19 October is the 20th anniversary of the death of Samora Machel, independence leader and the founding president of the republic of Mozambique.
To mark the occasion on 5 October a library was opened in the village of Mbuzini, just inside the South African border, where Machel was killed along with 33 others on 19 October 1986 when their plane crashed in mysterious circumstances while flying to Maputo from Lusaka, Zambia. The facility is part of a multi-million rand memorial funded by the South African government, which will be formally inaugurated on 19 October.
Machel was a leader of the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO), which toppled the Portuguese colonial government in 1974. He became president of the independent country the following year and supported the freedom movements in neighbouring Zimbabwe and South Africa. Ruling FRELIMO came under strong opposition from RENAMO, a rebel group backed by the neighbouring regimes, and the country descended into a civil conflict that lasted 16 years.
Many believe the apartheid government of South Africa was implicated in the air crash that killed Machel, although the evidence is inconclusive. In February 2006 the government of Pretoria, which was responsible for heading up the original investigations, said it would reopen the inquiry.