Guide Culture and Customs of Angola (Cultures and Customs of the World)

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Daily life

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This created considerable cultural conflict and had political implications as well, because those who were assimilated were generally the educational and political leaders. However, this began to change in the first decade of the 21st century, as the government appeared to be somewhat more accommodating. The mixture of Portuguese and African culture has made urban Angola, especially the Luanda region, more like a Latin American than an African country.

Its nightclubs, restaurants, and annual Carnival might seem at home in Brazil had not war and security measures made this sort of social life difficult. Nevertheless, the country has much to celebrate in its cuisine, festivals, and artistic traditions. The feast of Nganja, usually celebrated in April, is a harvest festival during which children roast corn. The Futungo market, near Luanda, provides craftsmen with a place to sell their handicrafts.

Culture and Customs of Angola (Cultures and Customs of the | Lib

Wood, clay, copper, reeds, ivory, shells, and the human body are the main media for Angolan decorative arts. The wooden sculptures of the Chokwe people, the carved ivories of Cabinda , and the elaborate hairstyles of the Nyaneka and Nkhumbi peoples are especially famous.

A number of modern artists and graphic designers work with both African and Western motifs in the general realm of modern African art. Music and dancing play a central role in cultural life, with the drum as the basic instrument; there is also a rich oral literature. Since independence various government research agencies have tried to collect ethnographic material and to do archaeological studies, but their work has been sporadic and limited by the war.

Culture & Arts

Western influences, which tend to predominate in the towns, have increasingly overshadowed traditional culture. During the 19th century, a dynamic group of educated Africans emerged in Angolan towns. These individuals wrote newspaper articles, histories, novels, and poems in Portuguese and also explored Mbundu folklore and ethnography.

The right-wing dictatorship in Portugal drove much of this literary activity underground after but failed to destroy it altogether. Although the leader of the MPLA at independence, Agostinho Neto , was renowned throughout the Portuguese-speaking world for his poetry, his government too curtailed artistic freedom, implementing a rigorous system of censorship.

Angola - Guide to Language, Culture, Customs and Etiquette

Additional artistic outlets emerged by the mids with the rise of a national television service and the beginnings of a national film industry. Angola has many traditional instruments, including the ngoma , a bongo drum , and the mpwita , a drum originally found in Kongo. Also noteworthy are the mpungu , a trumpet, and the Luandan hungu , equivalent to the mbulumbumba of southwestern Angola, both types of gourd-resonated musical bow.

Difference between customs and traditions

These stringed instruments traveled with slaves to Brazil, where they developed into the berimbau. An ambitious program to expand museums, libraries, and archives, initiated in the postindependence era, has borne little fruit. A National Institute for Cultural Heritage does exist in Luanda, but material from other local museums was either looted or removed to Luanda during the course of the war.

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The National Historical Archive, also in Luanda, houses material dating to the 17th century. Many other fine collections built up in colonial times were destroyed, dispersed, or made unavailable to the public. Following the end of the civil war in , the government and private organizations began the process of renovating or rebuilding cultural institutions damaged in the war.