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African Heroes (Black Stars) by Jim Haskins

By Jim Haskins

Meet the best heroes of africa--from old to trendy times"The books within the Black Stars sequence are the categories of books that will have particularly captivated me as a kid."--Earl G. Graves, Black company magazineKofi AnnanAskia the GreatBambaataBehanzin Hossu BowelleStephen BikoCetewayoConstance Cummings-JohnImhotepKenneth KaundaJomo KenyattaKhamaSir Seretse KhamaPatrice LumumbaAlbert John LuthuliNelson MandelaMenelik IIMosheshMansa MusaKwame NkrumahJulius NyerereNzinghaPiankhyRabahHaile SelassieAlbertina SisuluOsei TutuYoussef I

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The Zulu were feared and hated for good reason all over South Africa. As a youngster, Cetewayo underwent training as a Zulu warrior. Six-foot-four in height and powerfully built, he dreamed of becoming king of the Zulus. As he grew older, however, he realized that his father, Umpanda, favored his younger brother and planned to choose him as his successor. In 1856, when Cetewayo was only 20 years old, he defeated and killed his younger brother in a battle. Umpanda lived for another sixteen years, but after he died in 1872, Cetewayo became king.

The Portuguese, thinking that Angola was in a weakened condition because of the change in leadership, sent an army against her. In response, Queen Nzingha made alliances with neighboring chieftains and with the Dutch, who also had forts and trading facilities in the area. With their aid, she managed to hold her own. The fighting went on for a number of years, but eventually the Portuguese claimed victory. They offered to allow Nzingha to remain on the Angolan throne if she would pay an annual tribute, but she would have none of that.

Then France turned to its best fighter in Africa, the half-French, half-Senegalese Colonel A. A. Dodds. Dodds sent Behanzin a letter demanding that he submit to the terms France wanted. Behanzin replied that France was the only European nation that he would not deal with. The war resumed. Strong and courageous as they were, Behanzin’s troops proved no match for the French artillery and Colonel Dodds’s Senegalese sharpshooters. In addition, King Toffa of Porto-Novo was fighting on the side of the French.

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