Central Africa


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Luanda is the primary port and major industrial, cultural and urban center of Angola. The city is not only Angola’s capital, but it is also regarded as the capital of the Mbundu peoples, who have their roots in the surrounding area. Indeed, the city blends Portuguese landmarks with traditional African styles and modern industrial complexes. Founded in 1576 by the explorer Paulo Dias de Novais and settled by the Portuguese peoples as a major outlet for slave traffic to Brazil, for that reason Luanda is now the most populous Portuguese-speaking capital city in the world. After 2002, with the end of the civil war, major reconstruction started thanks to high economic growth rates fueled by the increasing oil and diamond production. As a consequence, in recent years, immigration from Portugal has increased due to greater opportunities present in Angola’s booming economy. However, Luanda has been of major concern because its population had far outgrown the capacity of the city, and its infrastructure was inadequate to handle the increase: slums, or Musseques, around Luanda started growing out of proportion and beyond the city limits due to the migration of civil war refugees from other Angolan regions and because of deep social inequalities. Nevertheless, in a country that used to be silent about issues such as politics the art world in Luanda stands for a new kind of politics that implicates daily life and reflects itself in the numerous identities of the inhabitants.

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