Loving Luanda the way the locals do

Loving Luanda the way the locals do
By Euronews
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The Marginal is Luanda's beautiful promenade and is perhaps the most alluring spot of all. When the midday heat is past and many people head to it and the beach.


Luanda is an African metropolis; 10 million people live here and it's being rapidly modernised with the revenues Angola receives from selling vast quantities of oil.

Its Lisbon-style old town dates back to 1576 when the Portuguese first invaded and began building a settlement. They stayed for four centuries, more than any other colonial power in sub-Saharan Africa. When they were finally driven out and Angola gained its independence in 1976, they were the last European power to give up a major colony.

Micaela Reis who was a Miss Universe finalist and became Angola's first Miss Africa, is now a TV presenter and knows her city well.

"The city has changed a lot, we have seen a lot of old buildings being teared down and new ones coming up. Now we are building new stuff because we are looking to our future," she said.

Her father was from Portugal but she feels her African roots are stronger and Angola is her home.

"Tradition is really important for Angolan people. We have the "Pensador", the "thinker“. Most every Angolan has one at home. When I went to Miss Universe, you had to bring something traditional from your country, and I took one of these.“

The figure of the elderly Pensador is to Angolans what Uncle Sam is to Americans, an emblem of their people.

He or she represents the wisdom, experience of long years and knowledge of the secrets of life - and as with the rest of Africa the elders of society are greatly respected.

But as important as tradition is, Angola's population is mostly young, and the young generation is looking firmly to the future.

Luanda's art scene is a blend of both ancient and modern and Sofia Lucas, who presents the Cooltura programme on Zimba TV, says it's attracting more and more attention worldwide.

"There's a very strong art scene coming up here in Angola. You have a group of artists that are always looking backwards, but you have another group, putting their own "Angolanity" in their job, their art, " she says.

The Marginal is Luanda's beautiful promenade and is perhaps the most alluring spot of all. When the midday heat is past many people head to it and the beach.

"The beach life here in Luanda is really important, especially on the weekends. That's all we do, we come to the beach, we cook the beach, we spend the whole day at the beach. It's part of our lifestyle," Reis says.

The day comes to an end, and the best place for a sundowner one of the beach clubs on the Ilha, the peninsula which protect Luanda's port.

And back in town, on the roof terrace of the Junkembo there is live music to relax to.

"Music is really important for us. We love to dance, we love to listen to music.. its in our blood since ever... and dance, too," Reis says proudly.

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