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material culture, migration and everyday life

Tag: Luanda

Notes from the field: Luanda #2 Angolan Media analysis

Within the scope of the project Transits, we have decided to conduct a media content analysis, considering the online available written press, between January 2017 and June 2018. It will focus on the production of media representations about “migrants”, “emigrants”, “immigrants”, “expatriates” and other related terms.

Focusing on the flows from and to Berlin, Luanda, Lisbon and Sydney, this analysis will explore the way migrants and migrations are represented in the public sphere, as well as the type and degree of acceptation/hostility these populations are facing in the contexts of analysis. The type of news that is being privileged by the selected press will also be an object of study.

The survey in the Angolan press focus on two daily newspapers: Jornal de Angola and O País.

The preliminary analysis for the Angolan media is divided into three items: general migration flows to Angola, conjuncture in Portugal and Angola, general migration flows in the world. In the first and second items, brief content analysis will be carried out, in the item general migration flows in the world will only be described as the kind of news that each newspaper focuses more.

This post, in addition to the brief biographical reference of the newspapers, contemplates a brief content analysis regarding the item general migration flows to Angola, taking into account the more focused themes in the different sections of the respective newspapers. In the next post about Luanda#3, the analysis will focus on the items conjuncture in Portugal and Angola and general migration flows in the world.

Jornal de Angola

At the time of Angolan Independence on 11th November 1975, the newspaper Província de Angola, founded on August 16th 1923 by Adolfo Pina, owned by Companhia Gráfica de Angola, S.A., changed its name to Jornal de Angola. In June 1976, Agostinho Neto, then President of the Republic, nationalized the journal under the Decree-Law nº 51/76 (Supplement of the Jornal de Angola, 26th June 2016, pp. 2,4).

The journal’s headquarters are located in Empresa Gráfica de Angola, S.A., where it started to operate and continues to do so through the publishing company Edições Novembro, E.P. Its current editions include:

Jornal de Angola (http://jornaldeangola.sapo.ao//);

Jornal dos Desportos http://jornaldosdesportos.sapo.ao/);

Jornal Angolano de Arte e Letras (http://jornalcultura.sapo.ao/);

Economia & Finanças (http://jornaldeeconomia.sapo.ao/empresas).

Jornal de Angola is a daily newspaper, controlled by the Angolan State. It celebrated 43 years in June of 2019.

Distributed in the country’s 18 provinces, it has a daily average distribution of 12,934 copies, through direct sales and by subscription. Luanda, Moxico and Benguela are the provinces where the largest number of sales is reported (Supplement of the Jornal de Angola, 26th June 2016, p.3).

The online publication of news is distributed in the following sections: “Politics”, “Reports”, “Opinion”, “World”, “Economy”, “Provinces”, “Society”, “People”, “Culture” and “Sport”.

 At the weekend Jornal de Angola also publishes notebooks and supplements. The selection of themes and news is varied. It can fall on a determined theme – fashion, technology and management, etc.  – or focus more on the social, cultural and economic field of one of the provinces of Angola.

O País

The newspaper O País, founded in November 2008 by the Medianova group, recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary. The online publication of news is distributed by the sections: “Politics”, “Society”, “Economy”, “Opinion”, “Culture”, “World” and “Sport”.

The Grupo Medianova, the largest private communication group in Angola, is the owner of Zimbo TV, Rádio Mais, the newspapers O País and Semanário Económico, the Revista Vida and Revista Exame.

Angolan press – preliminary analysis / General migration flows to Angola [1]

Jornal de Angola O País
Section Number of news Section Number of news
Policy 208 Policy 52
World 154 Culture 35
Sport 137 Economy 20
Economy 111 Society 18
Society 52 Opinion 12
People 49 Sport 12
Culture 49 World 5
Provinces 19 Grand total 154
Opinion 8    
Report 5    
Notebooks and supplements    
Suplemento fim-de-semana 5    
Jornal Metropolitano da Capital Angolana 2    
Grand total 799    

The more focused topics in the two newspapers news about general migratory flows to Angola are:

Migration policies

Visa waiver program, flow regulation, expulsion and repatriation of illegal immigrants, detention.

Borders

Trade, security and control, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Namibia, Republic of Congo, and Zambia.

Refugees

Exodus, borders, welcoming, census, biometric registration, support and financing, repatriation (voluntary/involuntary), return, detention.

Political economy

Foreign investment, foreign workers, national production, import-export, The new Regime for Foreign Nationals, The New Foreign Investment Law.

United Nations data showed that there were 106,845 immigrants in Angola for the year 2015, which is equivalent to only 0.4% of the population of the country. The three most represented nationalities were Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) (40%/), Portugal (15%/) and Cape Verde (10%/).

When talking about migrant populations, Angolan newspapers appear to only report on citizens of DRC and Portugal in Angola, but not Cape Verdeans. These papers also report a strong presence of “Chinese” and “West African” immigration (Malians, Senegalese, Guineans, Gambians, Mauritanians, etc.) to Angola. However, “Chinese” immigration to Angola is rarely identified in official statistical sources.

As we will see, daily life (civic participation, reception networks, residential insertion, professional, leisure practices, etc.) of Portuguese immigrants in Angola, little or nothing is highlighted in the news of the two newspapers (as regards the period under review). On the other hand, there are several reports that talk about immigrants and refugees of the Democratic Republic of Congo in Angola. The influx of immigrants and refugees from the DRC coincides with political turmoil within eastern DRC.

This is most relevant in seven of the 18 provinces of Angola (Cabinda, Zaire, Malanje, Uíge, Lunda Norte, Lunda Sul and Moxico) which share a border with the DRC. The Jornal de Angola has called this shared border ‘the gateway for many illegal immigrants’, mainly from the DRC and West Africa. The lack of resources and border control mechanisms and the formation of migration networks to aid immigration also appear as factors that support and encourage “illegal” immigration into Angola.

As one would expect, the news reports grossly overestimate migrants’ incidence of participation in illegal immigration and crime. These news articles are most often presented through essentialist, deterministic and descriptive perspectives of the complexity of migratory flows to Angola. The centrality of the issue is so great that several pieces describe in detail the number of illegal immigrants registered, as well as the number, degree and type of offenses or crimes committed.

News reports on the experiences of migrants from a perspective of illegality and criminality mainly describe crimes of – quoted and translated from reports – smuggling (of various types of goods) or financial crime, falsification of documents, sale of narcotics (“liamba”), illegal logging and diamond smuggling, poaching, forest devastation (for logging), and the involvement of nationals (ordinary citizens and sobas/“traditional authorities”) and foreigners in networks of aid to illegal immigration.

There are some reports of homicide and abduction of immigrants in Angola. Chinese entrepreneurs based in Angola appear to suffer the most from this type of violence.

As I mentioned earlier, the centrality of the issue of migration from the point of view of illegal immigration and crime is so great that several pieces describe in detail the number of illegal immigrants, the degree and type of crimes, etc. The dissemination of these numbers wins emphasis through official figures called on to talk about migration (police, provincial governors, other politicians), much to the detriment of the voices of the immigrants or of another approach to migration.

Officials called to talk about migration have included: National Police, Angolan Armed Forces, Angola Border Guard Police, Migration and Foreigners Service, Criminal Investigation Service, Detention Center for Illegal Foreigners, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Anibal de Melo Press Center, etc.

There is a systematic convergence of the news articles on the need to adopt policies for security and border control and regulation of migration flows. The news does not contemplate any form of policy formulation for the socio-cultural integration of immigrants and granting nationality.

Needless to say, officials called to speak about migration present the public with several controversial speeches. In several reports, it is argued that the presence of “illegal immigrants” puts “the country’s sovereignty and the economy at risk”, namely: “national unity”, “territorial integrity of the country”, “peace” and “stability in the construction of the nation”.

The repeated representation propagated about the condition of migrants through notions such as “emigrant”, “immigrant”, “foreigner”, “expatriate” (and others…), regardless of your legal background (“illegal”, “legal”, “resident”, “non-resident”, etc.), suggest a confused notion of its meaning.

Described as “transgressors”, “undocumented”, “irregular”, “clandestine”, (but also) “citizens”, the illegal “immigrants”, “foreigners”, “refugees”, “expatriate”…, are often the target of negative narratives that include violence, prejudice, informal market (poverty/ unemployment/social problems/forms of survival), bribery, corruption, convictions, surveillance, repatriation, expulsion and detention.

However, the notions of “foreigner” and “expatriate” also appear in some parts concerning certain labour flows (“Portuguese entrepreneurs”, “Chinese entrepreneurs”, “foreign worker”, etc.) and certain types of consumption, such as real estate demand.

Homogenized ethnic categories and status of nationality are used to serve as generic names about the status of migrant: “citizens of the DRC”, “DRC foreigners”, “foreigners from the Republic of Congo”, “citizens of Congolese nationality”, “citizens of West African countries”, “citizens of the Central African Republic” the “foreigners of Congo Brazzaville”, “citizens of Asian origin”, “Cameroon”, “Malian”, “Chinese”, etc.

Poor profiling of migrants in terms of their migration objectives, education, employment, age, resources, family dynamics, etc. does not mean that there aren’t sometimes references to gender, age (“men”, “women”, “children”) and/or regions of origin migrants or refugees (“Kaisai refugees”).

1] The difference in the number of news between the two newspapers is due to the fact that the online version (not paid) of the newspaper O PAÍS, unlike Jornal de Angola, only provides a limited number of news by section. As new news comes in, others are no longer available. Faced with this limitation, the collected of news in the newspaper O País (started in March 2018) only covers the period from November 14th 2017 to June 30th 2018, for each section. The World section of the newspaper O País contemplates only news about Africa (this also explains the difference in the number of news between the two newspapers, to the world section). And the Sports Section (of the newspaper O País) although it refers to soccer news only, some publications cover other modalities. It was in the policy section where we collected more news.

Notes from de field: Luanda #1, Observing the city of Luanda

Founded in 1576, Luanda is the most populated province in the country. At the time of independence, it had about 500,000 inhabitants (Colaço 1992, p. 5). In 2014, the INE/AO [1] estimated a population of around 6.5 million living in Luanda (INE/AO 2014, pp. 23, 27; INE/AO, 2016, p. 32), corresponding to 27% of the total population of the country and a density of 347 inhabitants per km².

The same source reports that 53% of the population of the territory is concentrated in only four provinces of the country: Luanda, Huíla, Benguela and Huambo (INE/AO 2015, p. 35). Furthermore, approximately 80% of the companies in Angola are located in four provinces (Luanda, Benguela, Huíla and Cuanza Sul). They employ about 53.5% of the workers. Benguela is the second province, after Luanda, with the highest concentration of companies (data referring to the period between 2003 and 2014) (INE/ AO, 2015, pp. 114-139).

The historical, political, economic and social impact of colonialism and the long periods of armed violence experienced in Angola – during the war for independence, under the process of decolonization and the civil war that broke out after independence – created organizational and developmental particularities in Angolan society, influencing group relations and individual attitudes.

Luanda is not only the capital of Angola but also a city constituted by a series of contrasts and realities, within which the structure of relations, networks and exchanges are shaped by the coexistence of distinct social conditions and multiple asymmetries and lifestyles.

With population growth and the effects of a prolonged war, several neighborhoods were expanded towards the periphery of Luanda. Characterized by precarious construction and lack of sanitation [2], these spaces of horizontal occupation and unplanned urban diffusion became sites of discrimination, standing in contrast to neighborhoods equipped with urban services and necessary infrastructure. These poor neighborhoods differ distinctly from the musseques of colonial times based on the forms of occupation of the spaces and the materials used for construction (especially cement). They cover more than 50% of the areas of the city (Colaço 1992) [3]. 

The stories in these neighborhoods do not describe only lifestyles of poverty, misery and improvisation (Carvalho 1992), unemployment and school failure of an undifferentiated, proletarian and low-income population (Monteiro 1973). Contrary to the characterization of Monteiro (1973), we find different groups in the so-called musseques. They are differentiated by countries of origin and distinct migratory trajectories, including by their origin in the different regions of the country, the time of arrival in Luanda, coming from both urban centers and rural areas, the ethnic composition and internal diversity of the groups themselves, different religious communities of belonging, and other different networks. The distribution and spatial concentrations within the neighborhoods show distinct forms of occupation: one area may be dominated by a particular ethnic group, another may have a more diverse population, others still would have new arrivals, and some parts may be more impoverished, and so on.

In a civil society which lacks local management able to provide basic means of social organization (housing, employment, etc.), the informal market enables many individuals and families to acquire financial support or livelihood. Practised by thousands of Angolans on a permanent or occasional basis [4], informal commerce makes the Angolan capital the city of “street vendors”: the zungueira [5] or quitandeira, the roboteiro [6], the walking vendor [7]. Areas with high pedestrian movement, markets and sales outlets are significant social microcosms, not independent realities, of the organizational processes of any peripheral neighborhood or specific zone. Many Angolans practice their main economic activity there, thus guaranteeing family subsistence.

For many Angolan families, economic management is through buying (usually small quantities due to lack of capital) and selling whilst functioning under an unstable economic structure that is unable to support capital investment for medium or long-term bases. However, its economy is not only “buy-and-sell”, but also a gender economy. In many families, it is mainly women who play a central role in raising economic means of family subsistence. They sell in the larger markets or use these to buy the products they sell door-to-door, in the surrounding neighborhoods, in the smaller markets or as zungueiras (at outlets or around the city). The small profit from the daily sale of the retail products guarantees their daily sustenance.

The informal market is not the only structural problem in the city of Luanda. Decades of armed conflict, the sharp population increase, lack of an urban program of conservation, construction, alteration, recovery and expansion of the city (streets, sanitation, buildings, etc.), caused great wear of urban equipment and services provided to citizens. The lack of schools, hospitals, housing, the degradation of buildings and public roads, a poor sanitation and garbage collection network, a poor energy and water supply network, a significant increase in anarchic construction, urban crime, juvenile delinquency, without forgetting the chaotic traffic and “gasosa” [8], incorporate and interconnect the complex housing and social problems of Luanda.

The agglomeration of urban garbage in the streets and neighborhoods of the city, along with the climatic conditions (especially in the “hot and rainy season”), make Luanda an area of a high incidence of endemic diseases like cholera, malaria, yellow fever, etc.

In response to urban criminality and juvenile delinquency, two salient realities in the recent post-war context guards armed with Kalashnikovs are often stationed at various commercial spaces, companies, banks, properties, etc.

The chaotic traffic [9], as well as the candongueiros [10] and their famous blue and white Toyota Hiace, are part of the daily agitations of city life. Candongueiros represent the most popular passenger transport in Luanda (equivalent to collective taxis) [11] and appeared via private initiative as public transport was deteriorating without being replaced. Many private car and motorcycles owners [12] also carry passengers, in addition to the recent, oversized and overly expensive (for ordinary citizens) formal taxis network.

Likewise, ever present in various acts of citizens’ daily life is the payment of “gasosa”. A bribery mechanism used as a means of expediting a process, purchased favour, avoiding a traffic ticket (with or without fault), lowering the cost of a service provided/bought (with profit for both parties), etc.

Marked by urbanization patterns of colonial times and Marxist housing policies of the 1980s and 1990s, Luanda is now a city under construction and in transformation. Urban planning is in open confrontation with real estate development, with accelerated growth. 

It is the real estate explosion (modern buildings, luxury hotels, head office, restaurants, leisure spaces, etc.) alongside poorer neighborhoods where many thousands of Angolans live under the stigma of suburban marginality, violence, unemployment, school failure, to name a few (Viegas 2011, 2012, Croese 2012, Robson 2001).

A trip through the new expressway to South Luanda/Talatona shows a city of contrasts. On the one hand, the musseques and enormous precariousness, on the other, luxury condominiums, expensive houses and the Belas shopping Center [13].

Around Luanda, there are several cities and municipalities (Quilamba, Zango, Viana, Belas, Cacuaco) destined for an emerging middle class, built by Chinese, Portuguese, Brazilian and Angolan companies. New centralities as they call it. Providing various types of services (schools, nurseries, supermarkets, pharmacies, etc.), emerged from the need to reduce population concentration from the densely populated city centre to the periphery.

Similarly, noble areas of the city are being recovered. The promenade was recovered by the Portuguese construction companies Soares da Costa and Mota-Engil and the Luanda island by the Brazilian Odebrecht.

Along with real estate development and accelerated construction, schools and hospitals have also been built. However, there are still teachers and doctors missing. In some municipalities, it is difficult to find suitable schools and stable teaching staff. Public health presents many failures despite the strengthening of these professionals through agreements with Cuba, South Korea and Vietnam, as well as the private sector, in this case, at very high prices.

The differential coexistence of distinct social conditions and multiple asymmetries and lifestyles still stands out through forms of conviviality and consumption (such as imported luxury cars, branded luxury stores, leisure in fashionable restaurants and bars of Luanda Island, escapes to Mussulo Island, Cabo Ledo or Sangano, etc.). That includes not only the elite and middle-class Angolan, wealthy or emerging but also members of diplomatic corps and several expatriates, including Portuguese. Among Angolans and Portuguese, the term “tugolândia” is used to describe how some of the Portuguese migrants organize taxonomies of difference and distinction, selecting and attending leisure spaces in the Angolan capital, especially among peers.

[1] Nation Institute of Statistics – Angola.
[2] Neighborhoods born in colonial times and commonly known as “musseques”. The word musseque means “sand place” (mu = place, seke = sand) in Kimbundo, in reference to the sandy soil with reddish colour characteristic of Luanda.
[3] The author distributes the occupation of the spaces of the city of Luanda through four zones: the modern area (the downtown of Luanda), a transition area (former musseques in the process of urbanization), the periphery (musseques side by side with new neighborhoods), and an expanding area (new centralities as they currently call it), which is part of the project Luanda Sul.

[4] As a way to get money in times of “tightening”: illness of a family member, unemployment, etc.

[5] Women who walk the streets carrying merchandise on their heads or fixing themselves in specific points of the city of Luanda (markets, public squares, neighborhoods, entrances of supermarkets, arcades, street corner, crossings, etc.). They sell different products: fruit, fresh fish, dried fish, jinguba (peanut), homemade yogurt, cooked meals or meals cooked at the point of sale, industrialized products, cards with balance for mobile phone, etc. Some women, known as the “kinguilas“, are dedicated exclusively to the business of buying and selling foreign exchange on the street.
[6] Transporters of goods in hand pushed wheel carts, manufactured with wooden planks.
[7] Young people who circulate in the traffic and sell an almost unimaginable variety of products: fresh drinks (water, juices, beer), newspapers, magazines, tobacco, batteries, mobile phone chargers, but also hairbrushes, toilet brushes, hangers, toothbrushes, clothing, tools, appliances, etc.
[8] The act or effect of bribing (in cash or kind) someone who provides or facilitates a lucrative agreement. Although many of those who are confronted with “gasosa” requests in traffic, public services, etc., try to resist, most give in to the fact that it is more economical and practical to pay for “gasosa” than to follow the legal route.
[9] Many companies and entrepreneurs based in Luanda choose to hire experienced drivers in local traffic. To drive in Luanda, it is necessary to consider three fundamental rules: “circulate as far left as possible; the priority belongs to those who arrive first or with more speed; the larger vehicle is always right”.
[10] The term derives from the word candonga, used since the colonial period to refer to activities of smuggling and illegal trade.
[11] There is an extensive network of candongueiros throughout the city. The cost of a trip is around 150 Kwanzas (between € 0.40 to € 0.80 depending on the exchange rate), but the amount can go up taking into account the time of day or the weight of the passenger.
[12] Without specific designation of passenger transport service, nor taximeter, they call their customers by waving their arms.
[13] The first Shopping Center built in Angola, inaugurated on March 27, 2007.

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