Located in Southern Africa, Angola is a former Portuguese colony that gained its independence in 1975 and has been riddled with civil war from that point up until 2002.
After years of civil war, Angola is recovering and now has one of the fastest-growing economies globally. The country is slowly but surely emerging as one of the major economic powerhouses in Africa.
Portuguese is its official language, setting it apart from neighboring African countries.
Music is a massive part of the country’s culture. Angola has a wide range of beautiful music, mainly folklore genres like Kuduro, Kizomba, and Semba.
The country’s capital, Luanda, is its largest city. This urban city is usually the most expensive and dubbed the “Paris of Africa.” It has a bay home, beautiful beaches, bars, restaurants, and is a significant tourist attraction hub.
Exploring Angola Culture and Music
Due to the abundance of natural resources like diamonds, iron ore, phosphates, copper, gold, and manganese, Angola is often referred to as the “Kuwait of Africa.”
Music and culture are deeply intertwined in Angola. The war and general political history have mainly shaped music. Folk music was used to speak against oppression and tell stories.
The government forces had oppressed Angola musicians to silence them, especially when political instability and violence were at an all-time high.
1. Semba/Kizomba Dance
One of the most prominent dances in Angola is the Semba Dance, which means "a touch of the bellies." It is usually confused with the Brazilian Samba Dance due to the similarities in name and movement.
Semba music tells tales and captures day-to-day life or current social events, sung in rhetoric. The music is very versatile, and artists can convey their feelings and tell relatable stories.
It has been predominant and a part of the music scene in Angola even before the country’s independence and is still very much alive.
Kizomba is a version of Semba that has gained more popularity due to its upbeat tunes. This dance is done with a partner and is often regarded as sensual and intimate because of the proximity of the dancers.
2. Art and Culture in Angola
Many prominent cultural institutions were destroyed during the country’s civil war, and the country is still rebuilding.
The Angolan culture is still predominantly influenced by Angolans who have been assimilated into the Portuguese culture and were more Portuguese than African culturally.
This has created cultural and political implications because those who were assimilated were generally the political leaders.
The native Bantu culture has mixed with the Portuguese culture, creating a diverse ethnic community with unique cultural traits, traditions, and native languages.
The blend of the Portuguese and African cultures has created an urban Angola community, especially in the capital city of Luanda, making it seem more Latin American than African.
Despite the war, the country has much to celebrate through its music, festivals, and artistic traditions.
Luanda also houses the National Historical Archive, which has artifacts dating back to the 17th century. The Kongo Kingdom Museum is situated in M’banza Congo, home to many cultural relics.
A national sculpture, Thinker, which symbolizes the Angolan National culture, is one of the most beautiful and essential artworks of Chokwe origin.
The piece is seen as the protector of the Chokwe people and is highly respected in the community. It is one of the oldest and most well-known artifacts in Angola.
Careers in Angola
Careers opportunities in Angola are very diverse, and multiple choices are available to Angolans based on their level of expertise and experience.
The economy is driven by the oil & gas industry – which has opportunities for skilled professionals in that sector – and a budding education and healthcare sector that has continued to develop.
Positions open in Angola are majorly white-collar jobs like petrochemical engineers, data analysts, back-end/front-end operations engineers, to name a few.
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