Jonas Malheiro Savimbi (August 3, 1934–February 22, 2002) was a rebel leader in Angola who founded the UNITA movement in 1966, and ultimately proved a central figure in 20th century Cold War politics. With support from the Republican government in the United States, the apartheid government in South Africa, and African leaders such as Félix Houphouët-Boigny of Côte d'Ivoire and Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire, Savimbi spent much of his life battling Angola's Marxist, Soviet-aligned government, which was supported by weapons and military advisors from the Soviet Union and Cuba. Savimbi remains an extremely important figure in Angolan history, viewed by some as a "freedom fighter" and by others as a war-monger who perpetuated a lengthy Cold War conflict.


After surviving more than a dozen assassination attempts, Savimbi was killed in February 2002, in a battle with Angolan government troops along riverbanks in the province of Moxico, his birthplace.