Africa's Unknown War:
Apartheid Terror, Cuba and Southern African Liberation

September 27th & 28th, 2013

University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

Commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale

• This is a free event •

Cuba & Africa
"The Cuban people hold a special place in the hearts of the people of Africa. The Cuban internationalists have made a contribution to African independence, freedom and justice unparalleled for its principled and selfless character."

– Nelson Mandela –

Today the African continent has 55-independent countries. While no outside power directly holds sway over African territory (with the exception of Frenchruled Djibouti), the issue of African independence is posed as sharply as ever. 2013 will mark the 25th anniversary of a landmark in the struggle for African independence & self-determination: the decisive defeat in Angola of the racist armed forces of the apartheid South African state by combined Cuban and Angolan troops. This led to the immediate independence of Namibia, accelerating the end of racist rule in South Africa. These events and Cuba's extensive & crucial role in the struggle against apartheid South Africa, however, remain virtually unknown in the West. Also forgotten is the apartheid regime's regional war of terror, which set the context of Cuba's intervention. Africa's Unknown War: Apartheid Terror, Cuba & Southern African Liberation will commemorate the 25th anniversary, while elaborating apartheid's reign of terrorism.


Location: William Doo Auditorium, 45 Willcocks Street, Toronto, Canada.

Friday, September 27, 2013

7 pm -10 pm: Film screening: Sisters and Brothers Keeper: Cuba & Southern African Liberation followed by panel discussion and Q&A (7 pm - 8:45 pm).

9:15 pm -10 pm: Reception

Saturday, September 28, 2013

8:30 am: Light Refreshments

9 am - 10:45 am: Apartheid's War of Terror: Regional Terrorism & Destabilization

10:45 am -11 am: Break

11 am -12:30 pm: Homeland is Humanity: Cuban and Southern African Liberation

12:30 pm - 2 pm: Lunch (Film screening of Cangamba)

2 pm - 3:30 pm: South Africa's Stalingrad: The Battle of Cuito Cuanavale

3:30 pm - 3:45 pm: Break

3:45 pm - 5:15pm: Looking Backwards, Thinking Forwards

Download Symposium Brochure

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Symposium Poster

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Speakers include:

  • Maria Elena Alvarez: Distinguished professor of African History, Institute of International Relation, University of Havana.

  • Piero Gleijeses: Author of the universally acclaimed & groundbreaking Conflicting Missions: Havana, Washington and Africa, 1959-76. He is currently writing Visions of Freedom: Havana, Washington and Pretoria in Southern Africa, 1976-91. Gleijeses is Professor of American Foreign Policy, School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University.

  • Prexy Nesbitt: Internationally recognized scholar, & veteran of the anti-apartheid struggle, Nesbitt is currently working on his memoirs of the southern African liberation struggles, and the extraordinary people he worked with, from Amilcar Cabral to Eduardo Mondlane to Graca Machel to Nelson Mandela.

  • Jorge Risquet: Cuba's chief diplomat in Africa from the 1970s to the 1990s, who played a crucial role in the negotiations that ended South Africa's illegal occupation of Namibia.

  • John Saul: Internationally acclaimed & honoured scholar on southern Africa & veteran anti-apartheid activist. Professor Emeritus at York University (Canada), Saul is currently working on the book The Thirty Year War for the Liberation of Southern Africa, 1960-1990.

  • Isaac Saney: Cuba specialist who teaches at Dalhousie University & Saint Mary's University (Canada); author of the acclaimed, Cuba: A Revolution In Motion, he is currently finishing the book From Soweto to Cuito Cuanavale: Cuba, The War in Angola and the End of Apartheid.

  • Various diplomats and representatives from Angola, Cuba, Namibia and South Africa.

For more information:


• Canadian Network On Cuba • Caribbean Studies Program, University of Toronto • New College, University of Toronto • Canadian Union of Postal Workers • Africa Studies, University of Toronto • James Robinson Johnston Chair of Black Canadian Studies, Dalhousie University • United SteelWorkers • A Different Booklist • Taylor Report/CIUT-FM • Group for Research and Initiative in the Liberation of Africa • Canadian-Cuban Friendship Association Toronto •