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Who is who in Angola
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Pepetela: The old school
Angolan literature, like other literatures from former Portuguese colonies and any other colony for that matter that had to fight for its independence was built on the need for creating a national identity and a sense of selfworth. This is a cause that mobilised Angolan intellectuals including President Agostinho Neto who also wrote poetry.
Independence for Angola was not only political or economic but also cultural. Artur Carlos Mauricio Pestana dos Santos better known as Pepetela was very much part of these Angolan intellectuals. Furthermore, he symbolises the aspiration of an all inclusive society (black, white and mulatos) that drove the pioneers of the MPLA. Pepetela was born in Benguela in 1941. Although born in a family of Portuguese settlers which even had military connections, he received an open upbringing which introduced him to progressive ideals. Pepetela left Benguela to attend High School in Lubango before going to University in Portugal.

Pepetela’s time at University in Portugal coincided with the beginning of the colonial war back in Angola. He was summoned to join the Portuguese army but flees and joins the MPLA and help creates a Centre for Angolan Studies in Algiers (1963) and Brazzaville (1969). Pepetela spends the rest of the war on the eastern front of Cabinda. This time served as the inspiration for Pepetela’s first literary works, the war narrative, Mayombe and his first novels, Muana Puó and As Aventuras de Ngunga.

Nelo Paim: The new school

Manuel Prado Fernandes da Silva better known as Nelo Paim was born on 27th June 1976. Music runs in his family. His cousin Neto de Prado Paim and his brother of Eduardo Paim are both prominent musicians. Nelo Paim is one of most prolific Kizomba producer and artist. Alongside his brother they have dominated this music genre.

Leila Lopes: The queen
On September 12, 2011, Leila Lopes was crowned Miss Universe in Sao Paolo in Brazil. She was born on February 26, 1986 in Benguela. Whilst studying business management at the University Campus Suffolk of Ipswich in England, she participated in Miss Angola UK on October 8, 2010. Lopes won the title, giving her the opportunity to represent the British Angolan Community in the pageant taking place in Luanda in 2011. She beat 20 other candidates on December 18, 2010, gaining the right to represent her country in Miss Universe 2011.

She also won the Photogenic Award during the Miss Angola contest in Luanda. Leila Lopes is the fourth African to win the Miss Universe title since the beginning of the worldwide pageant after winners from South Africa in 1978, Namibia in 1992, and Botswana in 1999. She is actively involved in raising awareness about HIV/AIDS and the discrimination that people with the disease experience.

The national basketball team: The country’s princesses

Football might be king in Angola but basketball is catching up quite fast. Angolan basketball is certainly the best in Africa. The ladies team participated to 6 World Championships and 5 Olympic Games whilst the men’s team participated to 8 Olympic Games and won 9 continental titles. Currently ranked 13th in the world, the Angolan male basketball team are the number one team in Africa.

Pedro Manuel Torres a.k.a. “Mantorras”: Mr. gifted
In a country where football rules, to be the most gifted player that your country has produced instantly gives you star status. Yet, from the saying that “with every gift comes a curse” can apply to Mantorras for he never lived to the expectation created by his abilities due to bad luck. The Angolan striker derives his nickname Mantorras from the Angolan expression “Mano Torras,” which means “Toasted brother” due to the accidental burns he suffered as a child.

Born in Huambo, 18 March 1982 his father died when he was three months old and his mother when he was 16. Mantorras started his career at Progresso Associação do Sambizanga. He quickly caught the eye of Portuguese scouts. He transferred to F.C. Alverca shortly thereafter. At only 19 Mantorras signed with Benfica where he spent the remainder of his career. In 2002, Mantorras suffered a serious knee injury from which he never truly recovered. One month shy of his 29th birthday, he announced his retirement from professional football. Mantorras was named CAF Young Player of the year in 2001 and he represented his country at the World Cup in Germany in 2006 and the African Cup of Nation on home soil in 2010.

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