ANGOLA & CULTURAL IDENTITY
This article was compiled by Jodi Phillips April 2014, for the Institute of Black Academics
concerning Black Under achievement.
PUBLISHED 09 APRIL 2013 05:26
Angola is a multi-ethnical and multicultural country ("a Nation made of several nations", as it was defined by poet Agostinho Neto, who was the first president of the independent Republic), whose identity has being forged throughout centuries of a conflicting history, built with socioeconomic, biological, cultural and linguistic exchanges among players from several origins, some of them coming from overseas.
These factors formed a “sui generis” society, even in the context of other African countries colonized by Portugal, where peoples with different characteristics and levels of development coexist, being some of them more open, above all those who have an urban culture, to all the innovations and influences coming from abroad (including the Portuguese language), while others, more confined to the rural world, preserve their traditions and way of life practically intact, with their own languages (although all of them are rooted in Bantu) and with behaviors and social practices perfectly differentiated in the national picture.
Thus, it is inevitable that the expressive manifestations of these different peoples are often at almost opposite ends. Therefore, it is a mistake to try to establish hierarchies or any comparative values among them, instead of recognizing that the true cultural wealth of the nation lies in this diversity.
The long war of national liberation (1961-1974) and the wars waged after the Independence of the country, in spite of the resulting dramas and the cortege of horrors, had at least the merit of completing the already advanced detribalization in the nation, making (forcibly, in some cases) peoples of all the ethnic groups and regions circulate around the whole country and accelerating their integration into a national whole recognizable in its main symbols - the flag, the anthem, the common currency, and even the Portuguese official language.
Angola PeculiarityToday nobody questions the existence of the "angolanity", which is merely the conscience of belonging to a national whole, be it on a historical-cultural, symbolic or simply affective basis, which implies not only the respect for the common patrimony and for the values, faiths and principles of most of the citizens, but also the respect for the identity and the valuation of all the groups that form the Angolan nation and their respective cultures.
An important stage in this valuation consisted, for instance, in the organization of the alphabet and in the phonetic, phonologic, morphologic, syntactic and semantic description of the six main African languages of Angola - Kikongo (spoken in the north), Kimbundo (spoken in a region that extends from Luanda to the interior, up to Malanje), Tchokwe (in the east), Umbundo (in the center/south), Mbunda, and Kwanyama (in the south).
[Source : http://www.angola.or.jp/english/index.php/about_angola/culture]