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date: 18 February 2019

Women in Angola

Summary and Keywords

European colonial powers established the contemporary boundaries of Angola during the Conference of Berlin (1884–1885). However, colonialism dates to the 15th century, when Portuguese merchants first contacted the Kingdom of Kongo along the Congo River and established early settlements in Luanda (1575) and Benguela (1617). Parts of the territories that became known as Angola in the early 20th century have a long history of interaction with the outside world, and as a result European primary sources provide much of the information available to historians. The reports, official correspondence, and diaries were produced by European men and are therefore problematic. However, by reading against the grain scholars can begin to understand how women lived in Angola before the 20th century.

Some, such as Queen Njinga, had access to political power, and others, such as Dona Ana Joaquina dos Santos e Silva, enjoyed great wealth. Kimpa Vita was a prophet who led a movement of political and religious renewal and was killed as a result. Most women never appeared in historical documents but were fundamental to the economic and social existence of their communities as farmers, traders, artisans, mediums, and enslaved individuals. The end of the slave trade in the 1850s led to the expansion of the so-called legitimate trade and plantation economies, which privileged male labor while relying on women’s domestic contributions. The arrival of a larger number of missionaries, colonial troops, and Portuguese settlers by the end of the 19th century resulted in new policies that stimulated migration and family separation. It also introduced new ideas about morality, sexuality, and motherhood. Women resisted and joined anticolonial movements. After independence, decades of civil war increased forced displacement, gender imbalance, and sexual violence. The greater stability at the end of the armed conflict may favor the expansion of women’s organizations and internal pressures to address gender inequalities.

Keywords: Angola, merchant women, anticolonial war, colonialism, sexual violence, informal economy, Lusotropicalism, sorcery, civil war, African queen

Women in Angola have long been active members of their societies and shaped economies, political power, and religious beliefs, yet women have not constituted a homogenous or unified group. The history of West Central African women reveals disputes, clashes, and fierce competition. Wealthy women accumulated resources at the expense of impoverished and enslaved men and women, and divisions existed among female herders and farmers, elites and commoners, and young and old women. What became known as Angola was a territory with a long history of settlement, long-distance trade, and contact with distant regions. It is also a region that felt the largest impact of the transatlantic slave trade, with over 5.6 million forcibly shipped to the Americas between 1501 and 1866. This demographic drain was gender imbalanced. Men comprised 67 percent of all deported people from West Central Africa, which led to gender disproportion among West Central African populations and villages where women dominated urban spaces.1 In what became known as the colonies of Angola and Benguela, as well as in the independent states such as the Kingdom of Kongo, Wambu, and Kissama, women cultivated crops, sold fruits and vegetables, and performed all kinds of labor. Women dominated the large colonial urban centers of Luanda and Benguela in the early 19th century. Some achieved great power and wealth, but most were poor and many were enslaved.2

Women’s access to political and economic power changed over time, while inheritance and descendance practices also faced transformations. For example, in the Kingdom of Kongo a matrilineal model of hereditary succession gave way in the 16th century to a patrilineal regime that was more in line with European and Catholic expectations.3 In other groups of contemporary Angola, property transmission and succession continued to follow the matrilineal line. According to a jurist of the mid-19th century, “succession is not on a direct line, but from father to the nephews, son of the [his] sister. The children do not inherit from their fathers.”4 In the pre-1900 era there is evidence of women exercising political control of local states and chiefdoms. This practice seems to disappear in later periods as 20th-century colonialism privileged male elders, and women lost access to political decisions. Among the Handa, for example, women cannot serve in the role of soba (chief) in the early 21st century.5

It is significant that due to the long history of contact with Europeans there are an abundance of primary sources related to women in West Central Africa. As with any historical evidence, these sources were produced by European men and are therefore problematic and limited in scope. Yet when read carefully, these sources provide rich information about African women’s lives, their networks, and their economic roles, as well as their religious beliefs.6 As a result it is easier to reconstruct the lives of West Central African women, particularly those who lived in regions close to the coast or regions under Portuguese nominal control, than of those who lived in the interior of the continent.

Notable Women from Different Historical Eras

Perhaps the most famous West Central African precolonial ruler was Njinga, who ruled Ndongo and Matamba in the 17th century. A descendant of the Kongo elite, Njinga broke away from her royal lineage, founded new states, and clashed with Portuguese traders and administrators. She negotiated the terms of the slave trade with Dutch merchants and eventually became a national hero due to her resistance to Portuguese intervention. Njinga has attracted a good deal of attention, primarily because of her presence in missionary and colonial primary sources. But she also is remembered in oral traditions and collective memory. Njinga’s access to power reveals the intricacies of leadership, competition, and political instability during the expansion of the transatlantic slave trade. More books and articles have been written about her than all other West Central African women combined. She lives large in the African diaspora, in part due to her fame as a glorious warrior who defeated armies and as a powerful African queen. Her story is also one of a woman who achieved power but was aware of gender constraints. She thus dressed like a man and had wives who performed domestic labor for her, reproducing society expectations of the roles of dutiful women.7

Njinga, however, was not the only woman who ruled territories in West Central Africa. In Cambabe along the Kwanza River, at least two women ruled: Dona Joana Quioza in the 17th century and Dona Ana Soba in the 1790s. References also suggest other female rulers in the same region.8 Axila Bangi ruled in the interior of Luanda in the mid-18th century.9 Missionaries and anthropologists recorded accounts of women who founded and ruled in the Benguela highlands as well.10 More research is necessary to identify more female rulers and their stories of access to power and to understand how elite women influenced clan politics.

Another notable woman is Beatriz Kimpa Vita, who led a prophetic movement in the Kingdom of Kongo at the turn of the 18th century. Part of the Kongolese nobility, she lived during a time of political instability within the Kongo. She experienced visions at an early age and was trained as a nganga marinda, a healer and medium who communicated with spirits. Later she became closer to the Catholic Church due to the strong presence of Capuchin and Jesuit missionaries in the region. Kimpa Vita had visions of Saint Anthony and led a movement to unify the opposing Kongo groups under a new form of Catholicism, firmly set within Kongo history. Her goals threatened old elites and missionary activity, which were viewed as corrupt and not in touch with Kongolese modes of thought. Kimpa Vita was considered a heretic for claiming to embody Saint Anthony’s spirit, which presumably allowed her to behave like a man. She was tried as a witch and burned at the stake, punishment that was supported by Catholic missionaries.11

Not all women gained prominent political or religious leadership roles like Njinga or Kimpa Vita. Most West Central African women performed important productive tasks such as cultivating crops or manufacturing and trading goods, but women also worked in salt mines, ran taverns in urban centers, and engaged in long-distance caravan trade. Many were enslaved and provided a variety of services such as washing, cooking, and nursing children. Male and female slave owners employed terror to control their captives. Enslaved women were murdered, were subjected to sexual violence, and endured years of oppression. Their owners relied on the colonial state for beatings but also tortured their slaves with iron tools at their houses and farms, despite legislation that recommended “humanity and tenderness to make the state of less hardship for those in bondage.”12

Some owners controlled a large number of dependents, including enslaved ones, and became important traders. Dona Ana Joaquina dos Santos e Silva is perhaps one of the most notorious slave traders of the 19th century. Also known as the Queen of Bengo River, Silva owned farms and other land, ships, and enslaved people. She was one of the wealthiest residents of Luanda, with properties in Southern Angola as well as in Portugal. A widow, she acquired a large piece of land and built a luxurious house in Luanda in 1827 that also operated as a warehouse, shops, and lodging for her employees and slaves. In the early decades of the 20th century, Silva’s palace held the Luanda courthouse (Tribunal da Provincia de Luanda).13 In the early 21st century her house was demolished, but due to the public outcry and protests related to its historical relevance a replica was rebuilt in the same location.

Several other female traders were active in Luanda and Benguela, some of whom maintained residences in Lisbon as well as in Rio de Janeiro due to their commercial and family connections. For example, Dona Florinda Joanes Gaspar was the daughter of a local ruler in Dombe Grande, Joanes Gaspar, who married a Brazilian-born exile, Francisco Ferreira Gomes. In alliance with her husband, Gaspar ran businesses including slave trading, and became an important and respected resident of Benguela. After her husband returned to Brazil in 1834, Gaspar continued to exercise her commercial activities, lending money to petty traders, requesting land concessions, and baptizing free and enslaved dependents. When she died in Rio de Janeiro in 1863, it was clear that she was a member of the colonial merchant elite who circulated freely in the South Atlantic world. Colonial sources are silent regarding Gaspar’s color classification. The daughter of an African chief and married to a Brazilian-born black man, Gaspar’s wealth appears to have made her color classification irrelevant for the colonial officials.14

Less information is available regarding women who lived in the inland states outside of the Portuguese nominal jurisdiction, but it does exist, particularly for elite members who married foreign merchants. These women assumed the role of trader partners who represented the interests of their African extended families as well as of their husbands in local markets. They served as interpreters and intermediaries and provided much of the necessary know-how for foreign merchants to be successful.15

While certain topics reveal the presence of African women in the markets and in the economies of urban centers, other themes have received less scholarly attention, but the studies still indicate the importance of women. For example, studies that have examined sorcery indicate that women were accused of involvement with religious practices that were viewed as unacceptable or not mainstream. Vulnerable individuals or troublemakers were accused of sorcery, particularly in moments of political and social instability such as the expansion of the transatlantic slave trade, colonialism, or nationalism movements. Dissidents or those who transgressed the order could be targeted as witches and accused of engaging in sorcery for individual gain.16 Accusations of sorcery targeted both men and women, but case studies suggest that women tended to be labeled as dangerous. In 1726, for example, Mariana was accused of witchcraft. She had a shrine close to Luanda where she used herbs for medicinal purposes, held several power figures, and made use of animal sacrifice. Her accusers described nights of music, drums, and dance at which Mariana performed ceremonies to attract men. Men, particularly European men, could not resist her power and ended up in relationships with her.17 These accounts reveal an active and powerful healer who acted in the surroundings of Luanda for more than ten years, teaching her slaves how to use supernatural power and perform ceremonies. The Inquisition officials were obsessed with the number of relationships Mariana had, which may explain why one of her lovers, Father Carvalho, denounced her to the Inquisition. Similar to Mariana, Catarina Juliana was accused of sorcery and of being the instigator of ceremonies in which spirits interacted with the living. Mediums were believed to cure illness and solve mysterious deaths. They also promised good fortune to their followers.18

Mariana and Catarina Juliana employed medicinal skills and engaged in relationships that were considered illicit. Women were also accused of causing the end to their own pregnancies, challenging the idea of motherhood as essential or as an end destiny for women. In fact, many of the West Central African men and women who ended up enslaved in the Americas were accused of employing sorcery, a charge so vague that it could include healing or murder.19 Accusations of witchcraft also resulted from property disputes, rapid financial gain, or unnatural death and were used as a mechanism to maintain order. Anyone who dared to challenge social expectations and gender roles could be punished. Sorcery accusations resulted in trials, and if the accused was found guilty a payment had to be made as a form of compensation. This could include offering a dependent, usually an enslaved person, as payment, or even life in captivity.

The idea of African women seducing Portuguese white men with sorcery continued an imperial trope. In the mid-19th century António Gil wrote a treatise on morality and jurisdiction that described African women as dangerous and corrupted, in part because of their uncontrollable sexuality.20 In the 20th century the colonial state banned the killing of anyone accused of sorcery, while from the 17th to the 19th century it had tolerated enslavement as a legitimate means of punishment. During the anticolonial wars the language of sorcery and witchcraft accusations continued to be employed, with single men accusing elders and single women of “feitiço,” witchcraft, and with gender and age conflicts explained in terms of the supernatural. These can also be read as attempts to challenge social norms and resist patterns of domination. In the 1990s, UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi was accused of killing a group of women labeled as witches in an episode known as the “Witch Wars.” While case studies indicate an association between women and sorcery, more research needs to be done that explores the links between gender, witchcraft accusations, and efforts to punish and terrorize women who challenged the social order and questioned male authority in the distant and not-so-distant past.21

West Central African societies, particularly those located closer to the Atlantic shores, had been in contact with European traders and Portuguese colonialism since the early 15th century. However, the Berlin Conference (1884–1885) set the boundaries of contemporary Angola and brought the entire territory under Portuguese colonial rule. As in the previous period, colonies had to generate profits and provide much of the raw material that European countries demanded: coffee, rubber, and cotton. The rise and expansion of legitimate commerce and the trade in raw materials transformed Angolan societies and families. Slavery evolved into forced-labor regimes in which Angolan men and women were forced to resettle in new areas and join cultivation programs that privileged colonial interests.

Alongside the expansion of the commodity trade, missionaries and new colonial villages imposed civilizing mission ideals on the local population, privileging married and monogamous couples who had large families that could cultivate crops at lower economic costs. Missionary boarding schools exposed boys and girls to Christian principles and ideals of family, motherhood, and domestic life. They also promoted literary and hygiene programs as part of civilizing and patriotic notions of good behavior that equated Christianity with modernity and progress, and attacked any local religions as superstitious and incompatible with a modern way of life. Missionaries and the colonial administration shared a vision of reforming Angolan societies, especially in rural areas, and promoted the medical, agricultural, and economic agenda of the colonial state that had a profound effect on women’s domestic and public roles.

While women also worked in the diamond mines and agriculture programs, men were the main target of the forced-labor programs that tore them away from their families and communities, which burdened women with keeping the local economies afloat and engaging in subsistence agricultural production. The greater involvement of men in agricultural labor, even if coerced, altered perceptions of gender roles because agriculture had previously been considered women’s work. Thus, women’s productive labor was vital to the domestic and colonial economy. In the central highlands of Angola, Umbundu proverbs suggest that taking up a hoe challenged local notions of masculinity.22 Women bore the costs of unpaid domestic work, raising children, and keeping their communities alive.23

The lack of economic and political opportunities was reinforced by cultural practices propagated during colonialism regarding women’s subordination and dependency on male elders. The idea that patriarchy or polygamy are inherent to Angolan societies, in many ways framed by 19th-century missionaries, can be found in the early 20th-century scholarship with no interrogation of the history of these practices and the role of colonial forces in exercising this double control over colonized women.24 More research needs to be done on colonial Angola to recover the strategies and policies implemented to reinforce patriarchy and women’s subjugation.

Significant Events

Under colonial rule, the consolidation of Lusotropicalism ideals in the 1940s affected women’s lives. Lusotropicalism, a term coined by Brazilian sociologist Gilberto Freire, claimed that Portugal’s long history of colonization and imperialism and contact with “the Other” shaped a more tolerant and less racist colonial approach. The evidence behind this controversial argument was the existence of a large mixed-race population in Portuguese colonies and former territories. Absent from the narrative was the link between territorial conquest, colonialism, and sexual violence. The Estado Novo dictatorial regime in Portugal embraced this ideology and employed Lusotropicalism to justify Portugal’s long presence in African territories, including Angola. Miscegenation was celebrated and stimulated sexual advances and violence toward non-European, nonwhite women. Colonial oppression went beyond forced labor on plantations and within infrastructures. It was gendered, sexualizing African women as the means to realize Portuguese sexual desire and imperial ambitions. Angolan women remember the colonial period as decades of rage and grief when Portuguese men could freely rape them without punishment.25 Yet sexual abuse and violence go back to the earlier centuries of encounters between West Central Africans and Europeans, demonstrating that gender and violence were central to early colonial experiences in Luanda and Benguela. Even when elite African women enjoyed some privileges, their social interactions were in a context of unequal power, including sexual power, between colonizers and the colonized.26

Women were active in cultural and political organizations, although few are remembered and revered in contemporary Angola. While attention has been paid to the anticolonial wars in Angola, very little is known regarding women’s resistance to colonialism.27 One woman who played an important role and eventually became revered as a national hero was Deolinda Rodrigues de Almeida. Almeida was the only woman in the MPLA (Movimento Popular pela Libertação de Angola) central committee in the 1960s. Educated in Methodist schools in Angola, she joined the anticolonial protests in the 1950s, lived in exile in Brazil and Portugal, and studied at Drew University in Bloomington, Indiana, in the United States. Almeida dreamed of becoming a medical doctor. However, the anticolonial struggle changed her life plans, and she joined the MPLA guerrillas. Almeida fought in the northern front, and while at the Republic of Congo was involved in literacy campaigns and guerrilla training. She became an internal critic of MPLA’s patriarchal hierarchy and the invisibility of women in political decisions. In her personal letters, she revealed and criticized MPLA’s notions of patriotic motherhood, which emphasized marriage and childbearing and not women’s participation in nationalist politics. On March 2, 1967, along with other combatant women Engrácia dos Santos, Irene Cohen, Lucrécia Paim, and Teresa Afonso, Almeida was captured, tortured, and murdered. After independence, March 2 became Women’s Day, and a monument was built to honor and celebrate the five women murdered in the anticolonial war, mixing MPLA combatants, nationalism, and public memory.28

In Angola, as in other nationalist movements, the trope of motherhood was employed to mobilize the masses to join the anticolonial struggle. Motherhood achieved the status of a nationalist duty and was reinforced throughout the four decades of armed conflict in Angola, with many women embracing it as form of self-realization and social recognition.29 The reproductive and productive labor of women sustained war efforts, while their losses, such as the death of children, became examples of how individual sacrifices benefited collective goals.30 Angolan women joined nationalist movements and participated in anticolonial struggles to gain their own liberation. The nationalist movements created women’s factions, such as OMA (Organização da Mulher Angolana/MPLA), AMA (Associação da mulher Angolana/FNLA (Frente Nacional plea Libertação de Angola), and LIMA (Liga da Mulher Angolana/UNITA (União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola). These groups oversaw the mobilization and promotion of women’s interests, although differences existed between the movements, such as views on the role of women in combat. On the military front women treated the sick, cultivated and produced food, and promoted literacy and healthcare programs. Camps became spaces of socialization where women played vital productive and reproductive roles, and single women were encouraged to marry and embrace domesticity. The strong influence of Protestant education within the MPLA and UNITA ranks influenced social expectations about sexuality and gender roles. In the anticolonial war, nationalist leaders linked women’s emancipation to political independence and the building of a new democratic society. However, within the movements women had subordinate roles, acting as auxiliaries of nationalism and bearing responsibility for taking care of soldiers and producing enough food to feed the troops, but not for shaping policies.

Most Angolans were not able to flee to exile and articulate anticolonial movements from abroad or join guerrilla movements. They stayed in Angola and resisted colonial rule and political repression daily. In urban areas, people gathered at clubs, radio stations, and festivals to talk about politics, support the armed guerrilla forces, and plan for better days after independence. Female musicians had important roles in songwriting and mobilizing audiences, although few received recognition. As Marissa Moorman has shown, male musicians controlled the production and commercialization of music and benefited from the prestige and profit, sidelining female singers and dancers in the process.31

Scholars argue that the political participation and recognition of women’s contributions to Angolan independence continues to be marginalized. They stress the links between masculinity and nation building at the expense of female counterparts who actively helped raise political consciousness and mobilize arms. Women who resisted and fought for political emancipation and a free society have not necessarily been recognized,32 nor did women’s contributions result in political or other gains in the postconflict era. Statues have been built to remember and honor female heroes. Queen Njinga, for example, has been recognized as a historical hero and a statue was installed in Kinaxixe Square. It was later moved to the Museu das Forças Armadas (Museum of the Armed Forces) at the Luanda fortress. Another monument located at the Largo das Heroínas (Female Heroes Square) honors the memory of Deolinda Rodrigues de Almeida, Irene Cohen, Engrácia Paim, Teresa Afonso, and Lucrécia dos Santos. Besides these two public monuments, little has been done after independence to fully integrate women and provide them with recognition and rights. This creates a paradox of a national and social perception of Angolan women. They are portrayed as strong, economically independent heads of the household and the backbone of society, but few ever reach positions of effective power or even encounter spaces to promote gender equality.33

Women’s Movements and National Politics

In Angola, as elsewhere, boys and girls are socialized in gendered ways. Among the Handa in Southern Angola, for example, girls are not allowed to climb trees or play with animals. Girls are expected to sing, dance, clean common areas, pound corn or millet, manufacture baskets and strainers, and carry water. After reaching puberty, Handa girls face the efuko/efiko, a female initiation ceremony. The efiko marks girls’ socialization as women, their awareness of their kinship obligations and ties, and the expectation that they will follow the gendered expectations to which they have been exposed since birth. The ceremony is associated with women’s control of their sexuality and fertility, and is strongly linked to the maintenance of the lineage. In this public ceremony, a cow is killed and the girls consume its meat. Access to the meat indicates that from that moment on a girl is a woman; she can tend the cattle, enjoy a higher social status, and bear children. This initiation has been fundamental to the construction of notions of femininity and masculinity (male initiation among the Handa is known as ekwendje), and offers women status that they would not enjoy without the ceremony. Women oversee the reproduction of these gender differentiations, thus socializing new generations of boys and girls.34 Those who avoid efiko are known as hengu, who cannot marry.

It is challenging but important to examine how initiation ceremonies have changed over time. Historical analysis of the initiation ceremonies of different groups in Angola reinforces the notion that women’s roles have always been domestic, with emphasis on the role of reproduction. Yet the scholarship reveals that women had active economic, political, and social roles before the 20th century. Ahistorical interpretations conflate womanhood and motherhood in essentialist ways. While observing inhabitants of Luanda in the 1850s, Antonio Gil stated, “The desire to have children and the love for them is one of the characteristics of black women—it is almost an uncontrollable instinct.”35 This language of scientific racism treats feelings as innate patterns of behavior and essentializes motherhood. These monolithic representations of women as mothers put them in charge of maintaining families and protecting “local customs” that perpetuated patriarchal values, such as in the case of the Handa. Portrayals of women as the nurturers or “mothers of the nation” are highly problematic and dismissive of the other important roles women play, in the present as well as in the past. The appropriation of motherhood as a patriotic value illustrates how gender and nationalism are intertwined in Angola, while also revealing that political leaders are highly critical of the role of “tradition,” which oppresses women.36

After independence in 1975, the MPLA became the ruling party and instituted national holidays to commemorate Angolan women for their contributions to the anticolonial and civil wars, such as Women’s Day. However, most Angolan women were still unable to enjoy basic rights, such as access to education and healthcare. As a strong arm of the MPLA ruling party, OMA initially promoted literacy and basic healthcare programs, which helped to mobilize women when necessary. However, since the 1991 peace accord and the nominal transition from a one-party regime to a multiparty system, OMA has lost its importance and struggles to remain relevant, particularly outside of Luanda. Lack of autonomy from the ruling party and OMA’s failure to promote women’s rights beyond campaigns against domestic violence resulted in its inability to generate fundamental changes. In the struggle to overcome colonialism and wars that devastated the country and build a more democratic society, women were affected more harshly and gender disparity became more visible.37

During the conflict years (1961–2002), every Angolan was affected by war, displacement, terrorism, and violence. More than 1.5 million people died and two to four million were displaced. However, it is important to stress the gendered dynamic of armed conflicts, with women and girls particularly vulnerable to sexual violence and rape. Women experienced displacement and poverty at greater levels than men in the four decades of armed conflict in Angola.38 The long period of armed conflict increased pressure on Angolan women to generate income and raise and maintain families. As a result, many women became the family breadwinners. Yet women have been excluded from the peace movements that emerged in Angola in the 1990s.39

Throughout the 20th century colonial policies did not aid women’s integration into the formal economy and reinforced women’s domestic roles. Some businesswomen’s associations were established after the end of the armed conflict in 2002, such as ASSOMEL (Associação da Mulher Empresária de Luanda), which mobilizes entrepreneurial women in the formal economy. However, peace did not result in better opportunities for women.40 Many empresárias (female entrepreneurs) previously worked in public service or in the armed forces. They lost their jobs due to structural adjustment policies supported by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) and a lack of policies supporting gender equality in the workplace. The IMF structural adjustment programs impacted women harder than men, resulting in lack of support for education, healthcare, and microfinance initiatives that privilege women. As with women in other countries, Angolan women continue to face unequal salaries and the burden of domestic work, despite the importance of their role in the informal market. The Angola state struggles to improve social conditions while under pressure from internal and external actors to allow the mobilization of state resources into pseudopublic projects, such as oil firm investments or humanitarian aid organizations, that benefit a small elite. The conditional lending practices of the IMF favor concentration of capital and liberation of economies rather than promotion of social programs, which results in an increase in debt and financial crises associated with decreased oil revenue.41

Since the early days of contact with the Portuguese, Angolan women have participated significantly in the informal market, selling fruit and services to visitors arriving in Luanda or Benguela.42 Women dominate the informal economy in urban centers. In Luanda as well as in smaller urban centers such as Lubango, Lobito, or Benguela, or even in smaller locations in the interior such as Caconda and Caluquembe, the zungueiras, as they are known, offer specialized products in the streets or in markets such as São Paulo. They sell food, including fish and produce, imported shoes, USB flash drives, purses and suitcases, and cell phone accessories. Their margin of profit is very small, and they operate under constant threat from the police. Many also exchange foreign currencies, which is considered an illegal activity and creates a personal threat to their own security, making them subject to police harassment and robbery.

Zungueiras who manage to accumulate some capital organize women-focused microfinance initiatives known as kixikilas. In these informal and age-oriented organizations, older women, usually those with more resources and connections, collect monthly contributions, manage the financial assets, and rely on female relatives or friends for their success. The kixikilas are informally organized under networks of trust and economic activities. However, to join one of these groups women need to have some capital. In 1997 contributions were expected to be at least five dollars (USD) daily, an amount that is prohibitive to most urban women in Angola.43 The musical style kuduro is a venue for social and economic mobility and political expression for many singers, producers, DJs, and dancers. Yet, as in the colonial era, the music scene is very patriarchal. Few women profit financially or receive recognition as major contributors to kuduro’s internal and international success.44

In postconflict Angola very few women have found spaces for political and social empowerment, although several ministers and political advisers are women. Women represent 34 percent of the national assembly, and four out of the eleven members of the constitutional court are women.45 Besides OMA, two other women’s movements are active in Angola, mainly in urban areas: Rede Mulher (Women’s Network) and Mulheres, Paz e Desenvolvimento (Women, Peace, and Development). These groups are tied to the MPLA and do not enjoy autonomy. In 2015, a series of protests took place in Luanda demanding political transparency and democratic elections. Seventeen human right activists were targeted and charged as terrorists. Laurinda Gouveia and Rosa Conde were charged but not detained. In June 2016, after months of judicial harassment and detention, the charges were dropped.

Angolan girls continue to have less access to education than boys, due to poverty and social expectations that emphasize motherhood rather than education. Lack of sufficient schools and transportation increases gender disparities. When they do manage to attend school, girls face sexual harassment from peers and teachers in the classroom. They are prone to early pregnancy and cannot necessarily rely on family support. The literacy rate for women is 57 percent, while it is 82.8 percent for males.46

In 2017, President José Eduardo dos Santos stepped down after thirty-eight years in power. A new MPLA president, João Lourenço, succeeded him. This political transition may offer new perspectives on gender balance and policies that benefit Angolan women. Eleven women were nominated for the thirty-one ministries in the new government, but none were nominated for the governorship of any of the eighteen provinces. One of Lourenço’s first directives was to remove Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of the previous president and the wealthiest African woman, from her influential post as the head of the state oil company. Despite her visibility and wealth, Isabel dos Santos had done little to promote social policies or agendas for Angolan women.47 Time will tell whether the political transition will lead to significant change.

Discussion of the Literature

The scholarship on women in Angola tends to focus on important actors, such as Queen Njinga or Kimpa Vita. Selma Pantoja, Mariana Bracks Fonseca, Inocência da Mata, Linda Heywood, and John Thornton have debated the nature of Njinga’s and Kimpa Vita’s power and how their experiences connect to major political and economic events.48 Yet, we still know little about other women with political and economic power, except in the case of Dona Ana Joaquina Sousa da Silva, a leading slave trader in Angola. Studies by Vanessa Oliveira and Mariana Candido give attention to enslaved or commoner women, yet more studies are necessary, particularly for inland regions away from the Atlantic coast.49 Joseph Miller, John Thornton, and Mariana Candido have debated the demographic impact of the transatlantic slave trade over local population and women’s reproductive role in the population makeup.50 John Thornton’s study on Kimpa Vita has shed some light on religious life, but not much has been written about women’s roles in religious practices or how the presence of missionaries affected women’s lives.51

Linda Heywood, Maria da Conceição Neto, and Jelmer Vos stress women’s roles in the agricultural workforce during 20th-century colonialism.52 More systematic analysis is necessary to shed some light on gender differences regarding forced labor, urban migration, and sexuality. Margarida Paredes brings Angolan women soldiers to the forefront of the debate about anticolonial struggle and examines how their role was subsequently dismissed and neglected.53 Marissa Moorman’s work reveals women’s social, economic, and political role in Angolan nationalism.54 Selina Makana, Cesaltina Abreu, and Jessica Krug explore the links between nationalism, masculinity, citizenship inclusion, and women’s sexuality.55 Most of these studies center around Luanda and the experiences of urban women. Rosa Maria Amélia João Melo’s contribution, however, moves to southern Angola and reveals women’s social roles outside of Luanda. Melo examines how gender is socially constructed.56 Studies by Cláudio Bartolomeu Lopes, Marzia Grassi, Selina Makana, and Aili Mari Tripp interrogate the connections between patriarchy, violence, and women’s economic and political exclusion in post–civil war Angola.57

Primary Sources

Angolan Archives

Rich collections of historical documents are available at various archives in Angola. Many of them provide details of the social life of West Central African societies, including the political, social, and economic roles of women.

Arquivo Nacional de Angola (ANA) holds official correspondence, reports, and maps dating back to the 16th century. Postcards, photographs, and an oral history collection complement the written documents available for the post-1885 period.

Arquidiocese de Luanda contains ecclesiastical documents (baptism, marriage, and burial records) dating back to the 16th century. Many women, particularly enslaved ones, appear only in these written documents.

Associação Tchiweka de Documentação is a center committed to preserving the memory of the MPLA and the struggle for independence. It contains newspapers, books, and the personal library of Silvio Lara.

Biblioteca Municipal de Benguela contains printed colonial bulletins, newspapers, and manuscripts, with important references to women in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Biblioteca Municipal de Luanda comprises an important collection of colonial gazettes, magazines, and reports. It also holds 18th- and 19th-century manuscripts of the Câmara de Luanda, with registers of food production and traders, which reveal women’s activities.

Tribunal da Província de Benguela holds 19th- and 20th-century legal documents, including wills and postmortem inventories, but also litigation cases and trial records. Many of the litigants are women.

Portuguese Archives

Much of Angola’s historical evidence resides in Portuguese archives. Most of the documents available in Portugal relate to communications between Luanda and Lisbon, and are thus not necessarily the best sources for reconstructing women’s history. However, important collections do reveal information.

Arquivo Histórico Ultramarino—A rich collection of official correspondence, statistics, maps, and reports from the 16th century to 1975. The collection is organized chronologically, and the archive is creating an inventory that will help researchers. Seventeenth-century documents are available online.

Arquivo Nacional da Torre do Tombo comprises manuscripts, such as reports and wills of Portuguese traders who died in Luanda and Benguela, and official correspondence and Inquisition records. It also holds the Polícia Internacional da Defesa do Estado (PIDE), the colonial security agency, photographs, and archives of public and private enterprises, including the Companhia dos Diamantes de Angola (Diamang). Mission papers are also available, such as the documents of the Congregação do Espírito Santo, which complement the records available at Archives générals spiritaines in France.

Biblioteca Municipal do Porto—This small collection of manuscripts includes seven volumes of António Francisco da Silva Porto’s diary, a Portuguese trader who lived in Benguela’s interior for more than fifty years.

Biblioteca Nacional houses manuscripts and published sources, including traveler accounts; serial publications such as Arquivos de Angola; and a collection of rare books and manuscripts, cartography, iconography and master’s theses and PhD dissertations defended at Portuguese universities.

Biblioteca da Sociedade de Geografia de Lisboa—This important collection of published primary sources also holds several diaries, including those of Portuguese trader António Francisco da Silva Porto (three volumes) and explorers Hermenegildo Capelo and Roberto Ivens. These diaries reveal information on women living away from the coast that is not necessarily available in the official correspondence or the colonial documents.

Other Archives

Historical documents on the Angolan past are spread throughout the world.

The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) archive holds an important collection of Protestant missions, particularly in the interior of Angola.

Archives générals spiritaines, Chevilly-Larue (Paris), has a rich collection of late 19th- and early 20th-century missionaries’ correspondence, diaries, and reports, which include information about women and missionaries’ reflections on local societies and gender roles.

Instituto Histórico Geografico and Brasileiro (IHGB), in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, contains official colonial documents dated before 1808, when the Portuguese Crown temporarily relocated to Brazil due to the Napoleonic Wars. Residential lists and description of local states, for example, provide rich information about West Central African women.

The United Church of Canada Archives contains missionaries’ correspondence, reports, and diaries of missionaries stationed in the interior of Angola.

Published travelers’ accounts provide information about women. See, for example, the following:

Bowdich, T. E. An Account of the Discoveries of the Portuguese in the Interior of Angola and Mozambique. London: John Booth, 1824.Find this resource:

Brásio, António. Monumenta Missionária Africana-Africa Ocidental (Sér. I). 11 vols. Lisbon: Agência Geral do Ultramar, 1952–1971.Find this resource:

Cadornega, António de Oliveira. História Geral das Guerras Angolanas. Edited by José Matias Delgado and M. Alves da Cunha. Lisbon: Agência Geral das Colónias, [1680] 1940–1942.Find this resource:

Caldeira, Carlos José. Apontamentos D’Uma Viagem de Lisbon a China e da China a Lisbon. 2 vols. Lisbon: Typographia de Castro and Irmão, 1852–1853.Find this resource:

Capello, H., and R. Ivens. De Benguela às Terras de Iacca. 2 vols. Lisbon: Imprensa Nacional, 1937.Find this resource:

Corrêa, Elias Alexandre da Silva. História de Angola. 2 vols. Lisbon: Editorial Ática, 1937.Find this resource:

Gil, António. Considerações sobre alguns pontos mais importantes da moral religiosa e sistema de jurisprudência dos pretos do continente da África Ocidental Portuguesa além do Equador. Lisbon: Tipografia da Academia, 1854.Find this resource:

Lima, José J. Lopes de. Ensaios Sobre a Statistica das Possessões Portuguezas. Vols. 1–3. Lisbon: Imprensa Nacional, 1846.Find this resource:

Magyar, Ladislaus. Reisen in Süd-Afrika in den Jahren 1849 bis 1857. Pest and Leipzig: Lauffer & Stolp, 1859.Find this resource:

Serpa Pinto, Alexandre A. da Rocha. Como eu atravessei a África. Lisbon: Publicações Europa-América, [1881] 1978.Find this resource:

Silva Corrêa, Elias Alexandre. História de Angola. Lisbon: Ática, 1937.Find this resource:

Silva Porto, António Francisco Ferreira. Viagens e Apontamentos de um Portuense em África. Diário de António Francisco Ferreira da Silva Porto. Lisbon: Universidade de Coimbra, 1942.Find this resource:

Tams, Georg. Visita as Possessões Portugezas na Costa Occcidental d’ Africa. 2 vols. Porto, Portugal: Pipographia de Revista, 1850.Find this resource:

Valdez, Francisco Travassos. Six Years of a Traveller’s Life in Western Africa. 2 vols. London: Hurst and Blackett, 1861.Find this resource:

Deolinda Rodrigues de Almeida’s letters exchanged with Marcia Glecker, an American missionary who became her friend, are available at Dear Deolinda.

Fundação Mário Soares, Casa Comum, has a variety of digital resources, including postcards, photographs, statistics, maps, telegrams, and MPLA posters.

Memoria da África e do Oriente provides access to publications such as the Boletim do Instituto de Angola (1953–1973), Boletim Cultural do Huambo (1948–1974), and Cadernos Coloniais (1935–1941), among other digital resources.

Transatlantic Slave Trade Database provides quantitative information on the number of enslaved Africans exported. It is possible to examine port-by-port estimates and explore gender and age variations.

World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap provides statistics on gender disparities.

Further Reading

Almeida Rodrigues, Deolinda. Cartas de Iangida e outros documentos. Luanda: Nzila, 2004.Find this resource:

Almeida Rodrigues, Deolinda. Diário de um exílio sem regresso. Luanda: Nzila, 2003.Find this resource:

Candido, Mariana P. “Engendering West Central African History: The Role of Urban Women in Benguela in the Nineteenth Century .” History in Africa 42 (2015): 7–36.Find this resource:

Candido, Mariana P. “Women, Family, and Landed Property in Nineteenth-Century Benguela.” African Economic History 43, no. 1 (2015): 136–161.Find this resource:

Fonseca, Mariana Brack. Nzinga Mbandi e as guerras de resistência em Angola, século XVII. Belo Horizonte: Mazza Edições, 2015.Find this resource:

Heywood, Linda M. Contested Power in Angola, 1840s to the Present. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2000.Find this resource:

Heywood, Linda M. Njinga of Angola: Africa’s Warrior Queen. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2017.Find this resource:

Lopes, Claudio Bartolomeu. “Violência das armas, violência no gênero: campo fértil das desigualdades.” Katálysis 13, no. 1 (2010): 119–125.Find this resource:

Makana, Selina. “Motherhood as Activism in the Angolan People’s War, 1961–1975.” Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism 15, no. 2 (2017): 353–381.Find this resource:

Melo, Rosa Maria Amélia João. Identidade e género entre os Handa do sul de Angola. Luanda: Nzila, 2005.Find this resource:

Moorman, Marissa Jean. “Dueling Bands and Good Girls: Gender, Music, and Nation in Luanda’s Musseques, 1961–1974.” International Journal of African Historical Studies 37, no. 2 (2004): 255–288.Find this resource:

Moorman, Marissa Jean. “Intimating Nationalism: Gender in the MPLA’s maquis.” In Angola e as angolanas. Memória, sociedade e cultura, Edited by Selma Pantoja, Edvaldo Bergamo, and Ana Claudia da Silva, 187–203. São Paulo: Intermeios, 2016.Find this resource:

Moorman, Marissa Jean. Intonations: A Social History of Music and Nation in Luanda, Angola, from 1945 to Recent Times. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008.Find this resource:

Oliveira, Vanessa S. “Gender, Foodstuff Production and Trade in Late-Eighteenth Century Luanda.” African Economic History 43, no. 1 (2015): 57–81.Find this resource:

Oliveira, Vanessa S. “The Gendered Dimension of Trade: Female Traders in Nineteenth Century Luanda.” Portuguese Studies Review 23, no. 2 (2015): 93–121.Find this resource:

Oliveira, Vanessa S. “Notas preliminares sobre punição de escravos em Luanda (século XIX).” In O colonialismo português—novos rumos da historiografia dos PALOP, Edited by Ana Cristina Roque and Maria Manuel Torrão, 155–176. Porto, Portugal: Humus, 2013.Find this resource:

Olivera, Vanessa. “Slavery and the Forgotten Women Slave Owners of Luanda (1846–1876).” In Slavery, Memory and Citizenship, Edited by Paul E. Lovejoy and Vanessa S. Oliveira, 129–147. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2016.Find this resource:

Olivera, Vanessa. “Spouses and Commercial Partners: Immigrant Men and Locally Born Women in Luanda (1831–1859).” In African Women in the Atlantic World. Property, Vulnerability and Mobility, 1680–1880, Edited by Mariana P. Candido and Adam Jones. Woodbridge, UK: James Currey, forthcoming.Find this resource:

Pantoja, Selma. Nzinga Mbandi mulher, guerra e escravidão. Brasília, DF: Thesaurus Editora, 2000.Find this resource:

Pantoja, Selma, Edvaldo Bergamo, and Ana Claudia da Silva, ed. Angola e as angolanas. Memória, sociedade e cultura. São Paulo: Intermeios, 2016.Find this resource:

Paredes, Margarida. Combater duas vezes: mulheres na luta armada em Angola. Vila do Conde: Verso da História, 2015.Find this resource:

Paredes, Margarida. “Deolinda Rodrigues, da família metodista à família MPLA, o papel da cultura na política.” Cadernos de Estudos Africanos no. 20 (2010): 11–26.Find this resource:

Sheldon, Kathleen E. Historical Dictionary of Women in Sub-Saharan Africa. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2016.Find this resource:

Thornton, John K. The Kongolese Saint Anthony: Dona Beatriz Kimpa Vita and the Antonian Movement, 1684–1706. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1998.Find this resource:

Tripp, Aili Mari. Women and Power in Post-Conflict Africa. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015.Find this resource:


(1.) Arquivo Histórico Ultramarino (AHU/Portugal), Conselho Ultramarino, 001, Cx 61. Doc. 81, “Mapa de todos os moradores e habitantes do reino de Angola e suas conquistas tirado no fim do ano de 1777 em que entram os Ndembu, Potentados e sobas vassalos,” 1777. Voyages, The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, 2018. See also John Thornton, “The Slave Trade in Eighteenth Century Angola: Effects on Demographic Structures,” Canadian Journal of African Studies 14, no. 3 (1980): 417–427; and Carlos Liberato et al., “Laços entre a África e o mundo Atlântico durante a era do comércio de africanos escravizados: Uma introdução,” in Laços Atlânticos: África e os africanos durante a era do comércio transatlântico de escravos, ed. Carlos Liberato et al. (Luanda: Ministério da Cultura/Museu Nacional da Escravatura, 2017), 7 and 14–15.

(2.) Selma Pantoja, “Inquisição, degredo e mestiçagem em Angola no século XVII,” Revista Lusófona de Ciência das Religiões 3, no. 5/6 (2004): 117–136; Selma Pantoja, “Donas de ‘arimos’: um negócio feminino no abastecimento de gêneros alimentícios em Luanda (séculos XVIII e XIX),” in Entre Áfricas e Brasis, ed. Selma Pantoja (Brasilia: Paralelo, 2001), 35–49; Vanessa S. Oliveira, “Gender, Foodstuff Production and Trade in Late-Eighteenth Century Luanda,” African Economic History 43, no. 1 (2015): 57–81; Vanessa S. Oliveira, “Mulher e comércio: A participação feminina nas redes comerciais em Luanda (século XIX),” in Angola e as angolanas. Memória, sociedade e cultura, ed. Selma Pantoja, Edvaldo Bergamo, and Ana Claudia da Silva (São Paulo: Intermeios, 2016); Mariana P. Candido, “Aguida Gonçalves da Silva, une dona à Benguela à fin du XVIIIe siècle,” Brésil (s). Sciences Humaines et Sociales 1 (2012): 33–54; and Mariana P. Candido, “Concubinage and Slavery in Benguela, c. 1750–1850,” in Slavery in Africa and the Caribbean: A History of Enslavement and Identity Since the 18th Century, ed. Olatunji Ojo and Nadine Hunt (London: I. B. Tauris, 2012), 65–84.

(3.) Jared Staller, Converging on Cannibals: Terrors of Slaving in Atlantic Africa, 1509–1670 (Athens: Ohio University Press, forthcoming), chapter 2.

(4.) António Gil, Considerações sobre alguns pontos mais importantes da moral religiosa e sistema de jurisprudência dos pretos do continente da África Ocidental Portuguesa além do Equador (Lisbon: Tipografia da Academia, 1854), 11.

(5.) Rosa Maria Amélia João Melo, “Mulher é aquela que ‘comeu o boi.’ O efuko e a construção do género no grupo étnico Handa,” Lusotopie. Recherches politiques internationales sur les espaces issus de l’histoire et de la colonisation portugaises no. 12 (1–2) (2005): 153.

(6.) Mariana P. Candido, “Engendering West Central African History: The Role of Urban Women in Benguela in the Nineteenth Century,” History in Africa 42 (2015): 7–36.

(7.) Joseph C. Miller, “Nzinga of Matamba in a New Perspective,” Journal of African History 16, no. 2 (1975): 201–216; John K. Thornton, “Legitimacy and Political Power: Queen Njinga, 1624–1663,” Journal of African History 32, no. 1 (1991): 25–40; Selma Pantoja, Nzinga Mbandi mulher, guerra e escravidão (Brasília, DF: Thesaurus Editora, 2000); Marina de Mello e Souza, “A rainha Jinga da Matamba e o catolicismo. África Central, século XVII,” in Marlyse Meyer nos caminhos do imaginário, ed. Jerusa Pires Ferreira and Vilma Áreas (São Paulo: EDUSP, 2009), 153–182; Mariana Brack Fonseca, Nzinga Mbandi e as guerras de resistência em Angola, século XVII (Belo Horizonte: Mazza Edições, 2015); Inocência da Mata, “Njinga a Mbande: O desafio da memória,” in Angola e as angolanas. Memória, sociedade e cultura, ed. Selma Pantoja, Edvaldo Bergamo, and Ana Claudia da Silva (São Paulo: Intermeios, 2016), 75–83; Carlos Almeida, “A maravilhosa conversão da rainha Njinga e o discurso etnográfico na literatura missionária dos capuchinhos,” in Angola e as angolanas. Memória, sociedade e cultura, ed. Selma Pantoja, Edvaldo Bergamo, and Ana Claudia da Silva (São Paulo: Intermeios, 2016), 57–73; Selma Pantoja, “Angolanidade e sua inscrição histórica: narrativas sobre a rainha Nzinga,” in Angola e as angolanas. Memória, sociedade e cultura, ed. Selma Pantoja, Edvaldo Bergamo, and Ana Claudia da Silva (São Paulo: Intermeios, 2016), 85–93; and Linda M. Heywood, Njinga of Angola: Africa’s Warrior Queen (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2017). In 2013 an Angolan/Portuguese feature film about Njinga, Njinga, Rainha de Angola, was released. A television series followed.

(8.) Beatrix Heintze, Angola nos séculos XVI e XVII. Estudo sobre fontes, métodos e história (Luanda: Kilombelombe, 2007), 221; and Crislayne Gloss Marão Alfagali, “Ferreiros e fundidores da Ilamba: Uma história social da fabricação do ferro e da Real Fábrica de Nova Oeiras (Angola, segunda metade do século XVIII)” (PhD diss., Unicamp, 2016), 78.

(9.) Roquinaldo Ferreira, Cross-Cultural Exchange in the Atlantic World: Angola and Brazil during the Era of the Slave Trade (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 78.

(10.) Gladwyn Murray Childs, Kinship and Character of the Ovimbundu: Being a Description of the Social Structure and Individual Development of the Ovimbundu of Angola, with Observations Concerning the Bearing on the Enterprise of Christian Missions of Certain Phases of the Life and Culture Described (Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Press, 1969), 178.

(11.) John K. Thornton, The Kongolese Saint Anthony: Dona Beatriz Kimpa Vita and the Antonian Movement, 1684–1706 (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1998).

(12.) Vanessa S. Oliveira, “Notas preliminares sobre punição de escravos em Luanda (século XIX),” in O colonialismo português—novos rumos da historiografia dos PALOP (Porto, Portugal: Húmuss, 2013), 173; Candido, “Concubinage and Slavery in Benguela, c. 1750–1850”; Mariana P. Candido, “Strategies for Social Mobility: Liasons between Foreign Men and Enslaved Women in Benguela, ca. 1770–1850,” in Sex, Power, and Slavery, ed. Gwyn Campbell and Elizabeth Elbourne (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2014), 272–288; and Vanessa S. Oliveira, “Trabalho escravo e ocupações urbanas em Luanda na segunda metade do século XIX,” in Em torno de Angola. Narrativas, identidades e conexões atlânticas (São Paulo: Intermeios, 2014), 265–267.

(13.) Carlos Alberto Lopes Cardoso, “Ana Joaquina dos Santos Silva, Industrial Angolana da segunda metade do Século XIX,” Boletim Cultural da Câmara Municipal de Luanda 3 (1972): 5–14; Douglas Wheeler, “Angolan Woman of Means: D. Ana Joaquina Dos Santos e Silva, Mid-Nineteenth Century Luso-African Merchant-Capitalist of Luanda,” Santa Barbara Portuguese Studies Review 3 (1996): 284–297; Vanessa S. Oliveira, “Slavery and the Forgotten Women Slave Owners of Luanda (1846–1876),” in Slavery, Memory and Citizenship, ed. Paul E. Lovejoy and Vanessa S. Oliveira (Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2016), 129–147; and John A. Harris, “Circuits of Wealth, Circuits of Sorrow: Financing the Illegal Transatlantic Slave Trade in the Age of Suppression, 1850–66,” Journal of Global History 11, no. 3 (2016).

(14.) For more on Dona Florinda Joanes Gaspar, see Mariana P. Candido, “Women, Family, and Landed Property in Nineteenth-Century Benguela,” African Economic History 43, no. 1 (2015): 136–161. For more on her husband, see Roquinaldo Ferreira, “Biografia como história social: o clã Ferreira Gomes e os mundos da escravização no Atlântico Sul,” Varia Historia 29, no. 51 (2013): 679–719.

(15.) Mariana P. Candido, An African Slaving Port and the Atlantic World: Benguela and Its Hinterland (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 133–135; Oliveira, “Mulher e comércio: A participação feminina nas redes comerciais em Luanda (século XIX)”; and Vanessa S. Oliveira, “The Donas of Luanda, c. 1770–1867: From Atlantic Slave Trading to ‘Legitimate’ Commerce” (PhD diss., York University, 2016). For women outside of areas controlled by colonial forces, see Jessica A. Krug, Fugitive Modernities: Kisama and the Politics of Freedom (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2018).

(16.) Ver Jean-Michel Mabeko-Tali, O MPLA perante a si próprio; dissidências e poder de estado (1962–1977), vol. 1, Ensaio de História Política (Luanda: Nzila, 2001), 126–133.

(17.) Ferreira, Cross-Cultural Exchange, 166–188.

(18.) Kalle Kananoja, “Healers, Idolaters, and Good Christians: A Case Study of Creolization and Popular Religion in Mid-Eighteenth Century Angola,” International Journal of African Historical Studies 43, no. 3 (2010): 443–465.

(19.) James H. Sweet, Recreating Africa: Culture, Kinship, and Religion in the African-Portuguese World, 1441–1770 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003), 170–187; James H. Sweet, “Mutual Misunderstandings: Gesture, Gender and Healing in the African Portuguese World,” Past & Present 203, no. 4 (2009): 128–143; Ferreira, Cross-Cultural Exchange, 1–14, 71–77; and Candido, An African Slaving Port, 229–231.

(20.) Gil, Considerações sobre, 9. For more on sorcery, slavery, and women, see João de Castro Maia Veiga de Figueiredo, “Política, escravatura e feitiçaria em Angola (séculos XVIII e XIX)” (PhD diss., Universidade de Coimbra, 2015), 151–207.

(21.) For the anticolonial and civil war cases of women murdered as witches, see Margarida Paredes, Combater duas vezes: Mulheres na luta armada em Angola (Vila do Conde: Verso da História, 2015); Inge Brinkman, “War, Witches and Traitors: Cases from the MPLA’s Eastern Front in Angola (1966–1975),” Journal of African History 44, no. 2 (2003): 313. For more on witchcraft accusations and their role in maintaining order, see Achim von Oppen, Terms of Trade and Terms of Trust: The History and Contexts of Pre-Colonial Market Production Around the Upper Zambezi and Kasai (Münster: LIT Verlag, 1993), 337–339; David M. Gordon, Invisible Agents: Spirits in a Central African History (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2012), 40–46; Peter Geschiere, The Modernity of Witchcraft: Politics and the Occult in Postcolonial Africa (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1997); Luise White, Speaking with Vampires: Rumor and History in Colonial Africa (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000); and Rosalind Shaw, Memories of the Slave Trade: Ritual and Historical Imagination in Sierra Leone (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2002).

(22.) Linda M. Heywood, “The Growth and Decline of African Agriculture in Central Angola, 1890–1950,” Journal of Southern African Studies 13, no. 3 (1997): 358.

(23.) Aida Freudenthal, Arimos e fazendas: A transição agrária em Angola, 1850–1880 (Luanda: Chá de Caxinde, 2005); M. Anne Pitcher, “Sowing the Seeds of Failure: Early Portuguese Cotton Cultivation in Angola and Mozambique, 1820–1926,” Journal of Southern African Studies 17, no. 1 (1991): 43–70; Jelmer Vos, Kongo in the Age of Empire, 1860–1913: The Breakdown of a Moral Order (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2015); Jeremy Ball, Angola’s Colossal Lie: Forced Labor on a Sugar Plantation, 1913–1977 (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2015); Maria da Conceição Neto, “De escravos a serviçais, de serviçais a contratados: Omissões, percepções e equívocos na história do trabalho africano na Angola colonial,” Cadernos de Estudos Africanos no. 33 (2017): 107–129; Samuël Coghe, “Reordering Colonial Society: Model Villages and Social Planning in Rural Angola, 1920–45,” Journal of Contemporary History 52, no. 1 (2017): 16–44; and Jeremy Ball, “The ‘Three Crosses’ of Mission Work: Fifty Years of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) in Angola, 1880–1930,” Journal of Religion in Africa 40, no. 3 (2010): 331–357.

(24.) Scholars who are committed to raising awareness about gender inequality continue to state that Angolan society culturally tolerates polygamy and oppression of women without interrogating the role of missionaries and colonialism in strengthening these practices. See Marzia Grassi, “O papel da mulher empresária angolana no desenvolvimento do país: Empresárias de Luanda e Benguela,” Economia Global e Gestão 3, no. 1–2 (1998); Claudio Bartolomeu Lopes, “Violência das armas, violência no gênero: Campo fértil das desigualdades,” Katálysis 13, no. 1 (2010): 123; and Pedro Paulo Ramos Ventura, “A contribuição intelectual da mulher angolana no processo de independência da Angola,” Identidade! 19, no. 2 (2014): 108.

(25.) Selina Makana, “Motherhood as Activism in the Angolan People’s War, 1961–1975,” Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism 15, no. 2 (2017): 368. For Lusotropicalism, see Cláudia Castelo, O modo português de estar no mundo: o luso-tropicalismo e a ideologia colonial portuguesa (1933–1961) (Porto, Portugal: Afrontamento, 1998); Maria da Conceição Neto, “Ideologias, contradições e mistificações da colonização de Angola no século XX,” Lusotopie (1997), 327–359; and Jessica A. Krug, “The Strange Life of Lusotropicalism in Luanda: On Race, Nationality, Gender, and Sexuality in Angola,” in Black Subjects in Africa and Its Diaspora. Race and Gender in Research and Writing, ed. Benjamin Talton and Quincy Mills (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), 109–128.

(26.) Vanessa S. Oliveira, “The Gendered Dimension of Trade: Female Traders in Nineteenth Century Luanda,” Portuguese Studies Review 23, no. 2 (2015): 93–121; Vanessa S. Oliveira, “Spouses and Commercial Partners: Immigrant Men and Locally Born Women in Luanda (1831–1859),” in African Women in the Atlantic World. Property, Vulnerability and Mobility, 1680–1880, ed. Mariana P. Candido and Adam Jones (Woodbridge, UK: James Currey, forthcoming); and Candido, “Strategies for Social Mobility.”

(27.) Exceptions include Paredes, Combater duas vezes; and Moorman, “Intimating Nationalism.”

(28.) Margarida Paredes, “Deolinda Rodrigues, da família metodista à família MPLA, o papel da cultura na política,” Cadernos de Estudos Africanos no. 20 (2010): 15–21; Paredes, Combater duas vezes, 109–111; and Makana, “Motherhood as Activism.” Some of Deolinda Rodrigues de Almeida’s letters exchanged with Marcia Glecker, an American missionary who became her friend, are available at Dear Deolinda.

(29.) Paredes, “Deolinda Rodrigues”; Linda M. Heywood, “Unita and Ethnic Nationalism in Angola,” Journal of Modern African Studies 27, no. 1 (1989): 62; Cesaltina Abreu, “‘Xé, minina, não fala política!’, cidadania no feminino: Sine die?” in Angola e as angolanas. Memória, sociedade e cultura, ed. Selma Pantoja, Edvaldo Bergamo, and Ana Claudia da Silva (São Paulo: Intermeios, 2016), 167–186; and Makana, “Motherhood as Activism.”

(30.) Kathleen E. Sheldon, Pounders of Grain: A History of Women, Work, and Politics in Mozambique (Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2002); Elizabeth Schmidt, Mobilizing the Masses: Gender, Ethnicity, and Class in the Nationalist Movement in Guinea, 1939–1958 (Porstmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2005); and Makana, “Motherhood as Activism.”

(31.) Marissa J. Moorman, “Dueling Bands and Good Girls: Gender, Music, and Nation in Luanda’s Musseques, 1961–1974,” International Journal of African Historical Studies 37, no. 2 (2004): 255–288; and Marissa J. Moorman, Intonations: A Social History of Music and Nation in Luanda, Angola, from 1945 to Recent Times (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008).

(32.) Grassi, “Mulher empresária angolana”; Lopes, “Violência das armas,” 121; Paredes, “Deolinda Rodrigues,” 15; Ventura, “Contribuição intelectual da mulher angolana”; and Paredes, Combater duas vezes.

(33.) Abreu, “Xé, minina, não fala política!”; Lopes, “Violência das armas”; and Aili Mari Tripp, Women and Power in Post-Conflict Africa (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015).

(34.) Melo, “Mulher é aquela que ‘comeu o boi’”; and Rosa Maria Amélia João Melo, Identidade e género entre os Handa do sul de Angola (Luanda: Nzila, 2005).

(35.) Gil, Considerações sobre alguns pontos, 23.

(36.) For Agostinho Neto’s criticism of tradition, see Basil Davidson, The Eye of the Storm: Angola’s People (Garden City, NY: Doubleday Anchor, 1973). For essential interpretations of womanhood and motherhood, see, for example, Eugénio Alves Silva, “Tradição e identidade de género em Angola: Ser mulher no mundo rural,” Revista Angolana de Sociologia 8 (2011): 21–34. For a critical interpretation, see Moorman, Intonations; and Makana, “Motherhood as Activism.”

(37.) Abreu, “Xé, minina, não fala política!”; Lopes, “Violência das armas”; and Grassi, “Mulher empresária angolana.”

(38.) Tripp, Women and Power, 117; Lopes, “Violência das armas,” 121; and Horace Campbell, “Angolan Woman and the Electoral Process in Angola, 1992,” Africa Development 18, no. 2 (1993): 23–63.

(39.) Henda Ducado, “An All Men’s Show? Angolan Women’s Survival in the 30-Year War,” Agenda: Empowering Women for Gender Equity 43 (2000): 11–22.

(40.) Grassi, “Mulher empresária angolana,” 215; and Lopes, “Violência das armas,” 121–122.

(41.) Paulo Conceição João Faria, “The Dawning of Angola’s Citizenship Revolution: A Quest for Inclusionary Politics,” Journal of Southern African Studies 39, no. 2 (2013): 293–311; and Mara Eloise Caetano da Silva, “O processo de inserção da mulher no mercado de trabalho angolano: Estratégias, trajectórias e contextos socioprofissionais” (Master's thesis, Social Service and Social Policy, Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologia, 2013).

(42.) Selma Pantoja, “Quintandas e quitandeiras: história e deslocamento na nova lógica do espaço em Luanda,” in África e a Instalação do Sistema Colonial (c. 1885–c. 1935): Actas da III Reunião Internacional de História de África, ed. Maria Emília Madeira Santos (Lisbon: Centro de Estudos de História e Cartografia Antiga, 2000), 175–186; Oliveira, “Mulher e comércio”; Oliveira, “Gender, Production and Trade”; Candido, “Aguide: marchande de Benguela”; and Mariana P. Candido, “As comerciantes de Benguela na virada do século XVIII: O caso de dona Aguida Gonçalves,” in Laços Atlânticos: África e africanos durante a era do comércio transatlântico de escravos, ed. Carlos Liberato et al. (Luanda: Ministério da Cultura/ Museu Nacional da Escravatura, 2017), 231–358.

(43.) Henda Lúcia Ducados and Manuel Ennes Ferreira, “O financiamento informal e as estratégias de sobrevivência económica das mulheres em Angola: A Kixikila no município do Sambizanga (Luanda),” in V Congresso Luso-Afro-Brasileiro de Ciências Sociais (Maputo, Mozambique: CEsA, 1998), 1–17; and Lopes, “Candongueiros, kinguilas, roboteiros e zungueiros. Uma digressão pela economia informal de Luanda.”

(44.) Marissa J. Moorman, “Anatomy of Kuduro: Articulating the Angolan Body Politic after the War,” African Studies Review 57, no. 3 (2014): 21–40; and António Tomás, “Becoming Famous: Kuduro, Politics and the Performance of Social Visibility,” Critical Interventions 8, no. 2 (2014): 261–275. For a study that focuses on women as kuduro producers and singers, see Stefanie Alisch, “Angolan Kuduro: Carga, Aesthetic Dueling, and Pleasure Politics Performed through Music and Dance” (PhD diss., Bayreuth University).

(45.) Tripp, Women and Power, 115.

(46.) Ministério da Educação, Angola, Exame nacional 2015 da educação para todos (Luanda, November 2014), 27–29; Lopes, “Violência das armas,” 124; and Silva, “Tradição e identidade de género em Angola: Ser mulher no mundo rural.”

(47.) Kerry Dolan, “Daddy’s Girl: How an African ‘Princess’ Banked $3 Billion in a Country Living on $2 a Day,” Forbes, September 2, 2013; and Justin Pearce, Didier Péclard, and Ricardo Soares de Oliveira, “Angola’s Elections and the Politics of Presidential Succession,” African Affairs 117, no. 466 (2018).

(48.) Pantoja, Nzinga Mbandi mulher; Mariana Bracks Fonseca, Nzinga Mbandi e as guerras de resistência em Angola, século XVII; da Mata, “Njinga a Mbande”; Heywood, Njinga of Angola; and Thornton, Kongolese Saint Anthony.

(49.) Oliveira, “Trabalho escravo e ocupações urbanas” and “Slavery and the Forgotten Women Slave Owners”; and Candido, “Women, Family, and Landed Property.”

(50.) Joseph Miller, Way of Death: Merchant Capitalism and the Angolan Slave Trade, 1730-1830 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1998); Thornton, “Slave Trade in Eighteenth Century Angola”; and Candido , African Slaving Port.

(51.) Thornton, Kongolese Saint Anthony.

(52.) Linda Heywood, “The growth and decline of African agriculture om central Angola, 1890-1950” Journal of Southern African Studies 13, no. 1 (1987), 355–371, Conceição Neto, “De escravos a serviçais”; and Jelmer Vos, Kongo in the Age of Empire.

(53.) Paredes, “Deolinda Rodrigues, da família metodista à família MPLA” and Combater duas vezes.

(54.) Moorman, Intonations; and Melissa Moorman, “Intimating Nationalism: Gender in the MPLA’s maquis,” in Angola e as angolanas. Memória, sociedade e cultura, ed. Selma Pantoja, Edvaldo Bergamo, and Ana Claudia da Silva (São Paulo: Intermeios, 2016), 187–203.

(55.) Makana, “Motherhood as Activism”; Abreu , “‘Xé, minina, não fala política!’”; and Krug , “Strange Life of Lusotropicalism in Luanda.”

(56.) Melo, Identidade e gênero.

(57.) Lopes, “Violência das armas”; Grassi , “O papel da mulher empresária angolana”; Makana, “Motherhood as Activism”; and Aili Mari Tripp, Women and Power.