Central Africa

Angola Ethnic Groups Part 2

N’ganguela group

Spread over two territories, one on the eastern border and the other on the upper reaches of the Cubango River.

Agriculture in the rainy season, cattle raising, lake fishing and beekeeping are the main economic activities.

The best known n’ganguela subgroup is the luena, ancient lunda-kiocos that adopted the language of the n’ganguelas and received strong cultural influences from Zimbabwe.

They were notable iron smelters and still practice admirable black and polished Ceramics, of artistic modeling. As social aspects, the predominance of male initiation rites stands out. In the arts, they have a certain sculptural production and make a curious series of masks. Some ethnologists admit that the N’ganguelas are the oldest Bantu peoples in the country.

Nyaneka group – humbe

The group is settled in the territories of the middle course of the Cunene river. The Nyaneka are admitted to be the oldest. This ethnic group has a notable organization of Jaga chiefs at the time of the creation of the Humbe-Onene State. It is made up of cattle herders and among the Humbes are some of the great herd owners. Its economy is agricultural, with a predominance of cattle raising, as are its neighbors, the ambós and the Hereros.

The region of the humbes suffered from 1881 the invasion of the Hottentots of Namibia, who arrived on the banks of the Cunene.

As with farmers in the north, farmland is not individual property. Also grasses are common. Among the humbes we find, however, an incredible organization of space. At the cultural level, they express, like the both and the Hereros, influences of the eastern Camitic culture manifested in the institution of sacred cattle.

The courtship of the sacred ox, practiced annually among the Nyanekas, is considered to be reminiscent of the Apis ox cult of ancient Nile altars. In the artistic aspect, the Humbes cultivate the adornment of the body and carry out curious hairstyles, for which they elaborate costumes and ornaments of a varied nature, including the making of finely engraved metallic bracelets. In social life, female puberty rites stand out.

Ambó Group

It occupies a vast territory in the south of the country. In times past they were known as banctubas. Among its populations, it is worth highlighting the Kwanyama subgroup. They are dedicated to agriculture and livestock.

The Kwanyamas became famous in the past for the audacity of their assaults on other people’s corrals and for a certain military organization. In social life, they are characterized by their matriarchal structure, although the man is the representative of authority and the qualified defender of rights. The kinship regime is governed by maternal lineage. The Kwanyama family organization is particularly interesting, a kind of work association in the fifths, where they live, made up of rows of stakes in a labyrinthine arrangement, allowing easy access only to those who know the layout. They are good hunters and skilled horsemen. They show an obvious taste for horsemanship and are owners of a large number of horses, whose possession is a source of prestige for them.

Herero Group

It is made up of the most characteristic ox herders and the owners of the best pastures in Angola. The cuvales are the predominant subgroup.

From a cultural point of view, they practice the art of adornment. It is characteristic of the cuvale woman the sheepskin turban and of the ximba woman the ceremonial triorejera headdress. Ximbas women stand out for their dedication to adornment and wardrobe. They are considered the most elegant among the ethnic groups of the Southeast.

It is commonly accepted that the Herero come from Northeast Africa and that they had an almost pure Hamitic culture. They maintain the cult of sacred cows and venerate the spirits of the deceased.

The cuvales are excellent guides and hunters. Skillful, determined and independent, they are affectionate with friends, but enormously aggressive when offended. They do not allow crossings with other peoples and display a contempt that can reach exaggeration for other ethnic groups that they consider inferior.

Xidonga Group

They are few and they live in the southeastern corner of Angola, a country located in Africa according to EZINERELIGION, between the Cubango and When rivers. The mucusos are the most important group. They practice agriculture and livestock on a small scale.

Foundries, musical instruments and ornaments constitute the most characteristic artistic and technical manifestations of this group, being also skilled in wood crafts and in making animal skin costumes. Its culture is a mixture of characteristics typical of hunters, shepherds and farmers with great influences from the East.

Angola Ethnic Groups 2