Sunday, January 31, 2010

Luanda celebrates 434 years

The city of Luanda celebrated its 434th birthday yesterday afternoon – making it one of Africa’s oldest cities. (The City of Luanda day was on Monday.) The Angola Field Group sent out general invitations to the celebrations downtown in the large square close to the marginal.

We arrived about an hour and a half after the festivities started (we wanted to avoid the midday heat) and were just in time to catch the end of a capoeira demonstration. These people are incredibly highly skilled & it is fascinating to watch. We were a little surprised at the small turn out – we saw people from the Angolan Field group of course and several other teachers from school, but the audience seemed to be mostly “tourists” (as such exists in Luanda) with few locals. This is a shame, as the event was organised to raise awareness about the need to preserve Luanda’s cultural heritage – in particular the old buildings (many of which are in a state of disrepair) that date back to Portuguese colonial times. There were bus trips and walking tours organised and the later were well attended by kids in particular. Bill & I didn’t really want to sit in a bus (even though one of the bus tours was in English), so I can’t say what the tours were like.

About five minutes after the capoeira had finished, we saw a big group of people coming into the square. This was one of the dancing groups that take part in Carnival – and they were all dressed up for the event. It was fantastic – they were enthusiastic and cheerful and the dancing was very spirited. Great for taking photos! Afterwards we got a few more shots, but they left quite quickly and there didn’t seem to be much else happening soon. The heat was pretty intense, and we figured we were happy with what we’d already seen, so we decided to give up while we were ahead, and go home. It was a very nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon though.


Kenya Safaris said...

Wow! 434 years?? Thats amazing i didnt know that there were African countries that were that old.

Sakin said...

It's really amazing, but for south region of Africa. In north, countries and cities are very old, like Egypt;).