Pan African Heritage: Angola

29 Sep

In my fifth edition of my series: Pan African Heritage, today I honour our brothers and sisters from Angola.


Angola is a country in Southern Africa. It is the seventh-largest country in Africa and is bordered by Namibia to the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Zambia to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean to west. The capital and largest city of Angola is Luanda.
The name Angola comes from the Portuguese colonial name Reino de Angola (Kingdom of Angola), appearing as early as Dias de Novais’s 1571 charter. The toponym was derived by the Portuguese from the title ngola held by the kings of Ndongo. Ndongo was a kingdom in the highlands, between the Kwanza and Lukala Rivers, nominally tributary to the king of Kongo but which was seeking greater independence during the 16th century.

There are over 100 distinct ethnic groups and languages/dialects in Angola. The three dominant ethnic groups are the Ovimbundu, Mbundu (better called Ambundu, speaking Kimbundu) and the Bakongo. There are also small numbers of Mestiço (mixed African and European descent) and ethnic white Europeans as well.

Ovimbundu: The largest ethnolinguistic category, the Ovimbundu, were located in west-central Angola, south of Mbundu-inhabited regions. The language of the Ovimbundu is Umbundu.

Mbundu: Just north of Ovimbundu territory lived the Mbundu, the second largest ethnolinguistic category, whose language was Kimbundu

Bakongo: The Kikongo-speaking Bakongo made up an estimated 15 percent of the Angolan population


Angola has an outstanding literary tradition. An important genre has been political poetry, of which the former president Agostinho Neto was a significant representative. The arts, relatively free from censorship, have been an important way to express criticism of the political system. Oral literature is important in many communities, including mermaids in Luandan lore, Ovimbundu trickster tales, and sand graphs and their explication in the east.


Staple ingredients include flour, beans and rice, fish, pork and chicken, various sauces, and vegetables such as sweet potato, tomatoes, onions, and okra. Spices such as garlic are also frequently seen.
Funge is a very common dish. The dish is often eaten with fish, pork, chicken, or beans. Funge de bombo more common in northern Angola, is a paste or porridge of cassava (also called manioc or yuca), made from cassava flour. It is gelatinous in consistency and gray in color. Pirão, yellow in color and similar to polenta, is made from cornflour and is more common in the south. Fubá is the term for the flour that is used to make either funge and pirão. Both foods are often eaten with sauces and juices or with gindungo , a spicy condiment.

Moamba de galinha (or chicken moamba, is chicken with palm paste, okra, garlic and palm oil hash or red palm oil sauce, often served with rice and funge. Both funge and moamba de galinha have been considered the national dish.

Other dishes common in Angolan cuisine include:
Arroz (rice) dishes, including arroz da Ilha (rice with chicken or fish), arroz de garoupa da Ilha, (rice with grouper), and arroz de marisco white rice with seafood, typically prawns, squid, white fish, or lobster).

Cabidela, a dish cooked in blood, served with rice and funge. Frequently chicken (galinha de cabidela, galinha à cabidela), served with vinegar, tomatoes, onion and garlic.

Caldeirada de cabrito, goat meat stew served with rice, a traditional dish for Angolan independence day, November 11.

Fish stews, including caldeirada de peixe, made with “whatever is available” and served with rice, and muzongue , made from whole dried and fresh fish cooked with palm oil, sweet potato, onion, tomato, spinach, and spices, and served with rice, spinach, funje, and farofa; some .
Calulu, dried fish with vegetables, often onions, tomatoes, okra, sweet potatoes, garlic, palm oil, and gimboa leaves (similar to spinach); often served with rice, funge, palm oil beans, and farofa.

Caruru, a shrimp and okra stew.

Catatos, caterpillar fried with garlic, served with rice; a specialty in Uíge

Various homemade spirits are made, including capatica (made from bananas, a Cuanza Norte specialty), caporoto (made from maize, a Malanje specialty); cazi or caxipembe (made from potato and cassava skin); kimbombo (made from corn), maluva or ocisangua (made with palm tree juice, sometimes described as “palm wine, a Northern Angola specialty), ngonguenha (made from toasted manioc flour), and ualende (made from sugarcane, sweet potato, corn, or fruits, a Bie specialty). Other beverages are Kapuka (homemade vodka), ovingundu (mead made from honey), and Whiskey Kota (homemade whisky).

Popular non-alcoholic drinks include Kissangua, a Southern Angola specialty, a traditional non-alcoholic drink made of cornflour, as been used in indigenous healing rituals

Mongozo is a traditional homemade beer made from palm nuts, a specialty of the Lundas (Lunda Norte and Lunda Sul). Mongozo was brewed by the Chokwe people before the arrival of Europeans.


2 Responses to “Pan African Heritage: Angola”

  1. willpowercreations October 2, 2017 at 12:42 pm #

    Thanks for sharing Rosie Motene …My Parents are from Angola and I never visited was nice to read about all the dishes we ate a children .

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