In the 1940s, Agostinho Neto became a prominent figure, as he was an important member of a movement that aimed to rediscover the traditional culture of Angola. Because of his political involvement in anti-colonial movements, he was arrested while studying medicine at the University of Lisbon in 1951 by the Salazar regime. After his release in 1958 he was able to complete his studies in 1959 and returned back to Angola.
Agostinho Neto was one of the first members of the MPLA, the "People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola ", and quickly became its chairman. On 8 June 1960 he was arrested again, which led to protests among his patients, but were bloodily suppressed by the police. First, he was banished to the Cape Verde Islands and then detained in Lisbon. Due to international protests, among other things, founded at that time, Amnesty International, he was released from prison but put under house arrest. From this he was able to Morocco and then flee Zaire.
When Portugal indicated his intention after the Carnation Revolution in 1974, to withdraw from its colonies, he returned to Angola and took over the political leadership of the armed struggle of the MPLA against two rival movements, FNLA and UNITA. Even before the MPLA - not least by the military intervention in Cuba - had decided this fight for himself, he declared on November 11, 1975 Angola's independence and became the first President of the country.
Within the MPLA Agostinho Neto was always a highly polarizing figure. His often rigid and authoritarian attitude led to the resignation of several important founding members, as Viriato da Cruz and Mário Pinto de Andrade. In 1974 the MPLA split into three wings because of him ( " Ala Presidencialista ", " Revolta Activa ", " Revolta do Leste " ), which were joined together with difficulty and at considerable sacrifice again. As he sat in 1977 to the first congress of the MPLA that this indeed declared Marxism- Leninism as its official doctrine, thereby however, the model of socialism -oriented, not to that of communism, however, there was an attempted ( by Nito Alves cited ) uprising, the Agostinho Neto sat down bloodily. In his role as president and chairman of the MPLA after his death he was in Moscow, where he stayed for medical treatment, replaced by José Eduardo dos Santos.
Neto's body was preserved by specialists from the Lenin Mausoleum and buried in a mausoleum.
Agostinho Neto was also the first president of the Angolan Writers Association " União de Escritores Angolanos ( UEA )", which was founded in 1975.
March 21, 2010 Agosthino was posthumously awarded the highest order of the Republic of Namibia as part of the 20 -year-old Namibian independence day. His wife Eugenia Neto took the Welwitschia Mirabilis - Medal 1st Class.