Abe’s Still Looking for Manuello


MPLA The Road to Liberation

Abe’s Still Looking for Manuello

There was no high school in Que Que in the 1930’s.  Abe went to Prince Edward School for Boys in Salisbury.  One of  Abe Menashe’s  class mates was Frederico Alberto Monteiro da Silva from Portugese East Africa (PEA).  They remained friends for life.

With the success of Swiss blades in Rhodesia,  Abe decided to start a factory in PEA.  Salazar had fallen ill.  Portugal’s  Estado Novo regime was in trouble. Alberto introduced Abe to FRELIMO and got him a permit to start a factory there provided  they chucked out Gillette, Wilkinson and Schick.

Abe’s Still Looking for Manuello 

Abe and Phil needed a Portuguese partner to run the business locally.  Francis Spence was the Wilkinson man.  He had to give up Wilkinson because he couldn’t  sell it anymore.  He became a fifty per cent partner with Phil and Abe, selling under the brand name Lord.

“Let’s do Angola, they also have a Portuguese problem.”

Abe went back to Bornem in Brussels.  They also had a problem. They couldn’t sell their product.

He said, “It’s a bloody big thing around your neck, man.  I’ll buy the factory.”

They were only too pleased to get rid of it.  The machinery cost only about ten to fifteen thousand dollars.  Abe took all the blades off the floor branded Personna which he sent to South Africa, all at one cent a piece.  He took the lot.

Then he went to the Angolan government asking for a partner to manufacture with him.  They said, “Yes please come.  We’ll find you a man.”  But Manuello Bastos d’Amaida found Abe.  He was a hardware merchant who used to supply the oil drilling people in Cabinda, the Angolan oil enclave.  Abe sent Manuello about two or three thousand rands worth of blades at two cents instead of one cent,  almost at cost, not a high price, so he could start the business with his label Solam.

But Manuello had trouble with MPLA (the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola).  He had to run.  Before he did, Abe saw a whole lot of coffee beans in the factory.  He should have bought the coffee beans and exported them.  Instead, Manuello sold all Abe’s razor blades and ran off to Venezuela.  Abe is still looking for him.


  • Sherilyn Coney

    Reply Reply June 3, 2012

    Diana, I am so sorry I missed you the other day. We were in Oxford but did not receive your phone call till we left – the mobile was inadvertently left in the car when we walked in to town!!!! I do hope you didn’t hang round waiting for me, though do believe I walked past the meeting spot at just about the right time. I am staying with my friend in Guildford -bev@highlands.com– but go back to NZ next Sunday. I will be in London for the last three days of the week if just by chance you might be there. I sent your card home in a big package of paper that I didn’t want to carry home but will be in touch when I get there.

    Best wishes and sorry to miss you


    • Diana

      Reply Reply June 7, 2012

      Sherilyn, Sorry we missed each other. I was in London for the Queen’s Jubilee Boat Parade on the Thames, which I watched from the Vauxhall Bridge before the rain came down…in buckets. I hope you were there in amongst the thousands. I am back in Oregon now. Do get in touch when your travels are over. Lovely meeting you.

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