ANGOLAN Facts & Figures

Size: 481,354 square miles

Population: 18,498,000

Capital: Luanda

Currency: Kwanza

Weather / Climate:

Situated on the Atlantic littoral in a balmy subtropical setting, Angolaweather is heavily influenced by three local peculiarities; the cool Benguela sea current, the rugged interior mountains and the presence of the Namib Desert in the southeast. As a result, the country boasts a number of distinct climatic regions, including a wet, tropical northern jungle, a dryer and cooler central plateau, and an arid southern belt influenced by its proximity to the Kalahari Desert.

Although different regions vary significantly, the best time to visit Angola is during the cooler dryer months of June to September.

Taken from wikipedia

ANGOLAN languages

Using the data from the 1983 census of Angola, Portuguese is both the official and predominant language, as it is spoken in the homes of about two-thirds of the population and as a second language by many more throughout the country. Of the 60% Portuguese native speakers, half could speak only Portuguese, while the other half spoke a Bantu language as a second tongue.[1] However, this source cannot be considered as reliable. In fact, the proportion of people who speak Portuguese as their sole language is considerably lower; according to current (2010) estimates, it is about one third.

More than 50% of the Angolans speak Bantu languages as their first languages, and a tiny minority Khoisan languages, while some 15% speakt them as second language, although younger urban generations are moving towards the exclusive use of Portuguese. The most spoken Bantu languages are(by order of importance) Umbundu, Kimbundu, and Kikongo (all of these have many Portuguese-derived words). The Angolan Bakongo who have lived for long in the Democratic Republic of the Congo usually speak better French and Lingala, than Portuguese and Kikongo. The few Cubans who have remained in Angola as a consequence of the Cuban military involvement (or the development cooperation in education and health)speak Spanish, but their descendants (almost all of them from mixed marriages) have not held on to it. Africans from Mali, Nigeria, and Senegal speak English, French, and their native African languages, aside from Portuguese. A select number of Angolans of Lebanese descent speak Arabic and/or French. The foreign language mostly learned by Angolans is English[citation needed].

Angolais quite anomalous in Africa as a country where the colonial language has become a vernacular language and even largely displaced the indigenous languages. One reason for this might be that the colonisation of Angola started as early as in the late 15th century and ended in the 1970s, while most of Africa came under European rule during the 19th century and obtained independence in the 1950s and 1960s.

Taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_Angola

ANGOLAN culture

Identification

The word "Angola" derives from the title used by the rulers of the Ndongo state. The title ngola was first mentioned in Portuguese writings in the sixteenth century. A Portuguese colony founded on the coast in 1575 also came to be known as Angola. At the end of the nineteenth century, the name was given to a much larger territory that was envisaged to come under Portuguese influence. These plans materialized slowly; not until the beginning of the twentieth century did Portuguese colonialism reach the borders of present-day Angola. In 1975, this area became an independent country under the name República Popular de Angola (People's Republic of Angola). Later the "Popular" was dropped.

Angolamay not classify as either a country or a culture. Since 1961, war has destroyed cultural institutions, forced people to flee, and divided the territory between the belligerent. Thus one cannot speak of a single national culture. It is difficult to obtain reliable information because the war precludes research in many areas.

History and Ethnic Relations

Emergence of the Nation.Present-day Angola is a construct designed by European politicians at the Conference of Berlin in 1885. Before that time, the area was inhabited by people with different political traditions, ranging from decentralized mobile groups to autocratic kingdoms. The Kongo, Ndongo, and Ovimbundu kingdoms had early contact with the Portuguese, who in the sixteenth century created colonies on the coast. Wars fought against the immigrant Portuguese, such as that waged by Queen Njinga of the Ndongo kingdom, often have been interpreted in a nationalistic framework. For centuries the communities in this area were affected by the Atlantic slave trade. Portuguese, mestiço, (person of mixed descent) and African merchants and middle men sold millions of slaves who were transported to the Americas on Dutch and Portuguese vessels. Although the slave trade was stopped in the 1880s, internal slavery continued into the twentieth century. After the Conference of Berlin, Portuguese colonialism took on a very different character. Through a slow and halting process that met with much local resistance, the Portuguese attempted to expand their control over the interior of the country and enforce a colonial system with taxation and forced labor. After the installation of autocratic rule in Portugal, repression in the colonies became even worse than in the past. The legacy of the colonial divide-and-rule tactics is still felt.

The war for liberation started in 1961 with rebellions in Luanda and the northern region. The anticolonial war ended after Portuguese soldiers, tired of war in the colonial territories, staged a coup in Portugal in 1974. On 11 November 1975, Angola became an independent country. Before that date, fighting had broken out between the three major nationalist parties: the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA), MPLA, and UNITA. After independence, UNITA received support from South African troops and was later backed by the United States, while the MPLA came to depend largely on Russian and Cuban aid. This division runs through the country's recent history. With Angola's involvement in the war in the Congo and with that war spilling into Namibia and Zambia, the war has taken on international dimensions.

National Identity.There is no single national identity. The country is divided along many lines: Ethnic, religious, regional, racial, and other factors interact in the conflict. However, the notion of being Angolan is strong. The Portuguese language sets Angola apart from its neighboring countries and has created long-standing ties not only with Portugal but also with Brazil, Mozambique, and other Portuguese-speaking countries.

Ethnic Relations.The civil war is often explained in ethnic terms, with the FNLA considered a Kongo party, the MPLA predominantly Mbundu, and UNITA dependent on Ovimbundu support. The stress on ethnicity is growing in intensity, and ethnic differences have become more important. However, many other factors play a role, and ethnicity is only one aspect of identity for Angolan people. Differences between rural and urban populations, regions, religions, and races are some of the criteria on which people classify themselves or are classified by others. The importance of clan as a factor in the construction of identity is disappearing rapidly. Although the small Khoisan-speaking minority is not discriminated against by law, its position is extremely difficult and these people are marginalized in many respects. The closely interlinked political, military and economic elites may be seen as a distinct cultural group. The elites have a number of common characteristics but remain strongly divided and have profoundly different histories. Thus during the colonial era a northern Baptist network came into existence that consisted mainly of Kongo traders with strong ties to French-speaking Zaire. Methodists and Catholics from the central region formed the core of the MPLA and include a relatively high number of mestiços and whites, who now make up 2 percent of the population. In the southern elite, Congregationalists from the central plateau are important. This southern elite became prominent in the UNITA leadership.

Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space

Angolais relatively urbanized because in the 1980s many people sought refuge in the safer urban areas. The musseques, informal settlements around Luanda that are home to nearly a quarter of the population stand in sharp contrast to the modern city center. For people in the countryside, living conditions are very different, although rectangular houses with corrugated iron roofs and zinc are replacing the traditional round wattle-and-daub (straw and mud) houses. Some urban areas are overcrowded, while other regions are almost uninhabited. As it is often dangerous to travel by road or railway, transportation and mobility are a problem. In the 1980s cheap airfares even led to regional trading networks based on transport by air.

Gender Roles and Statuses

Division of Labor by Gender. The war is primarily a male affair, and few women go off to fight. Many young men have died in the war. As a consequence, a growing number of households are headed by women, and polygamy has not decreased as it has in most other African countries. The fact that the majority of the urban population is male, while women make up the larger part of the rural population, has strengthened these trends. As women are important in agriculture and the regional food trade, they run a higher risk of being hit by land mines than do civilian men. Some 80 percent of land mine victims are women and children. Rape and violence against women continue to rank as important social problems.

The Relative Status of Women and Men.Despite the MPLA's advocacy of gender equality, there are clear discrepancies between the status of women and men. The literacy rate for men is 56 percent, while only 28 percent of women were literate in 1998. Few women are in top positions in political, economic, and military affairs. Often women are paid less than men for the same jobs. The largest women's organization, the Angolan Women's Association (OMA), is strongly tied to the MPLA party. Many smaller women's organizations have been formed, often along professional lines.

Marriage, Family, and Kinship

Marriage. Marriage and cohabitation take many forms. Some couples are wed in church or by the state, others have their wedding blessed by their parents, and others do not formalize their cohabitation with a ceremony. In most cultures a couple find a home of their own or live with their husband's parents. In some areas there is a high divorce rate that not only is due to the war but also conforms to older patterns of marriage and separation. Many spouses live apart for considerable periods of time; often the economic situation is so desperate that they have to look for means of subsistence on their own. Women often are widowed and as there are more women than men of marriageable age, there is a relatively high number of polygamous households. The age gap between spouses is growing, especially in rural areas.

Domestic Unit.Many households have been disrupted by the war; a considerable number of people have seen relatives die, and communities have been destroyed by the ongoing fighting. People may have relatives in different fighting camps and often live very far from each other, and many Angolans are looking for lost relatives. Especially in rural areas, the extended family remains important: An income may be shared with one or more unemployed relatives; immigrants look for housing, land, and basic assistance from their relatives; and several generations and nuclear families may form a single household. In towns, the importance of the extended family is diminishing.

Inheritance.In most Angolan societies, inheritance is patrilineal, with children inheriting from the father. In quite a few communities among the Umbundu, Ngangela, and Ambo, property traditionally was passed to the children of the deceased's wife's brother. This matrilineal system has decreased in importance under the influence of colonialism and the war.

Kin Groups.Kinship terminology in many communities is difficult to translate. The children of uncles and aunts may be addressed with the same term used for brothers and sisters. However, there is a sharp distinction between senior and junior "brothers" and "sisters" and uncles and aunts may be differentiated in the maternal and paternal lines. In some cultures a village consists of matrilineal kin and their dependents. As many communities have been torn apart by the war, these structures have often disappeared.

Socialization

Infant Care.Young children are most likely to be taken care of by the mother and may be strapped into a cloth on her back while she engages in household chores, agricultural work, or selling at the local market. Other relatives may be equally important in a child's upbringing. Thus, children may stay with their grandparents for considerable periods of time and, especially when they are older, spend a great deal of time with the father or mother's brother's family.

Child Rearing and Education.Many children are unable to attend school because of the war, but there has been growth in the literacy rate. In 1970, 12 percent of the population was literate, while the literacy rate currently is approaching 50 percent. The majority of these people are young, reflecting government efforts to develop free educational facilities for all children. There is a lack of educational materials, qualified teachers, and school buildings. In some cultures children are initiated. Sometimes these puberty rites concern only boys, but in groups such as the Nyanyeka, girls are also initiated. In most communities, the rites have shortened considerably or disappeared. Poverty and the war have caused the number of street children and orphans to grow.

Higher Education. There are two universities. The older university, named after the country's first president, is in Luanda, with branches in Huambo and Lubango. As a result of the war, the Huambo branch has been closed down repeatedly, and the university is poorly equipped, badly housed, and overcrowded. A Catholic university opened in 1999 in Luanda.

Etiquette

In general, dress codes are not strict. In some areas, women are supposed to wear long-hemmed skirts, but this rule is not strictly applied. In many communities, people do not look each other in the eye while speaking. Younger people are expected to address elders politely. The ability to speak well is a highly admired trait, in both men and women. In some communities, men do not eat with women and children.

Religion

Religious Beliefs.Especially in the coastal regions, Christianity dates back a long time. A Christian church was established in the Kongo region by the end of the fifteenth century. It is unclear how many residents are Christian; the Roman Catholic Church figures range from 38 percent to 68 percent. Another 15 to 20 percent belong to Protestant denominations, such as Methodist, Baptist, and African churches. For many people there is no contradiction between Christian faith and aspects of African religions. Thus, religious specialists such as diviners and healers hold an important position in society. The government, with its socialist outlook, has been in frequent conflict with religious leaders. Because the Roman Catholic Church has great influence and was associated with Portuguese colonialism, relations with that faith have been especially tense. Since the move toward a more liberal political system, relations with the established churches have eased considerably, although troubling incidents continue to occur. An unknown number of residents do not profess any religion.

Religious Practitioners.Traditional healers and diviners have been disregarded by the socialist government. Although the role of these religious practitioners in the community often increased during

Street children in Luanda. Poverty and war have caused the number of orphaned and homeless Angolan children to grow at a rapid rate.

the war, the MPLA refused to recognize their function, and at times they were hindered in the execution of their profession. In UNITA areas, the function of healers and diviners has been acknowledged to a far greater extent. There are widespread accusations, however, that UNITA has used healers and diviners to intimidate civilians under their control.

Rituals and Holy Places.Because of the war, many religious practices have been discontinued and cultural institutions are no longer in use. Amid the chaos of the war, many formerly meaningful places and activities have lost their function. Under the influence of the churches, a number of traditional African religious practices have disappeared. In the war context, people attempt to find new ways to address the critical situation. Thus, malign spirits are exorcised in newly established independent churches, children wear amulets to prevent being forced into the army during round-ups, and soldiers strictly follow all the rules given them to make a magic potion against bullets.

Death and the Afterlife.In many Angolan societies, a funeral is an extremely important event; mourning rituals often are regarded as essential for the peace of the deceased's soul. Because of the war, there is often no opportunity to carry out the appropriate rituals for the dead. Although people have sought alternative forms of mourning, war victims sometimes are left unburied. Apart from the personal trauma this may involve, many people fear that restless spirits will further disrupt social life.

Medicine and Health Care

Despite government efforts to extend basic health care services, most people do not have access to medical assistance. Many hospitals face an extreme lack of personnel and do not have the most basic equipment. Only a tiny minority of the population can afford good medical care. For the majority of people, life expectancy is below fifty years. Poverty-related diseases such as cholera, tuberculosis, and measles are a problem in overcrowded urban areas and refugee camps. Many deaths are a direct consequence of malnutrition and undernourishment. The number of people with AIDS is increasing; malaria is common in some areas, especially during the rainy season. One in three children dies before reaching his or her fifth birthday. Angola is one of the few countries where maternal mortality is increasing. A number of health problems are a direct consequence of the war. Over 10 million land mines

A march to celebrate the 1961 war for liberation, held in a stadium in Luanda, in 1975 have resulted in the highest number of amputees in the world, mental illnesses are often related to war trauma, and many children and elderly people have been left without support. With basic health care in disarray, many people seek help from traditional healers. These medical-religious specialists often deal with psychological problems, and many have extensive knowledge of herbal remedies.

Secular Celebrations

On 11 November 1975 Angola became an independent country. This day is celebrated every year. Apart from Christian holidays, a wide range of occasions are commemorated, such as the founding of the MPLA, the beginning of the armed struggle, and the anniversary of Neto.

The Arts and Humanities

Literature.Angola has an outstanding literary tradition. An important genre has been political poetry, of which the former president Agostinho Neto was a significant representative. The arts, relatively free from censorship, have been an important way to express criticism of the political system. Oral literature is important in many communities, including mermaids in Luandan lore, Ovimbundu trickster tales, and sand graphs and their explication in the east.

The press has been largely controlled by the MPLA and UNITA. Journalists who express alternative views have been curbed in the exercise of their profession: Murder, censorship, and accusations of defamation have been used to suppress an independent press. Radio constitutes an important source of information, but has been dominated by belligerent parties for a long time; although, a Catholic radio station, Rádio Ecclésia, has been established.

Graphic Arts.Crafts such as wood carving and pottery are sold in neighboring countries. Luanda has a number of museums, including the Museum of Anthropology.

Performance Arts.Angolan music, with its ties to Brazil, has received international attention. The most popular spectator sports are soccer and basketball.

The State of the Physical and Social Sciences

Academics face many problems, and the state university is short on staff and teaching materials. As a result of the war, Angola is severely underrepresented in research: Many themes cannot be addressed, many sources have been destroyed, and many areas cannot be reached by researchers. There are well-stocked libraries in Luanda as well as a national archive.

 

Taken from everyculture.com

ANGOLAN people

It is estimated that in May 2000, 350,700 Angolans lived outside the country and another 2.5 million to 4 million were displaced within the national borders. About a million residents have died because of the civil war which has been waged since the 1970’s. Nonetheless the population has increased considerably. In 1973 there were 5.6 million residents; by 1992 that number had risen to 12.7 million. Despite a high annual growth rate, in the beginning of 2000 the population was estimated at 12.6 million. Since a census has not been held since 1970, the figures are difficult to evaluate. Angola has a young population, over 45 percent of which is below fifteen years of age. The population density varies greatly by region. Over the years, the urban population has grown strongly and more than half the people now live in towns. The capital, Luanda, has drawn in many immigrants a quarter of all residents now live there.



The civil war is often explained in ethnic terms, with the FNLA considered a Kongo party, the MPLA predominantly Mbundu, and UNITA dependent on Ovimbundu support. The stress on ethnicity is growing in intensity, and ethnic differences have become more important. However, many other factors play a role, and ethnicity is only one aspect of identity for Angolan people. Differences between rural and urban populations, regions, religions, and races are some of the criteria on which people classify themselves or are classified by others. The importance of clan as a factor in the construction of identity is disappearing rapidly. Although the small Khoisan-speaking minority is not discriminated against by law, its position is extremely difficult and these people are marginalized in many respects. The closely interlinked political, military and economic elites may be seen as a distinct cultural group. The elites have a number of common characteristics but remain strongly divided and have profoundly different histories. Thus during the colonial era a northern Baptist network came into existence that consisted mainly of Kongo traders with strong ties to French-speaking Zaire. Methodists and Catholics from the central region formed the core of the MPLA and include a relatively high number of mestiços and whites, who now make up 2 percent of the population. In the southern elite, Congregationalists from the central plateau are important. This southern elite became prominent in the UNITA leadership.

Taken from: http:///www.everyculture.com

ANGOLAN food

Angolawas a Portuguese colony for more than 500 years. This has influenced Angolan cuisine with Portuguese spices and techniques used for marinating and roasting traditional Angolan foods like fresh fish and shellfish available along the entire Angolan coastline.

One of the most popular Angolan dishes and worth a try is the Angolan river fish, Kakusso, served with beans and cooked in palm oil.
Also try Calulu. It is dried fish or meat layered with fresh fish or fresh meat, onion, tomatoes, okra and sweet potato leaves.
Restaurants in Luanda will serve dishes from around the world, but their seafood and game dishes are the best.

Drink

Traditional Angolan beer is brewed from the African palm nut and often called Cuca Beer. Informal shops selling snacks, beer and wine are often referred to as Cuca shops. Maize beer and palm wine are also favourite alcoholic drinks.

Lagers and soft drinks can be found in most cities and towns, while restaurants in Luanda will serve some of the best wines from South Africa.

Water

Tap water in Angola is not safe because it remains untreated in many regions. Rather be safe than sorry and only drink mineral water, which is available from shops. In an emergency, boil water before drinking.


Taken from TNT Magazine

Doing business in ANGOLA

DOING BUSINESS IN ANGOLA

Angolais one of Africa’s fastest growing economies and is a market with significant opportunities for UK companies across a range of sectors.

The value of UK’s bilateral trade in goods with Angola has increased year on year and currently is over £600 million. The UK is the second largest investor in Angola with annual investments of over US$3 billion. Traditionally, the UK’s involvement in the country has been within the Oil & Gas Sector, although increasingly UK companies in other sectors are doing business in Angola.

What are the opportunities?

Angolapresents huge opportunities across the Oil & Gas, Education & Training, Financial Services and Agriculture sectors. The Angolan government is keen to diversify the Angolan economy and is offering attractive incentives to encourage private investment in the non Oil & Gas sectors. Angolan companies are keen to do business with British companies and hold UK companies in high regard.

Taken from wikipedia

ANGOLA: useful links

www.angola-portal.ao

www.angola.org.uk

www.taag.com

www.rna.ao

www.news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/country_profiles/1063073.stm

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