Angola has been brutalized by the civil war, which only ended in 1992. The war's adverse effect on every facet of Angola's post-independence life is clearly evident in the range of topics covered in this volume. The human cost of the war can be counted in the enormous loss of life and large-scale population displacement and in the continued postwar deaths and serious injuries inflicted by mines. The war also severely stunted economic growth and the development of necessary social services. However, since the end of the war Angola is slowly progressing. Many people have returned to their homes to continue their life. The task of rebuilding has been greatly assisted by humanitarian aid.
Readers will learn about the nearly 100 ethnolinguistic groups and their various ways of life. Oyebade shows how religion defines the cultural character of the country. Christianity, the dominant religion, is portrayed as more urban-based, popular among the educated elite and middle class. Indigenous religious practices, still popular particularly in the rural areas, are covered as well. Oyebade celebrates the prolific Portuguese-language literary output and the skilled Angolan artists. Discussion of the traditional foods, ceremonies, music and dance, and more rounds out the coverage.