Neto, Agostinho(əgo͞oshtēn`yo͞o nā`to͞o), 1927–79, first president of independent Angola. A Portuguese-educated physician and poet, he founded the Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA) in 1956, directing the war of liberation against Portugal from exile with East bloc support. In the civil war after Portugal's withdrawal, the MPLA controlled the capital (with Cuban help), enabling Neto to become president of Angola in 1975. Although aided by the USSR and Cuba, he also made overtures to the West. He died in Moscow in the midst of civil war in his own country.
Born Sept. 17, 1922, in Icolo-e-Bengo, Luanda District, Angola. Major figure of the liberation movement of Angola; poet.
Neto was the son of a Protestant clergyman from the Kimbundu tribe. In 1958 he graduated from the faculty of medicine of the university in Coimbra, Portugal, after which he took part in the Angolan people’s liberation struggle against the Portuguese colonizers. In 1962 he became president of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), a party that was founded in 1956. In November 1975 he became president of the People’s Republic of Angola. Neto began writing poetry in 1947. He is the author of the collections Poems (1961, in Portuguese) and Dry Eyes (in Italian, 1963; in Portuguese, 1969). He has received the Lotus Prize from the Permanent Bureau of Afro-Asian Writers (1970).
WORKSIn Russian translation:
In Stikhi poetov Afriki. Moscow, 1958.
In Vzgliadom serdtsa. Moscow, 1961.
In Zdes’ i trava roditsia krasnoi. Moscow, 1967.
S sukhimi glazami. Moscow, 1970.
REFERENCESNekrasova, L. V. “Poeziia Angoly i Mozambika.” In the collection Literatura stran Afriki. Moscow, 1964.
Riauzova, E. A. Portugaloiazychnye literatury Afriki. Moscow, 1972. [17–1561–2; updated]