Facts & figures
Full name: The Republic of Angola
Population: 20.2 million (UN, 2012)
Area: 1.25m sq km (481,354 sq miles)
Major languages: Portuguese (official), Umbundu, Kimbundu, Kikongo
Major religion: Christianity
Life expectancy: 50 years (men), 53 years (women) (UN)
Monetary unit: 1 kwanza = 100 lwei
Main exports: Oil, diamonds, minerals, coffee, fish, timber
GNI per capita: US $3,830 (World Bank, 2011)
Internet domain: .ao
International dialling code: +244
Jose Eduardo dos Santos, of the ruling MPLA, has been in power since 1979, and is Africa's second-longest serving head of state after Equatorial Guinea's Teodoro Obiang. He keeps tight control over all aspects of Angola's political life.
Visa & travel advice
The Consular Section of the Embassy of Angola in the UK has the authority to accept visa applications for all citizens legally residing in the United Kingdom of Great Britain (England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales) and Ireland. Non-EC citizens legally resident in the UK must present a passport stamped with a visa granted by the Foreign Office (UK) and with a minimum of six (6) months validity (the visa).
The visa application can be submitted in person, by a third party or an accredited agency. Applications may also be sent by special delivery mail. If the passport is to be returned by post a prepaid self-addressed special delivery envelope must be included. For applications sent from outside the United Kingdom please pay an additional £10.00 and include a self-addressed manila envelope. The Consular Section will not be responsible for lost documents.
After acceptance by the Visa Section the request is forwarded to SME who will process and decide if it i authorised. In situations where the request is rejected the applicant will be informed of the decision and the reason, giving the opportunity to appeal. Applicants who are successful in their applications will have their passports returned with the visa issued
Requests are considered on the basis of information provided on the application form, supporting documentation and information about previous visits to Angola. It is therefore essential that applicants fully complete the form, answering all questions and providing high standard photocopies of all requested documentation as described on the website. Failure to submit the above information may result in rejection of your request.
- Best period
The weather varies throughout the country, so be sure to check out forecasts for the specific region you plan on visiting.
The U.S. Department of State’s consular website has a great deal of information about safety and security in Angola.
The original inhabitants of Angola are thought to have been Khoisan speakers. After 1000, large numbers of Bantu speakers migrated to the region and became the dominant group. Angola derives its name from the Bantu kingdom of Ndongo, whose name for its king is ngola.
Explored by the Portuguese navigator Diego Cão in 1482, Angola became a link in trade with India and Southeast Asia. Later it was a major source of slaves for Portugal's New World colony of Brazil. Development of the interior began after the Berlin Conference in 1885 fixed the colony's borders, and British and Portuguese investment fostered mining, railways, and agriculture.
The music of Angola has been shaped both by wider musical trends and by the political history of the country. It has been described as a mix of Congolese, Portuguese, and Brazilian music, while Angolan music has also influenced the music of the other Lusophone countries.
The capital and largest city of Angola — Luanda — is home to a diverse group of styles including Angolan merengue, kilapanda, zouk, semba, kizomba and kuduro. Just off the coast of Luanda is Ilha do Cabo, home to an accordion and harmonica-based style of music called rebita.
In the 20th century, Angola was wracked by violence and political instability. Its musicians were oppressed by government forces, both during the period of Portuguese colonization and after independence.
Angolan literature has its origins in the mid-19th century. The diversity of Angola's culture is reflected in the diversity of its literature, which traditionally has been combative and satirical.
As Angola was a colony of Portugal, it is a Lusophone country. Most authors write in Portuguese, though there are many distinct tribes and Portuguese isn't the first language of every Angolan. In 2006, Luandino Vieira was awarded the Camões Prize, though he declined it and the $128,000USD prize money for "personal and intimate reasons."
Agostinho Neto, the first president of Angola, was a well-known poet.
- Film industry:
Dating back to 1931, Angola's broadcast media is one of the oldest on the continent. However, it is still very much under the control of the government. Television, radio and print journalists have been subjected to harassment, beatings and imprisonment. Action of this type is inflicted under the guise of 'national security.'
The Ministry of Information issues broadcasting licences and oversees the allocation of frequencies. Presently only the government is allowed to broadcast using television and medium/short-wave frequencies. This situation is unlikely to change until the civil war is over.
Angola has one television service which is operated by the government-run Televisao Popular de Angola (TPA). In 1997 RTP launched RTP Africa in each of Portugal's former African colonies. Each recipient country's state broadcaster accesses both programming and equipment from the service. The channel's studio facilities and infrastructure are funded by the Portuguese Government, but run by local management. In addition, there is a local broadcaster, WT Mundovideo, that is broadcast in Luanda only.
Unlike television Angolan cinema has hardly any history of its own. After the declaration of independence from Portugal in 1975 a civil has devastated the country uo to the present day. Angolan cinema emerged with the participation of now ruling MPLA militants in two films inspired in the works of local writer Luandino Vieira, directed by Sarah Maldoror of Guadalupe in the cities of Algeria and Brazzaville, namely the short feature Monangambee (1970) and the full length feature Sambizanga (1972). She was a founding member of the first African theatre troupe, Les Griots, in the 1950s. She was also awarded a rare scholarship to the Moscow Film Institute, where she became the pupil of the prestigious Mark Donskoi. Several (originally) Portugese directors produced and directed Angolan movies. amongst them ; Ruy Duarte de Carvalho with, O Recado das Ilhas, (1989), Nelisita (1982), Presente Angolano Tempo Mumuila" (1979) and Faz la Coragem, Camarada (1977); Orlando Fortunato de Oliveira with Comboro da Canhoca (1989) and Memoria de um Dia (1982); Francisco Henriques with O Golpe (1977) and Ponto da situacao (1977)
The government has a strong negative influence on the work of newcomers. The constitution of Angola offers no protection against perceived intrusions of free speech by the filmmakers. Next to this the cinema office of the department of culture, established mainly to preserve film and support filmmakers, is under constant financial pressure. Angolan filmmakers mostly rely on international funds rather than national. Filmmakers like Antonio Ole (No caminho das estrelas 1980 and O Ritmo do N'Gola Ritmos, 1978) resorted to making video art rather than movies, due to a lack of funding.
Angola has nowadays several renowned filmmakers. Les Oubliées (1997) by Anne Laure Folly and Zeze Gamboa's Dissidencia (1998) qualified for the 1998 Milan Festival. Folly's Le Gardien des Forces won the first prize of the Cultural and Technical Cooperation Agency in Montreal in 1992. The director of "dissidencia", Zeze Gamboa, 45, was born in Luanda, where he worked from 1974 to 1980 as director in the public television (TPA). In 1984, he got the sound engineering diploma from paris and had later several participations in various film shows. In addition to "dissidencia", mr. Gamboa directed the production of "Mopiopio, sopro de Angola" (1991, awarded from the Ouagadougou in 1993 and later from the milan festival), "O heroi" (1998), "burn by blue" and "O desassossego de pessoa" (both 1999).
- Famous places
One of the most unique landscapes in Angola is the Valley of the Moon. It is also known as Miradouro da Lua or Wwatchpoint. This peculiar tourist attraction is situated at the coast 40 kilometers south of Luanda, Angola.
One of the most stunning waterfalls, not only in Angola but also in the whole world, is the Kalendula Waterfalls. This geological beauty of nature lies on the Lucala River in Malange, Angola.
One of the most beautiful bays in Angola and n Africa is the Bay of Luanda. The above photo shows a captivating view of the Bay of Luanda from Ilha de Luanda or Island of Luanda.
- Architecture history:
Angola is 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.