Heroes’ Day is a holiday observed every 20 January in Guinea-Bissau. The date was chosen because it was on this date in 1973 that independence leader Amilcar Cabral was assassinated.
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As Cabral led the independence movements in both Guinea-Bissau and the offshore island nation of Cape Verde, Heroes’ Day is celebrated on the same date and for the same reasons in Cape Verde as well.
Cabral was born in Cape Verde but later moved to Portugal, which controlled both Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau at the time, to continue his education. While in Portugal, he founded student movements that opposed the dictatorial government in Portugal itself as well as colonial domination by Portugal of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde.
Amilcar Cabral later returned to Africa and led the independence struggle in Guinea-Bissau. Guerrilla warfare raged for a decade, from 1963 to 1973. Although assassinated on 20 January 1973, Cabral’s efforts still paid off in complete success. Cabral and the other heroes who fought for the freedom of Guinea-Bissau are honoured every year with special ceremonies and events on Heroes’ Day.