Top 5 African presidents who have never been to school

To become a great president, logic would like us to study and even high to better manage the affairs of the Nation. Yet Africa has known men who have become President of the Republic of their country without having studied even grade one.


To become a great president, logic would like us to study and even high to better manage the affairs of the Nation. Yet Africa has known men who have become President of the Republic of their country without having studied even grade one.
They have marked the history of their country and even of Africa each in its own way. So who are these African leaders who became President of the Republic of their country?

South Africa, Jacob Zuma

In Office: 9 May 2009 – 14 February 2018

president_jacob_zumaHe is the leader of the continent’s greatest powerful. His country is part of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), that is to say the five most powerful emerging nations in the world. It is also the only African country that is part of this restricted circle. He is Jacob Zuma, the Ex-president of the South African state elected democratically in 2009 and resigned in 2018. Yet a surprising fact, this great African president, unlike his many peers, has never done any studies or the least.

Already as a child, Jacob Zuma loses his father. His mother housewife in apartheid-era whites does not have enough means to provide him with studies. The young Zuma will embark on active life by performing odd jobs; but strong and courageous, Jacob Zuma quickly joined the ranks of the African National Congress, African National Congress in English (ANC), which fights racial segregation in South Africa.

He is in fact sentenced to 10 years in prison and is serving his sentence alongside Nelson Mandela in Robben Island Penitentiary. Nelson Mandela will teach Jacob Zuma to read and write. On his release from prison, he continued to campaign in the ANC, Nelson Mandela’s party, and quickly climbed the steps of this political formation and became vice-president of the party, then he was vice-president of South Africa. He resigned from the vice-presidency of the country, and presented himself as a candidate for the 2009 presidential election that he won.

Uganda, Idi Amin Dada

In Office: 25 January 1971 – 11 April 1979

Idi Amin Dada was born around 1923 in Ouaganda. At an early age, he lost both his parents and grew up alongside his maternal uncles where he exercised small trades like crafts, but also watched cattle. Idi Amin Dada never had a chance to go to school but very strong, very courageous. It is these assets that allow him to integrate the British colonial army.

Because of his bravery, his efficiency on the ground, his rigour and his discipline, he is greatly appreciated by his superiors. This will allow him to quickly ascend into the ranks of the Ugandan colonial army. When Uganda became independent in 1962, he was promoted to general of the national Army. Amin Dada accentuates His power by massively integrating men of his ethnicity into the national army.
On January 25, 1971, he reached power by a coup d’état. and becomes the President of the Life Republic of Uganda.


Chad, Late Noël Milarew Odingar

kisspng-flag-of-chad-world-map-indonesia-map-5ac8f2376d3b34.3906454415231186474474In Office: 1975 – 1978
He also never went to school, born in 1932 in Dowalé-Béboto in the region of the Oriental logone, he joined the colonial army very early. Courageous, disciplined and efficient, he quickly climbed the ranks of the army. He became chief of staff of the Chadian army and then became President of the Republic of Chad.


Togo, Late Eyadema Gnassingbe

In Office: April 14, 1967 – February 5, 2005

The third President of the Republic of Togo, father of the current head of state Faure Gnassingbe, has never been to school. His father died when he was only a child. He is abandoned at a young age by his mother who goes to another marriage. This one will not take him away because the custom does not want a new wife who comes to the home with the son of another man.

From then on the Calvary begins for the young Étienne Gnassingbe. Having enough to eat is a real headache for him. Reclaimed by Protestant missionaries who want to school him, Étienne Eyandema Gnassingbe will flee the school to learn small crafts such as handicrafts. A few years later, he was enlisted in 1953 in the French colonial army in Dahomey, now Benin, under the name Étienne Eyadema.

An anecdote tells that instead of signing, he put his fingerprint because he could not read or write. He returned to Dahomey after the wars where he served for ten years in Indochina, Algeria and Niger as a cook before being sent with other companions to Togo in 1962.

While he is only a sergeant-in-chief, he accedes to power in favour of a military attack and will reign over Togo with an iron fist for 38 years until 2005, when he dies from sickness.

Liberia, Samuel Kanyon Doe

In Office: 12 April 1980 – 6 January 1986

He has never been to school. President Samuel Kanyon Doe, who is an early orphan of father and mother, engages in the Liberian army at the age of eighteen. In 1979, he was a chief sergeant, his hatred of the Liberian-Americans made him even more influential in the great mute.

In 1980, Samuel K. Doe joined a group of ethnic soldiers called Krahn and reversing President William Tolbert. The latter is publicly executed with all his government. Samuel Doe took over the power and became general of Corps and President of the Republic.

He was famous during his reign by brutality, assassinations and favouritism. Several members of his ethnic group are integrated into the army and other positions of influence. The marginalization of other ethnic groups will trigger a rebellion led by Charles Taylor that will lead to his public execution in Monrovia in 1990.


Translated and Edited by

Francois Mutombo

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