Late deafened; also known as Nguema Biyoto Masie. An obscure civil servant in the tiny Spanish African colony of Fernando Po, he was elected its President in 1968 when it became independent as Equatorial Guinea. Once in office, he took on increasingly repressive and bloody dictatorial powers. During his 11-year reign, he murdered about 50,000 (10%) of his countrymen and forced 20,000 (4%) more into slavery at gunpoint; 150,000 (30%) were driven into exile. He was finally overthrown by his own nephew in a military coup, and executed after a trial in which his was convicted of genocide, treason, and embezzlement of public funds. Already slightly hard of hearing before becoming head, he became progressively more deaf while dictator, but his pride and rejection of non-native medicine and technology (such as hearing aids) kept him from acknowledging it. As he became more and more deaf, he is said to have made his speeches louder and louder in order to hear himself, until finally he was virtually screaming to his audiences.
Heads of States and Governments, p.259-260; Time, Aug. 20, 1979, p.28; New York Times, Sept. 30, 1979, p.3; The Journal of Modern African Studies,1985, p.209-237.
1924-29 September 1979