Skip to content

The Great Escape that Changed Africa's Future: The Secret Flight of 60 African Students to France

Not Available
SKU 9781603500647

by Charles R. Harper and William J. Nottingham

Paperback version available only from; EPUB and EPDF versions coming soon

This updated edition includes recollections of African heads of government who participated in the Great Escape. (Previously released as Escape from Portugal.)

This is the story of the dramatic clandestine escape, in June of 1961, of sixty African students from Portugal across Spain and into France. Most were Angolan intellectuals, others were from Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, the Cape Verde Islands, and São Tomé-and-Principe. Soon after the first anti-colonial armed rebellions broke out in Angola (March 1961), the student community in Portugal suffered increasing harassment by the Portuguese political police. Passports were confiscated and some arrests of suspected student leaders occurred. Many students, men, and women decided to flee Portugal illegally. It was risky business. False passports from friendly African countries had to be found, contacts for night border crossings into Franco's Spain set up, and then overland transportation to France arranged. Some of the students, graduates of North American and British missionary schools in Africa, appealed to the World Council of Churches in Geneva to help them escape. The challenge was accepted by the French Protestant service agency CIMADE. The successful operation makes for exciting reading.

Watch the trailer for a documentary film based on these events: