Angola: Hope in the Air

Angola last hit the international headlines some fifteen months ago with the death of Jonas Savimbi and the end of his rebel movement. Now there seem to be three possible scenarios for the country: is it finally on course for a sustainable peace; are people catching breath after four civil wars and will the next big push come in the fullness of military time; or is Angola on the brink of revolution?

The World Today
Published 1 July 2003 Updated 21 October 2020 4 minute READ

David Birmingham

Member of the governing board of the British Angola Forum based at Chatham House

It was the first answer – peace has arrived at last – which was etched on the souls of four members of Britain’s parliament, together with two staff members and one tame professor, on their tour of Angola in May. They were generously received by humanitarian organisations and medical missionaries, lent small aeroplanes by the United Nations, given Gurkha outriders by the British embassy, and paddled their way by canoe across the Zambezi in spate to visit hamlet schools arising from the ashes of war.

Everywhere the London travellers went they were struck by the energy, dynamism and adaptability of a people getting back to work. They were less seized by the commitment and competence of the people’s current batch of administrators and politicians. But to understand Angola one needs to escape from the stifling cloud of obsession with wealth and power.

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