|| issue 6, year XI, 2005
Jofre Rosa, Chairman of the National
Assembly of the Republic of Angola
Jofre Rosa is the pseudonym of Roberto Antonio Vittor Francisco de Almeida, a writer and active participant in the political struggles of the past. page 4
“I think everybody would feel marked, had he been arrested in the prime of his youth, when he was only 20. Isolation and loneliness are good soil for reflection. And the necessity to fill time makes you relive again all the moments of the past, all the ordeals and waves that have pounced upon you in the stormy sea of life. It’s a short step from here to writing down stories of what has been endured, heard or found. The story of a young, albeit long-lived, country like Angola resembles a river with many tributaries. The more tributaries there are, meeting each other in its course, the more full-flooded it is, the more constant its current becomes.”
H. E. General Filip Felisberto Monimambo,
Ambassador of the Republic of Angola
“The International Community’s
Contribution to the Country’s
Restoration is Insignificant”
An Interview by Tsvetanka Elenkova page 8
“We should also add the Human Development Index to the described data, namely:
- 68% of Angola’s 14 million people live with less than 1.70 USD per day;
- 28% of the population have a purchasing capacity of under 0.70 USD per day;
- the mortality norm is 705 promils;
- 35% of the population have access to healthcare within the framework of the national healthcare system;
- 24% of children under 11 have never gone to school;
- AIDS victims in the country amount to 5.7%;
- 41% of the population have no access to basic sanitation.
According to the Human Development Index, Angola ranks 162nd of 173 countries in the world. Culture, traditions, history and nature reflect the three characteristics that make Angola attractive to the world, as well as its rich biological mosaic. Undoubtedly, one of Angola’s greatest riches is its people’s strong artistic vein.”
The Awakening of Bulgarian
Jordan Stoichkov page 11
Bulgaria is walking today along the road of a clearly defined political clash. For the first time we see a new phenomenon in our country, namely a change in the view towards politics, reflected in new tendencies of social decisions. The peculiarity of this phenomenon lies in the fact that, parallel with the development of democratization in our country, a process of electoral demobilization is going on or rather a crisis of the traditional political mobilization. On the one hand, we are witnessing the active citizen’s refusal to take part in elections and, on the other, the new generation of voters’ political engagement is definitely decreasing. In the first case, it comes down to a disappointment that stems from the incompatibility between the electorate’s political expectations and the agenda imposed by the already elected representatives. The voters’ feeling that they have fallen into a political trap and are in a vicious circle is omnipresent and is expressed in pronounced scepticism, in disbelief of political structures and parties. In the second case, the question concerns a passive contestation of that imposed agenda. Bulgarian civil society faces democracy’s basic enemies: corruption, bureaucracy, the lack of equal rights.
Diplomatic Relations between the
Republic of Bulgaria and the Republic of
Dr Elenko Andreev, Ambassador of the Republic of Bulgaria in Angola page 14
Interstate relations between the Republic of Bulgaria and the Republic of Angola do not have a long history as they were established and began to develop after the declaration of Angola’s independence in 1975. However, bilateral contacts between the two countries date back to the period of the anti-colonial struggle for independence, when Bulgaria provided serious support and significant material assistance to the Angolan movement for national liberation in the form of foods, medication, preparation of cadres and aid of other kinds. This help has continued after the declaration of Angola’s independence; it has spread in many fields, from laying the foundations and strengthening the mainstay of the new Angolan state to the building and organization of the main economic, social and other branches. In 2001 Angola supported the Republic of Bulgaria’s candidature to be a non-standing member of the United Nations’ Security Council. Bulgaria, in its turn, supported Angola’s candidature in 2002 to be a non-standing member of the Security Council. Mutual information has been exchanged regarding our views on regional conflicts and centres of tension. Mutual support has also been sought, especially in the period of participation of the two countries in the Security Council in their capacity as non-standing members. The development of relations between Bulgaria and Angola enjoys good and encouraging perspectives and is part and parcel of the basic documents of the Bulgarian government and Foreign Ministry.
A Hard Life in the Angolan Village
Vladimir Alexandrov page 16
The situation in Angola’s villages, where nearly 70% of the population of this magnetic country live, remains unchanged. Life here is really hard. There are only a few doctors there, and they are mainly foreigners from various humanitarian missions. According to Red Cross data, despite the peace treaty signed in 2002, the unearthed land mines are still threatening the life of thousands of innocent people. Longevity, according to various publications, does not exceed 50 years, with small differences for men and women. The spread of AIDS and the minimal chances of overcoming the pandemic are an extremely serious trial and challenge for the country.
To Revive the Future: Angola’s Struggle
against Slavery and Colonialism.
Kissama (Quicama) National Park:
a Diversity of Disappearing Game Species
Portuguese Language the World Over
and its Spread in Bulgaria
Dr Iovka Bojilova, Zdravka Naidenova page 23
The great geographical discoveries have turned little Portugal into a world power. The voices of her discoverers are heard all over the world. In 1992 Portuguese-speaking people amounted to 160 million, whereas today their number has reached the impressive figure of 200 million. It is envisaged that by 2025 the number of people in the countries where Portuguese is spoken will reach 286 million and by 2050 will exceed 335 million. According to UNESCO data, today’s world population amounts to 6 billion people and the number of spoken languages is around 6,700. Only a few languages are spoken by countries with multi-million populations and Portuguese is one of them. It is the sixth most spoken language in the world. This fact is backed up by data about the contribution of each Portuguese-speaking country.
About Angolan Cultural Identity
Dr Almerindo Jaka Jamba, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Angola in UNESCO page 25
Angola, a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural country, is characterized by a great cultural, ethnic, linguistic, racial and religious variety. This diversity, without being an obstacle to the building of the Angolan nation and the consolidation of its identity, is a valuable heritage that needs to be protected and strengthened. As far as Angola’s cultural identity is concerned, one of the big problems to have emerged in the country’s history is the formulation of appropriate cultural and linguistic policies for the preservation of the cultural and linguistic mosaic and its relevance today. In this endeavour it will be imprudent to limit ourselves to the perception of just the traditional African heritage; but we will not be consistent if we simply reject African cultural and linguistic values. The Christian contribution will obviously be a reference that must inevitably be taken into consideration.
Antonio Agostino Neto
Antonio Agostino Neto is an Angolan public figure, poet, doctor and statesman. He was independent Angola’s first president, from 1975 to his death in 1979. He was born on 17 September 1922 in the village of Kashikan, about 60 km from Luanda. His father was a Protestant priest and at the same time a lecturer, as was his mother. After graduating from a lyceum in Luanda, Neto worked in the field of healthcare. He soon became an eminent figure in the country’s nationalist cultural movement. Determined to study medicine, he left for Portugal in 1947 and entered Coimbra University’s Faculty of Medicine. Neto was quickly taken up by political activities and was jailed for the first time in 1951. After his liberation he continued his political activities. This led to his second arrest by PIDE (the Portuguese secret political police) in 1955. Neto remained in prison for ten months, but during that time never stopped his activities and wrote many poems. Meanwhile MPLA (People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola) came to life in Angola.
Luanda: Humid Warmth
Irena Naoumova-Alexandrova page 34
The wonderful architecture and good planning make Luanda a very comfortable and affable town. Angola’s capital is situated at two levels. Its lower part is along the ocean bay; it is there that one can stroll along the several kilometres long coastal boulevard, with its lovely pavement mosaics, palm trees and stone benches, and enjoy the splendid view at the opposite side of the bay. The capital is divided into a number of residential quarters, some of which have modern beautiful and spacious blocks or houses with exuberant gardens. Magnolias, bougainvilleas, hibiscus and various local trees with fragrant flowers are in full bloom all the year round. Small, nestled squares and little gardens provide pleasant views and nooks for relaxation. Along with them, the inhabitants of the town, who keep growing in number due to the hard economic conditions in the provinces, build small brick cottages, which are often stuck to big and luxuriant buildings, and give shelter to populous families. This gives the otherwise splendid town the sad image of a nobleman fallen in disgrace, with patches on his clothes.
With Angola in the Heart
Iglika Mironska page 39
Angola is situated in the southwest of the African continent. Its territory is most impressive, amounting to 1,246,700 sq. km. It borders Zambia to the east, Zaire to the north and northeast, and Namibia to the south. The western part of the country is washed by the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The province of Cabinda, lying north of the Congo estuary in Zaire, also belongs to Angola. The country is rich in oil, gold, diamonds, coffee, all kinds of tropical fruits, fish in the ocean, etc. Until 1974 it was a Portuguese colony, its conquest by the Portuguese having started at the end of the fifteenth century. After the overthrow of the fascist regime in Portugal and following the successes of MPLA (People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola), which was established in 1956, the country gained its independence and has since ceased being a colonial state.
The Azores: a Few Pages about a Little-
Known Earthly Paradise
Vera Kirkova page 43
The Azore archipelago is an autonomous region of Portugal. It is situated in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, halfway between New York and Lisbon. It consists of nine principle islands and several other small, uninhabited islands. They are all of volcanic origin, and the volcanoes are not yet extinct. This is a strongly seismic region. The entire surface of the archipelago amounts to 2,335 sq. km. Its location midway between Europe and North America makes it an extremely strategic area. Green mountains with pointed peaks are silhouetted against the backdrop of an infinite ocean, clear rivers run everywhere, mineral springs are in abundance. Owing to the mild climate, vegetation is lush and varied - a real magic garden. Small streets with pretty coloured houses on both sides, with the statutory tile panel by the front door with the image of the saint guarding this house, and always showing some old man or woman peeping from the window to see who is passing by; attractive small taverns and cafés with amazing culinary temptations; weirdly shaped little squares; forts and churches, dazzlingly white with contrasting black columns and decorative basalt elements.
Marietta Georgieva page 46
Huge research has been undertaken in recent years into cultural traditions in the country’s various regions. Measures are being adopted to restore the connection between ancient and modern art. This is needed in order to guarantee the national identity of the fine arts. In 2000 Angola’s government inaugurated a national award in the field of culture and the arts: for literature, fine arts, theatre performance, cinema and scientific research, amounting to 35,000 USD. The Ministry of Culture has provided scholarships to stimulate creativity and has set up a fund to assist creators in material need. A network of galleries is being built, under the leadership of distinguished creators, who are also supported by the state. Guest singers and actors work with orphaned children, organize exhibitions and concerts in hospitals and kindergartens throughout the country with the aim of responding to children’s creative potential. Angola’s government allots nearly 4 million USD a year for cultural projects.
Traditional Angolan Art:
Dr Rachel Centmanat page 48
Angola’s structure and geographical situation play an extremely important role in the cultural and artistic diversity of the country, mostly with their impact on the various types of art, materials, techniques and models. If the four geographical directions of Angola are to be compared with the four directions of its traditional art, then the north is characterized by a humanoid sculpture, the south by products with bull images, the east by a ceramic pot, and the west by an antelope sculpture. Not long ago, during the country’s colonial past, some culture specialists, influenced by their eurocentric views, denied any aesthetic value to Angolan traditional works and products, considering them crude, barbarous and frightful, as being connected with rites and superstitions. Today, art critics not only recognize, but also highly praise the aesthetic value of the traditional art of masks, statues and other ritual objects.
The Angolan People’s Identity: Music and
Dr Rachel Centmanat page 52
Traditional music is the deepest and most spontaneous expression of Angolan spirituality. It has a strong influence on man’s conscience and is part of his existence: from lullabies to funeral chants, accompanied by a ritual dance, it brings melodic and rhythmic charm. It constitutes a synthesis, an entirety, which conveys through the steps in the rhythm and expressiveness of the instruments the grandeur of the leaders or ancestors, the prayers and hopes of the participants in the rite for the unification of the world. We find singing as a musical form of ethnic expression throughout Angola. Actually spontaneity and improvisation are typical of African music, including Angolan music too. The lyrics reflect people’s everyday life, episodes from their life, love scenes, spouses’ conflicts, etc. The social aspects of Angolan music are a balance of music, songs and dances.
Julia Stankova and
her Materialized Faith
Tsvetanka Elenkova page 60
Icon painting is a sacred act, sticking to the canonical code, in order to accomplish the One image (of Christ and of the saints) behind the many and the One and Only depiction behind the various traits. Julia Stankova achieves this sacredness without sticking to the canon. Her paintings, which quite naturally show her artistic and theological education (the author graduated in Theology from Sofia University), are most impressive for their ideas, which answer many Biblical questions, discussed from a modern point of view and which concern us in our everyday life. These are questions not only from Genesis, but also from our everyday human existence.
| Translated by Galina B. Cholakova
Revised by Jonathan Dunne