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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Towards an Understanding of Modern Political Ideology in Africa: The Case of the Ovimbundu of Angola
Author:Heywood, Linda M.ISNI
Year:1998
Periodical:Journal of Modern African Studies
Volume:36
Issue:1
Period:March
Pages:139-167
Language:English
Geographic term:Angola
Subjects:nationalism
political ideologies
Ovimbundu
politicians
Politics and Government
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
About person:Jonas Malheiro Savimbi (1934-)ISNI
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/161640
Abstract:In 1992, a few months before the historic United Nations monitored elections in Angola, several national newspapers in America and Europe ran headline stories which accused Jonas Savimbi, the leader of UNITA, of conducting witchcraft trials and burnings of witches at his liberation base at Jamba. The revelations, provided by high-ranking defectors from UNITA, caused an outcry among both critics and supporters, with all predicting Savimbi's ignominious defeat. Yet despite these predictions, Savimbi maintained the support of many Angolans, especially the Ovimbundu. The witchcraft allegations provide an opportunity to examine the continuing links between precolonial African political ideology and modern African nationalism. To do this, the author first highlights some pertinent elements of the precolonial Ovimbundu political ideology and explores their adaptation to Catholic and Protestant evangelizing and colonial machinations. Then she analyses the nationalist campaign in the Ovimbundu highlands since the 1960s and shows that Savimbi's willingness to incorporate rituals and beliefs from the Ovimbundu helped to legitimize his role as one of the architects of modern Angolan nationalism. She argues that UNITA's African-influenced nationalism will present a formidable obstacle to the full integration of the Ovimbundu and other rural populations into a modern Angolan State. Notes, ref.
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