Gamal Abdel Nasser was one of Africa’s fathers whose love and support for African countries made him one of the liberation icons in the Continent and the world. Nasser was born on January 15, 1918, at Qanawat Street in Bacchus, Alexandria. Nasser joined the Nursery School of Muharram Bek in Alexandria then moved to Khatatba where he attended an elementary school (1923-1924). In 1925, he moved to Cairo and settled with his uncle Khalil Hussein for three years. There, he attended El-Nahassin Elementary School in Gamalia. In 1937, he joined the Military Academy, where he spent 17 months before graduation in July 1938. Following graduation, Nasser joined the infantry and moved to Minkabad in Upper Egypt, where he met his fellow revolutionists: Anwar Sadat and Zakariya Mohi Eddin. In 1939, he served in Khartoum, Sudan and there he met with his long-time friend Abdel Hakim Amer. In 1945 at the end of World War II, Nasser started the formation of the Free Officers Movement that would later topple the monarchy, declare the republic and help end the British occupation of Egypt. Gamal Abdel Nasser was among the Egyptian army that fought the 1948 Palestine War. There, the battalion he was leading became under siege in what was commonly known as the Faluga Siege, the incident that took its grave toll on Nasser and inspired him to rid of the corrupt monarchical regime in Egypt.
On July 23, 1952 the army moved and took over the High Commandment headquarter in Kubri Al-Kuba, putting senior officers under arrest. After the ouster of King Farouk on the 26th of July 1952, who was forced into exile, the Revolution Command Council abolished the monarchy and declared Egypt a republic, with General Mohamed Naguib as the first president in 1953. Following a poll held on June 24, 1956 Gamal Abdel Nasser was elected a president of the republic. On February 22, 1958, Nasser became president of the United Arab Republic, after the union between Egypt and Syria, until their separation three years later.
During his rule that lasted for 14 years, Nasser introduced many social and economic changes that had a big influence on Egypt, including the famed Nationalization of the Suez Canal, the establishment of heavy industries’ factories, and the erection of the High Dam, among others.
In Africa, Egypt under Nasser played an important role in the founding of the Organization of African Unity (now the African Union). He also supported liberation movements spanning from Algeria to the Congo, no wonder his name is engraved in the hearts of Africans so far and many streets and squares are named after him in Africa.
Nasser also co-founded the Non-Aligned Movement in 1961 in Belgrade, former Yugoslavia along with Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the Yugoslav President Josip Tito. He also orchestrated the establishment of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in 1969. On September 28, 1970 Gamal Abdel Nasser passed away. His funeral in which millions of Egyptians took part is regarded as one of the largest ever in history.