Africa Facts Zone presents Angola, one of the final Portuguese colony to gain its freedom from colonial rule, bordered to the West of the Atlantic Ocean is Namibia; south of Namibia is Zambia; east of Zambia is Democratic Republic of Congo.
With the Democratic Republic of the Congo separating it from the rest of Angola, Cabinda is an exclave province that shares borders with both Congos.
With an area of 1,246,700 km2 compared to the previous colonial power Portugal, Angola is roughly 14 times the size of the US state, Texas.
Luanda is the country’s largest city and capital. Many Bantu languages are spoken in the area, including Portuguese (the country’s official language) and a slew of other Bantu dialects.
Ovimbundu 37%, Kimbundu 25%, Bakongo 13%, mestico (mixed European and Native African) 2%, European 1%, and other 22%
The official language of government and large cities is Portuguese. After their original tongue or ethnic group’s language, they learn Portuguese as a second language. In central and southern Angola, “Umbundu” is the most widely spoken and understood language. The language “Kikongo” is spoken in the northwest region of Angola.
According to popular belief, the indigenous inhabitants of Angola spoke a language called Khoisan. There were major migrations from Bantu speakers after 1000, which made them the dominant ethnic group. In the Bantu kingdom of Ndongo, ngola is the name given to the king.
Angola, discovered in 1482 by the Portuguese explorer Diego Co, served as a trading post for goods headed to India and Southeast Asia.. Brazil’s New World colony relied heavily on slaves from this area. During the Berlin Conference in 1885, the colony’s borders were established, and British and Portuguese investment fueled mining, railways, and agricultural growth.
A series of independence movements took hold after World War II, but the Portuguese military dealt with them harshly. The MPLA, the National Front for the Liberation of Angola, and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola were the three most important nationalist parties (UNITA). In 1975, after a 14-year civil war, Portugal officially recognised Angola’s independence.
The MPLA, which led the independence struggle, has remained in control of the country’s government since its inception. But Angola’s lengthy struggle for independence did not lead to a period of calm. When UNITA challenged the MPLA’s power, civil conflict erupted immediately. During the Cold War, the country became a battleground for both the Soviet Union and Cuba, as well as the United States and South Africa.
When Cuban troops left the island in 1989, the MPLA began the process of becoming a multiparty democracy. UNITA’s charismatic rebel leader, Jonas Savimbi, was armed and sustained by his control of almost 80% of the country’s diamond trade, despite the shifting beliefs. During the UN-certified 1992 presidential elections, incumbent Jos Eduardo dos Santos and the MPLA defeated Savimbi and the UNITA. As a result of Savimbi’s withdrawal and subsequent accusations of electoral fraud, the civil war restarted.
Between 1994 and 1998, the United Nations, which spent $1.6 billion overseeing the 1994 Lusaka peace treaty, enjoyed four years of relative peace. With UNITA, a coalition government had been agreed upon in 1997. By continuously violating the agreement and retaking territory, Savimbi scuppered the peace process. As a result, the government terminated coalition rule in September 1998, and civil war erupted in the country once again. The people of Angola were not spared. An estimated 4 million people were affected by the fighting, or approximately a third of the country’s total population, and nearly 2 million people fled their homes as a result of the conflict.
Savimbi’s death on February 22, 2002, was followed six weeks later by a cease-fire agreement signed by the government and rebel leaders that ended 30 years of conflict. Despite the apparent stability of the situation, more than 500,000 Angolans were in danger of starving to death.
Despite being Africa’s second-largest oil producer, Angolans remain among the continent’s poorest. Corruption was rampant under the Dos Santos administration. The International Monetary Fund estimates that Angola’s treasury has lost $4 billion in oil revenues over the past six years.
As a result of Angola’s 2008 Constitution being ratified, the role of prime minister was eliminated in early 2012. The president assumes the role of prime minister under the Constitution. In the same way that the prime minister had to get the majority of parliament’s support before, the president must do the same.
Also Read: Isabel dos Santos Net Worth, Biography
Interesting facts to know about Angola
- The Kalandula waterfalls in Angola are 105 metres high and 400 metres broad. After Victoria Falls, it is Africa’s second largest waterfall. A five-hour drive from Luanda, in Malanje province, is required.
- The cost of living in Luanda is among the highest in the world for expats. The Paris of Africa is another name for the city’s capital. There is no connection between the nickname and the costs.
- Semba is their primary dancing form. ‘Massemba’ is a slang term meaning ‘touching the bellies.’ The dance, on the other hand, follows the same regulations! “The Music of the Sea” is an apt description of the Semba. Many people mistakenly assume that the Samba originated from the Semba when the Portuguese brought Angolan slaves to Brazil in the late 19th century. In either case, it’s a great dance to learn! There’s also Kizomba, a dancing genre that has taken off in Europe and the United States in recent years.
- Angola’s population is one of the world’s most youthful, at just over 50 years old. Almost 70% of the population is under the age of 24. As a result of the lengthy civil war, which resulted in the death of almost 1,000,000 individuals.
- There is a lack of males! Many guys lost their lives as a result of the conflict. Because of this imbalance, it is typical for a man to have multiple wives.
- The country of Angola is one of Africa’s wealthiest, despite its lengthy history of civil war. It is presently Africa’s sixth-richest country as a result of its abundant oil and gas resources and priceless diamonds.
- Stew is a common ingredient in many Angolan meals. Rice, beans, chicken, pork, fish, sweet potato, tomatoes, okra, and various sauces are all popular ingredients. If you’re in Angola, don’t miss out on the Moamba de galinha (chicken in a red palm oil sauce called moamba de dendem).
- In Angola, there is a tree known as “imbondeiro” that is unique to the country. According to folklore, this tree, also known as “Boabob,” was planted upside down by God himself. There are many imbondeiro trees around the country, as well as in local artwork.
- All government structures are off-limits for photographing or even viewing using binoculars. Taking their currency, the Kwanza, out of the nation is likewise prohibited.
- The Giant Sable Antelopes, which were previously thought to be extinct, were recently discovered in Angola. They can grow up to about 5 feet in length for the male and almost 4 feet for the female, making them the largest horned animals on Earth (more than 4 and a half feet). These curved horns serve as a deterrent to predators, as well.