Today marks the centennial anniversary of the birth of Brazilian philosopher Paulo Freire. Most widely known for his magisterial Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Freire’s work continues to be a lodestar for teachers working in poverty-stricken communities across the globe, and for just about anyone who’s searching for a sense of justice in an unjust world. Every critically-minded educator has at some point used Freire in their teaching ––either to gain some insight into the upside-down world of the oppressed, or as the inspiration that led them to view teaching as a way to overturn society’s asymmetries of power and privilege. Freire’s literacy programmes for empowering peasants are now used in countries all over the globe, and Pedagogy of the Oppressed is currently the third most cited work in the social sciences, and first in the field of education.
Amílcar L Cabral was born 12 September 1924 in Bafatá, Guinea-Bissau, one of Portugal’s African colonies. He was murdered on 20 January 1973 by fascist Portuguese assassins just months before the national liberation movement, in which he played a central role, won the independence of Guinea-Bissau. Cabral and the other leaders of the movement understood that they were fighting in a larger anticolonial struggle and global class war and, as such, that their immediate enemies were not only the colonial governments of particular countries, but Portuguese colonialism in general. For 500 years, Portuguese colonialism was built upon the slave trade and the systematic pillaging of its African colonies: Mozambique, Guinea Bissau, São Tomé e Príncipe, Angola and Cape Verde.