Angola is a country in the Southern African country. It is bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, and lies between Namibia and Zimbabwe on the south, the Democratic Republic of Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east. The country has a varied terrain which encompasses tropical Atlantic beaches, a criss-crossing system of rivers, and sub-Saharan desert that runs right across.
Those are mainly the generally known facts about Angola. But there are other facts that many people do not really know about. For someone intending to visit the country, it is important for you to know. For example, what kind of worship do almost all Angolans take part in? When offered the last serving of a meal, what must you first do? Why do Angolans practice the indirect communication style?
The answers to all these and many others are in the following 12 interesting facts about Angola.
Population; 25,789,024 (2014 Census)
Government: Unitary Presidential Republic
President: Jose Edwardo dos Santos
Currency: Kwanza (AOA)
Interesting Facts About Angola
1. Ancestor Worship
The adherents of Angolan traditional religion and many adherents of even the other religions believe and take part in ancestor worship. It is believed that dead ancestors can do you good or bad depending on how you make them feel. If you are sick, you will likely be advised to appease your ancestors.
2. No Rushed-Greetings
Greeting in Angola, as in many other African countries, entails a firm handshake. Then among close friends, there is also hugging and back slapping. Such greetings are not to be rushed since they include asking about families, business, and matters of general interest. How interesting!
3. Bow to greet Elders
It is also the custom to greet elders first when you meet a group of people. And when you are introduced to and greet the elders or persons of high status, try your best to bow low. This is the local sign of respect in most African countries.
4. No Women-Men Eye Contact
In the rural areas, it is usual to notice that women do not look men in the eyes. In fact, rural women hardly even look each other in the eyes. But this is more marked among the young than in the older women. Women visitors do well to bear this interesting part in mind.
5. Gift Giving
Gift giving is not really part of the Angolan cultural tradition. However, gift giving is well practiced in the urban areas. And when you are invited to the home of an Angolan for a meal, it is good manners to take along gifts such as fruits and chocolates…and something nice for their kids.
6. Very Hospitable
Angolans are very hospitable. They love to entertain guests in their homes. But some who have imbibed western cultures also enjoy entertaining guests in restaurants as well. Dress code for such occasions is formal…as you would dress in the office. Interesting!
7. Decline at First
If during the meal you are offered the last serving of an item, try to decline at first. The host will then offer it again, and then again. It is after the third of even fourth time that you should then accept the offer. What makes this interesting is that …it is just the custom.
8. Indirect Communication
The communication system is indirect. This is because Angolans are more interested in pleasing you than telling you the truth. If you ask a question for which the direct answer might make you sad, Angolans would likely not answer you truthfully. Wow! Is that interesting or what?!
9. Be Wary of Assurances
When Angolans assure you vehemently, try to find other ways to authenticate such assurances. For this reason, refrain from asking questions requiring a monosyllabic answer of YES or NO. Rather, ask questions that require explanations and then weigh your answers.
10. Build Relationships Slowly
Angolans love to do business with people they know and trust. They spend a long time to build relationships to assure themselves they can trust the person they are doing business with. If you intend to do business with them, you must take time to build trust too.
11. No Personal Space Required
Angolans do not require personal space during conversations. Do not back away even if you think the person is too close to you. If you do so, they might take offence. And if they do not take offence, they would just step closer and close the gap.
12. Indirect Eye-Contact is Respectful
When speaking with someone who is older than you or is senior to you in status, try to engage in indirect eye contact rather than the direct one. It is interesting to note that women as a rule do not make direct eye contact when speaking with men.