The International Revolution in Algiers Through a Child’s Eyes



As the daughter of Sarah Maldoror and Mário Pinto de Andrade, Annouchka de Andrade had the opportunity to spend time with numerous figures of the international revolution in Algiers during her childhood in the 1960s. In this interview, she reminisces about this time using intimate memories of people and events, rather than perpetuating the mythicized narratives of history books.

LÉOPOLD LAMBERT: You were born in 1962 in Moscow, where your mother, Sarah Maldoror, was studying cinema on a scholarship granted to her by Ahmed Sekou Touré’s Guinea. It is probably a very silly question, but how does it feel to be the same age as independent Algeria?

ANNOUCHKA DE ANDRADE: I’m not sure how to answer this question, but what’s for sure is that I feel very close to Algeria. The time we lived there was very special for our family. I grew up at first in Moscow, then Rabat, in Morocco, and then right after in Algeria. I have a lot of memories of it, and I feel like my heart is quite Algerian.

LL: In 1964, your family moved from Rabat to Algiers, and lived there for six years. Do you have any memories of Algiers in these very particular times?

ADA: My memories are mostly intimate ones, because that was the only moment where the entire family was together and happy. That’s why Algeria is so important for me, because we were there together. After that, we lived in Paris but my father, who was wanted by the PIDE (political Portuguese police) and Interpol, could not come to Paris. He did, of course, change his name and nationality but did not stay too long, until 1974, the year of Angolan independence. That’s why the time we spent together in Algeria was really special and warm, and it’s still so essential and structuring for us.

But of course, in a much larger sense, those were important years, and politically very strong and fundamental because Algeria was one the first African countries to support the liberation movements, MPLA (People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola), PAIGC (African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde) and FRELIMO (Front for Liberation of Mozambique). Sékou Touré was in reality the first one to help in 1959, and Mohamed V
Was well, but Ben Bella really made way for all African revolutionaries in the country. It was not only material help but military as well. Everybody was going to Algiers, which was a very strong place where people would know they’d be safe, and they’d have everything at their disposal to think and build their own revolution. This explains how Algeria had a key role in the movement and, of course, that’s why we love Algeria! We can’t minimize Ben Bella’s help, but also Boumédienne, because he continued helping the revolutionaries after 1965.

De Andrade Funambulist 1
Mário Pinto de Andrade between the two first presidents of the Algerian Republic (Ahmed Ben Bella on his right; Houari Boumédiène on his left) in the winter of 1962 in Morocco. Also present in this photo are Mohamed Boudiaf and Nelson Mandela (hidden on the second row).

I also remember my friends Amílcar Cabral, the Cubans and Che Guevara… they’d come to our place for political meetings or to have a drink. I remember the PAIGC and MPLA offices in particular… It was near the Cinemathèque.

LL: And Eldridge Cleaver… What is it like to be a six-year-old child and to be next to him?