On 25 April 1974, a revolutionary movement within the Armed Forces of Portugal staged an uprising against the decrepit regime of the Estado Novo, opening the way to democracy and marking the beginning of the end of the wars of Independence in Angola and Mozambique.
To the sound of “Grándola, Vila Morena”, a song composed by José “Zeca” Afonso and banned by the dictatorship installed by Antonio Salazar in the context of the fascist wave that shook Europe in the 1930s, the rebel troops occupied key posts commanded by the “captains of April”, to which most of the army joined.
Immediately, the people took to the streets cheering the end of the Salazarist regime and imitating the gesture of the flower sellers, they placed carnations on the tips of the soldiers’ rifles, a gesture that gave the name to this example of civic-military resistance to the long and violent fascist night, which would go down in history as the “Carnation Revolution”.
The revolution precipitated the end of the Portuguese empire in Africa with the withdrawal of the colonial army. However, independence was still a year away and peace was to come for several more years, due to geopolitical and economic interests in the context of the Cold War between the capitalist West and the socialist bloc.
After the Declaration of Independence, civil wars broke out in both countries, leaving hundreds of thousands dead, millions of refugees and tens of thousands of people mutilated, especially as a result of anti-personnel mines, and in both cases, territories razed to the ground and populations impoverished.
The end of the war in Angola came only in 2002, after the death of UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi. Mozambique would win peace in 1990, fifteen years after independence, after the anti-communist insurgency led by the Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO), an armed rebel group financed by the racist regimes of South Africa and Rhodesia (a country that after its respective independence was renamed Zimbabwe).
Almost fifty years after the Carnation Revolution, the peoples of Africa continue to clamour for wellbeing, progress, peace and self-determination, all of which are intimately linked by the same thread.