Aquino de Bragança was an important intellectual and political figure in the years leading up to and immediately following Mozambican independence. As a journalist, an academic and a public intellectual he engaged passionately with the issues of his time, and as a confidante of President Samora Machel and a frequent envoy of the Mozambican government, he translated his convictions into action, eventually losing his life alongside Samora in the service of the liberation of southern Africa.
Aquino de Bragança was a trusted confidante of Samora Machel, and undertook numerous delicate diplomatic missions on behalf of the Frelimo government. Allegedly he was nicknamed “the submarine” in party and government circles because of his ability to keep an exceedingly low profile. He was killed on board the Tupolev Tu-134 with Samora Machel when it crashed at Mbuzini on 19 October 1986, in circumstances that have yet to be fully clarified.
His best-known publication for English-speaking readers is probably The African Liberation Reader (London: Zed Press, 1982; 3 volumes), edited with Immanuel Wallerstein and originally published in Lisbon in Portuguese under the more interesting title Quem é o inimigo?. In 2009 his widow, the artist Sílvia Bragança published Aquino de Bragança: batalhas ganhas, sonhos a continuar [Maputo: Ndjira, 2009; 482 pages] in his memory. The book consists of memoirs, interviews, photographs and facsimiles about Aquino’s rich and complex life.