grouping included people like Viriato da Cruz, Cheik Anta Diop, Sembène Ousmane and Franz Fanon, as well as less renowned intellectuals, political or trade union activists of the African colonies or recently liberated countries.
The three volumes cover three different periods (up until February of 1961, 1961-1962, and 1963-1964), and contain correspondence and letters, manuscripts, memorandums, press cuttings and photographs. Most of the materials are in Portuguese, but some examples originally written in other languages are translated to Portuguese in these volumes.