From northern rainforests to dry, southern savannas, the South African nation of Angola displays incredible natural diversity. Internal plateaus run into narrow coastal plains, where the majority of Angolans live. The nation’s history is also marked by diversity, which has tragically led to conflict. Differing political ideologies and a struggle for power between competing former liberation movements wreaked havoc throughout the nation and region. Decades of civil war ushered in political and social insecurity, and today Angola is reaping a grim harvest of years gone by.
Established as a Portuguese colony during the 1400s, Angola gained independence in 1975. Upon autonomy, opposing political factions formed by the nation’s two largest ethnic groups erupted in conflict. Civil war, lasting 27 years, claimed many lives and displaced millions more. Finally, in 2002, conflict subdued and a ceasefire was signed. Affected by years of war, Angola has begun the tedious task of reconstruction. The effects of war are ever present, and much of the nation is still inaccessible due to landmines and heavily damaged roads. Though economic progress is surprisingly quick, with the nation becoming a leading producer of oil in Africa, many Angolans live on less than one dollar per day.
Angola’s first president had strong Marxist ideals and promised to eliminate Christianity during his 20-year rule. Unsuccessful in this endeavor, the nation has seen extraordinary growth in biblical Christianity. From 1990 to 2010, Evangelicals quadrupled in number, with over 4 million today! Unfortunately, multiplicity of beliefs and false doctrines permeate many churches, greatly affecting the practical theology of congregants. Only God can weed out incorrect teachings from His churches and transform them into places of peace and safety, able to purely minister to Angola’s spiritually and physically hurting.