Namibe (a.m.) / Lubango (p.m.), Angola

  • Date
  • 29 May 2000

Cabinda is a sad, depressing town reflecting very little investment since the 1974-75 independence struggle. The trash-plagued city has mostly paved pot-holed streets and remaining ones consist of red dirt. I saw several buildings that were bombed or set ablaze during the war. Since then, the structures remain untouched, except by squatters who live there with no electricity or running water. The Congresso Hotel is a prime example – the premier hotel of the city in its day but now a crumbling, decaying slum with burned out rooms and no glass panes in the window holes filled with laundry hanging out. We did see some investment in the form of a new university (no computers), new library (no books) and a new telephone office, but for the most part this region is neglected. Because of a quirk of 19th century history, this area is detached from the main body of Angola, which refuses to allow Cabinda independence since the region has the majority of Angola’s lucrative oil.