Sunday, January 18, 2015

Angola Elected to UN Security Council

In October 2014, Angola was elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for two years (2015-2016).

Foreign Affairs Minister, George Chikoti said Angolans were proud that their country received the backing of other member states for the position.  He promised that Angola would strive to make the UN Security Council more efficient and balanced.

Minister Chikoti stated that, in the area of peace and security, Angola will be promoting dialogue among nations as an essential element for a culture of peace, respect for difference and conflict prevention.

"Angola will also contribute to a more efficient identification of the causes of conflict and to the reduction of violence through preventative diplomacy, promoting African agenda and contributing to peace and security in Africa and the world" (Sonangol Universe Magazine)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Angola's Grand New City

A new city being built outside of the capital Luanda, Kilamba Kiaxi, is considered the largest social housing project & EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contract in Africa and one of the newest, emergent Smart Cities. In the Kimbundu language the name means Land (Kiaxi) of Kilamba.

Built by the China International Trust and Investment Corporation, the city is designed to accommodate 500,000 people and includes 750 eight-story apartment blocks, occupying 880 hectares.

Located 20 km from the center of Luanda, the Kilamba project is the most advanced to date of the five new cities that are being built around Luanda alone and carries a price tag of $3.5bn.

Angolan officials are employing such a grand urban development scheme as a means of providing housing for the millions of Angolans who are without formal housing, 12 years after the end of the civil war.  During the war years, little social housing was built, with the result that ¾ of the 4.3 inhabitants of Luanda live in mussekes or informal settlements.

Constructing new city centers on the outskirts of existing cities is a new urban planning method employed to eliminate the difficulties involved in relocating populations who already live on development sites.

The Kilamba Kaixi buildings include 20,002 apartments and 246 shops, containing 24 (KG) kindergartens, 9 primary schools, 8 secondary schools, 2 substations, 1 sewage treatment plant and 1 water treatment plan, with primary & secondary municipal roads.  Beyond the normal municipal systems such as water supply, power supply, telecommunications, sewage, drainage, traffic signals, the original development plans entailed the integration of electronic systems to enable an Internet interconnectivity of housing and municipal systems. (Consolidated Consulting Group, African Business Magazine)

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Angola's Annual 10K Race


The São Silvestre De Luanda 10K running race is one of the most celebrated and traditional athletic events held in Angola.  Occurring on December 31 each year in the Angolan capital, Luanda, the race is an international sporting event that promotes athletics in Angola in its purest essence. 

Patterned under the race of the same name in Brazil, the São Silvestre was first held in 1954 and featured only Angolan runners until 1964 when recognized world athletes were invited to participate.   Consisting a plot of 10 Kilometers, the initial aims of the race were to equally celebrate one of the Catholic's Holy Day's of Obligation as well as to prove international athletic character.

Recognized athletes from Ethiopia, Portugal, South Africa, Kenya and Zimbabwe annually participate in the running event. (Sao Silvestre website)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Celebrating Christmas in Angola

Angolans only began celebrating Christmas after the arrival of Christian Missionaries in the 15th century. Presently, after more than 500 years of Christianity and colonization followed by over 30 years of independence, the celebration of Christmas has undergone various influences – from traditional African culture, popular Catholic traditions from the previous Portuguese colonization and from other Christian sects as well as secularism.

Christmas for most of the people in the countryside is the most-awaited feast; the preparation is done both materially and spiritually. It’s always preceded by spiritual exercises and pilgrimages to the their local churches for the 'ceia'; church service. Materially, families usually save some money during the whole year to buy special foods for this feast – rice, pasta and other industrialized foods. In agricultural communities, some animals are reared to be slaughtered at Christmas – such as cows, goats, and chickens.

In the cities, Christmas preparations are more organized and better structured. Spiritually it is notable in the participation of the faithful in retreats and preparation for the baptism of children. More zealous Christians go to church services at midnight on December 24th and on Christmas Day.  Those who miss the chance to go to church, either because of work or perhaps over-indulgence in festivities, end up viewing the live telecast church services on the National Television Channel.

Since Christmas is also an occasion for a family feast, it is common to find homes filled with parents and grandparents, children and grand-children.  Like in the countryside, unexpected guests are most welcome. There is room for everybody; this comes from the deep-rooted African tradition of hospitality.

At the ceia church service at midnight on December 24th, urban Angolan families eat cozido de bacalhau, or cooked cold fish, with many vegetables. They also eat turkey with rice and drink table wine and other drinks. After the ceia they exchange gifts and eat handmade cakes and dried fruits, including grapes with which everybody makes wishes. 

Specifically, at Christmas urban Angolans celebrate the end of the year and the coming New Year with an Angolan Christmas tradition of the eating of ‘bolo-rei’(translated ‘king-cake’);  a sweet, Portuguese cake. (from La Salette website)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Uige: Historic Province Series

Uíge (pronounced: "Weej") is one of the eighteen provinces in Angola and is located in the northwestern part of the country. Its capital city is of the same name, Uige.

During the Middle Ages, the Uige Province was the heartland of the Kongo Kingdom. The kings lived in the city of Mbanza-Kongo which had a population of about 50,000 in the 16th century and ruled with great authority in the region for several centuries.

The knowledge of metallurgy among the Bakongo was renowned as they became famous as iron blacksmiths; their king was even called the “Blacksmith King”. The arrival of Portuguese priests who lived at the king’s court and taught religion as well as literacy first strengthened their reign; their relationship with the Portuguese strongholds of the region was rather cordial and peaceful. Things changed incisively when the Portuguese started in the 19th century to conquer and occupy the territory of what at present is Angola..

In the early part of 20th century the province was on a economic decline due to its inhospitable terrain and poor accessibility.  The situation changed entirely when the Portuguese discovered that soil and climate were favorable to coffee production. The Uíge province (then called "district") became Angola’s major center for coffee production in the 1950s. While part of the production came from European (mostly Portuguese) owned plantations, most producers were Bakongo smallholders. In times gone by, Uíge had the honour of being “the land of the red beans.” It was the leading coffee bean production area, when Angola was the fourth biggest producer in the world.  Its market centre of Uige town, the district capital, prospered and was designated a city in 1956.

To encourage the principle of national integration with Portugal, many towns in Angola were renamed during Portuguese colonial rule, including the provincial capital of Uíge town, which was renamed Vila Marechal Carmona ("Marshal Carmona Town") after Marshal Óscar Carmona, the former President of Portugal, later simplified as Carmona.

Beginning in October 2004 and continuing into 2005, Uige Province was the center of an outbreak of Marburg hemorrhagic fever, a disease closely related to Ebola. Now under control, there were 374 cases with 88 deaths.  According to the UN and was, at the time, the world's worst epidemic of any kind of hemorrhagic fever.

One of the natural beauty features of Uige is the Grutas do Nzenzo (the Nzenzo Grottos, one of the “7 Natural Wonders of Angola”). The Grutas are inside a strangely-shaped mountain with pointed stones that give it a somewhat solemn air. The term “Nzenzo” means “spring” or “source” of water since there is actually a spring inside the grottoes, flowing down from the cave roof at the large 'mouth' entrance.  The internal rocky labyrinth is composed of various layers of stone, each overlapping the one below, giving it unmistakable rare beauty due to its distinct emerald green colors. (TAAG Austral Magazine, Wikipedia)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Launch of the New CEML Hospital Website

BREAKING NEWS!  Today marks the initial relaunch of the website for the CEML Hospital based in Lubango Angola.
The new site features a fresh design, focused on:
  • Current stories of patient's physical transformation;
  • Highlights of CEML's services throughout Angola;
  • News concerning pertinent medical crisis in Angola; and
  • Provision of an online donation venue.
The website is formatted for both desktop and mobile devices.
 
Please click this link to explore the new website:    www.ceml.org

We hope that you will enjoy navigating the new CEML website and will forward the new website link to others to broaden CEML's exposure.