Fidel Castro, the Cuban revolutionary leader who died on Friday November 25 at the age of 90, is arguably one of the most beloved world leaders in Africa.
This is mainly due to Cuba's contribution during anti-colonial and anti-apartheid struggles in African countries such as South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau. In addition, Cuba trained many African doctors and sent its own doctors into African countries. The most recent example of Cuban doctors helping out in Africa was during the Ebola crisis when the country sent about 300 doctors.
Immediately after the official announcement of his death, African leaders and ordinary citizens took to Twitter to pay tribute to the communist icon.
Nigeria's president Muhammadu Buhari wrote:
Fidel Castro was a great friend to Africa, to countries in the Global South and to the Non-Aligned Movement. His place in history is assured
— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) November 26, 2016
Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta noted:
Castro also demonstrated to the world that sovereign equality is a paramount idea that must prevail at all times.
— Uhuru Kenyatta (@UKenyatta) November 26, 2016
Tanzanian professor of law Issa Shivji tweeted, referring to Castro's own pledge that “history will absolve me“:
History has abundantly absolved him. A small nation withstood the might of the most vicious military power on earth. pic.twitter.com/Asg7LWIYvE
— Issa Shivji (@IssaShivji) November 26, 2016
Prince Maphosa took note of the fact that he died on a Black Friday, which marks the beginning of Christmas shopping season.
2016 could not get
any more ironic, Fidel Castro died on Black
Friday, the most capitalist day there is.#MHSRIP
— Prince.M. Maphosa (@Mfumbesi83) November 26, 2016
Luka was surprised that he was still alive:
Imwe Fidel Castro was alive this whole time? eh.
— Luka (@LukaMwango) November 26, 2016
Siame shared a popular lament:
Haha everyone's going to be a Castro expert now… and the shear number of quotes we'll have to endure https://t.co/trW893xCOM
— Siame (@mr_siame) November 26, 2016
In a tweet that seems to be making reference to the surprise election of Donald Trump as the next US president, Ory Okolloh Mwangi, the co-founder of Ushahidi, remarked:
Castro waited until it was clear that the Empire has imploded.
— Ory Okolloh Mwangi (@kenyanpundit) November 26, 2016
Mohamed Harith in Kenya explained what Castro taught him:
Fidel Castro defined anti-imperialism to me. He taught me, taking a stand has its price but dignity is by far priceless. RIP Savior
— Mohamed Harith (@almafazy) November 26, 2016
Betty Waitherero, a Kenyan researcher, offered the following advice to Africans:
While googling who Fidel Castro is find out how Cuba supported Africa's fight against colonialism.
It matters. It matters how you got HERE.
— Betty Waitherero?? (@bettywaitherero) November 26, 2016
Dr. Majak D'Agoot, South Sudan's former deputy defense minister, tweeted:
Fidel Castro Ruz:
Your imprints are visible in me and in most of the SPLA top Cdrs that you trained. I bid you farewell, mi Commandante!
— Dr. Majak D'Agoot (@Aquaengnoq) November 26, 2016
Adam Habib, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa:
An end of an era – Castro has died. He fought imperialism for 50 yrs, survived many assassination attempts, and died peacefully in his bed.
— Adam Habib (@AdHabb) November 26, 2016
Paul Kagame, the president of Rwanda, wrote:
RIP Fidel Castro, tenacious fighter who lived a full liberation life & condolences to the resilient people of Cuba
— Paul Kagame (@PaulKagame) November 26, 2016
A South Africa tweep observed:
— Amandla! (@AmandlaMobi) November 26, 2016
Ghanaian rapper Ko-Jo Cue sent the following message to Castro:
R.I.P Fidel Castro … Tell Che we love him … Tell Gaddafi we are sorry … Tell Nkrumah to forgive us … Tell Sankara he was right??
— Ko-Jo Cue (@KOJO_Cue) November 26, 2016
Acknowledging Castro's faults, Nii Sarpei Hornsby, a Ghanaian lecturer, said:
He had his many faults but don't let them tell you Fidel Castro was a bloodthirsty know-nothing dictator.
Don't be lied to.
— Nii Sarpei Hornsby (@nii_sarpei) November 26, 2016
Miss Hamalwa wrote:
— Fidel Castro (@NyanzaJnr) November 26, 2016
However, not all Africans who took to Twitter showered Castro with praises. For example, Yasmin Yonis wrote:
My grandfather was ripped out of his home by Castro-backed Ethiopian troops & slaughtered in front of my family. Please have some nuance.
— Yasmin Yonis (@YasminYonis) November 26, 2016
Yonis is from Somalia, a country where Cuba sent troops to help to fight alongside the Ethiopian army during the Ethio-Somali War over the disputed Ethiopian region of Ogaden from July 1977 to March 1978.
Oluwasenyi Karimu drew a comparison between Castro and the 92-year old Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe:
— oluwaseyi karimu (@seyik) November 27, 2016
While Peter Kamalingin called the death of Castro the “end of an error”:
— Peter Kamalingin B.L (@kampetero) November 26, 2016