The Normality of Civil War: Armed Groups and Everyday Life in Angola

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Founded in , Luanda is the most populated province in the country. They employ about The historical, political, economic and social impact of colonialism and the long periods of armed violence experienced in Angola — during the war for independence, under the process of decolonization and the civil war that broke out after independence — created organizational and developmental particularities in Angolan society, influencing group relations and individual attitudes. Luanda is not only the capital of Angola but also a city constituted by a series of contrasts and realities, within which the structure of relations, networks and exchanges are shaped by the coexistence of distinct social conditions and multiple asymmetries and lifestyles.

With population growth and the effects of a prolonged war, several neighborhoods were expanded towards the periphery of Luanda. These poor neighborhoods differ distinctly from the musseques of colonial times based on the forms of occupation of the spaces and the materials used for construction especially cement. The stories in these neighborhoods do not describe only lifestyles of poverty, misery and improvisation Carvalho , unemployment and school failure of an undifferentiated, proletarian and low-income population Monteiro Contrary to the characterization of Monteiro , we find different groups in the so-called musseques.

They are differentiated by countries of origin and distinct migratory trajectories, including by their origin in the different regions of the country, the time of arrival in Luanda, coming from both urban centers and rural areas, the ethnic composition and internal diversity of the groups themselves, different religious communities of belonging, and other different networks.

The distribution and spatial concentrations within the neighborhoods show distinct forms of occupation: one area may be dominated by a particular ethnic group, another may have a more diverse population, others still would have new arrivals, and some parts may be more impoverished, and so on. In a civil society which lacks local management able to provide basic means of social organization housing, employment, etc.

Post civil war Angola - Straight through Africa

Areas with high pedestrian movement, markets and sales outlets are significant social microcosms, not independent realities, of the organizational processes of any peripheral neighborhood or specific zone. Many Angolans practice their main economic activity there, thus guaranteeing family subsistence. For many Angolan families, economic management is through buying usually small quantities due to lack of capital and selling whilst functioning under an unstable economic structure that is unable to support capital investment for medium or long-term bases.

In many families, it is mainly women who play a central role in raising economic means of family subsistence. They sell in the larger markets or use these to buy the products they sell door-to-door, in the surrounding neighborhoods, in the smaller markets or as zungueiras at outlets or around the city. The small profit from the daily sale of the retail products guarantees their daily sustenance. The informal market is not the only structural problem in the city of Luanda.

Decades of armed conflict, the sharp population increase, lack of an urban program of conservation, construction, alteration, recovery and expansion of the city streets, sanitation, buildings, etc. In response to urban criminality and juvenile delinquency, two salient realities in the recent post-war context guards armed with Kalashnikovs are often stationed at various commercial spaces, companies, banks, properties, etc. Many private car and motorcycles owners [12] also carry passengers, in addition to the recent, oversized and overly expensive for ordinary citizens formal taxis network.

Marked by urbanization patterns of colonial times and Marxist housing policies of the s and s, Luanda is now a city under construction and in transformation. Urban planning is in open confrontation with real estate development, with accelerated growth.

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Teresa Koloma Beck

It is the real estate explosion modern buildings, luxury hotels, head office, restaurants, leisure spaces, etc. On the one hand, the musseques and enormous precariousness, on the other, luxury condominiums, expensive houses and the Belas shopping Center [13].


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Around Luanda, there are several cities and municipalities Quilamba, Zango, Viana, Belas, Cacuaco destined for an emerging middle class, built by Chinese, Portuguese, Brazilian and Angolan companies. New centralities as they call it. Providing various types of services schools, nurseries, supermarkets, pharmacies, etc. Similarly, noble areas of the city are being recovered. Along with real estate development and accelerated construction, schools and hospitals have also been built. However, there are still teachers and doctors missing. In some municipalities, it is difficult to find suitable schools and stable teaching staff.

Public health presents many failures despite the strengthening of these professionals through agreements with Cuba, South Korea and Vietnam, as well as the private sector, in this case, at very high prices. The differential coexistence of distinct social conditions and multiple asymmetries and lifestyles still stands out through forms of conviviality and consumption such as imported luxury cars, branded luxury stores, leisure in fashionable restaurants and bars of Luanda Island, escapes to Mussulo Island, Cabo Ledo or Sangano, etc.

That includes not only the elite and middle-class Angolan, wealthy or emerging but also members of diplomatic corps and several expatriates, including Portuguese. They sell different products: fruit, fresh fish, dried fish, jinguba peanut , homemade yogurt, cooked meals or meals cooked at the point of sale, industrialized products, cards with balance for mobile phone, etc. Last weekend I attended the baby shower of one of our participating families in Berlin. There, I learned that the following weekend there would be a Portuguese party at Monbijou Park in central Berlin.

No more information was given to me at the time, but a quick google search guided me to the facebook event. The event was in effect a sardinhada sardine barbecue , which is a very seasonal event particular to this time of the year. A view of the picnic at Monbijou park, with the grilling station at the back. For one thing, there was no loud music. Barbecues are permitted in most parks in Berlin, with special signs indicating the areas where they are permitted.

This is one of the many uses of parks amongst Berliners. Other uses include sunbathing often in swimwear , sitting on their own folding chairs and having drinks, hanging their own hammocks in trees, play ball games, etc. There are people of all ages. I enter the line to buy food. Behind me, two middle-aged women speak Brazilian Portuguese, ahead of me in line, two women in their 20s use youtube on their smartphones to show an English speaking friend, what pimba music sounds like.

Sardines and German sausages. Portuguese rock salt. Is this another Berliner adaptation? I order two sardines on wheat bread, although cornbread is also available. I also order a pineapple Sumol from the ice-bucket holding Portuguese brand beers and soft drinks. Red and white Portuguese whine is also available. We code this as having multiple victim groups, as civilians associated with both the insurgent and government side were targeted. Beck, Teresa Koloma.

Frankfurt am Main: Campus Verlag. Brogan, Patrick. Bloomsbury Publishing. Eck, Kristine and Lisa Hultman.

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Oxford: Oxford University Press, — Heywood, Linda. Human Rights Watch. Lacina, Bethany and Nils Peter Gleditsch. Leitenberg, Milton. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Petrini, Benjamin. Prendergast, John. United States Institute of Peace.


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  • Querido, Chyanda M. Tor G. Toft, Monica Duffy. Princeton University Press. Wallensteen, Peter. Weigert, Stephen L. Angola: A Modern Military History, — New York: Palgrave Macmilan. Ziemke, Jennifer. From Battles to Massacres. You must be logged in to post a comment.

    Mass Atrocity Endings. Skip to content. Home About Researchers. At the same time — 4 , insurgents in Cabinda also launched an armed uprising. She writes: Many quantitative assessments, scholarly articles, United Nations reports, humanitarian accounts, newspaper reports, and firsthand witnesses to the war explicitly mention that something about the conflict changed from to Sites and Learning ; Brinkman ; see raw dataset. Estimate total nr of war-related deaths: , — , Laffin [xxvi] ? Lindgren at al. Leitenberg — , Total war-related deaths It is difficult to match the very high totals with specific time periods especially of 5 years or less.

    Coding: We code the primary ending in this case as a defeat of the primary perpetrators a non-state actor, UNITA by a domestic force, the government. Works Cited Beck, Teresa Koloma. Laffin, John. The World in Conflict: War Annual 6. Matloff, Judith. Fragments of a Forgotten War.

    Watch List on Children and Armed Conflict: Angola - Angola | ReliefWeb

    Johannesburg: Penguin, Sivard, Ruth. World Military and Social Expenditures World Priorities. Notes [i] Toft , This entry was posted in Africa , Defeat and tagged Angola , Domestic Moderates , Government victory , International moderating , Multiple victim groups , non-state actor , UN , Withdrawal international. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Reply Cancel reply You must be logged in to post a comment.

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