ANTÓNIO AGOSTINHO NETO was born on September 17, 1922, in the village of Kaxicane, region of Icolo and Bengo, about 60 km from Luanda.
Her father was pastor and teacher of the Protestant church, and like her mother, she was also a teacher. After finishing high school in Luanda, Neto worked in health services. He would soon become a prominent figure in the nationalist cultural movement which, during the forties, experienced a phase of vigorous expansion.
Determined to graduate in Medicine, Neto set aside part of his meager earnings for several years, and it was with these savings that he embarked for Portugal in 1947 and enrolled in the Faculty of Medicine of Coimbra. There was not a single higher education institution in Cologne. The student who wished to continue his studies was forced to do so at the cost of great sacrifice and had to achieve a remarkable academic status in extremely difficult conditions of poverty and racial discrimination. Studying first in Coimbra and later in Lisbon, he was awarded a scholarship by American Methodists two years after his arrival in Portugal.
He soon engaged in political activities and first experienced arrest in 1951, when he was arrested when he was signing up for the World Peace Conference in Stockholm.
Resuming the political activities after his liberation, Neto became representative of the Youth of the Portuguese colonies next to a Portuguese youth movement, the juvenile MUD. And it was during a rally of students attended by workers and peasants that PIDE arrested him for the second time.
Arrested in February 1955, he was only released in June 1957.
By the time of his arrest in 1955 a booklet with his poems appeared. However, certain poems describing the bitter living conditions of the Angolan people and the poet's fervent belief in the future had already crossed the wall of silence that Portugal had erected over its repression of the democrats and the brutal crimes which were perpetrated in the colonies.
The case of the prisoner of the Angolan poet unleashed a wave of large-scale protests. Meetings were held; letters were written and petitions signed by leading French intellectuals such as Jean-Paul Sartre, André Mauriac, Aragon and Simone de Beauvoir, Cuban poet Nicolás Gullén and Mexican painter Diogo Rivera. In 1957 he was elected Political Prisoner of the Year by Amnesty International.
On 10 December 1956 several patriotic movements were formed in Angola to form the MPLA, Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola, the movement that would launch the armed struggle of the Angolan people against a fascist and obstinate Portugal, whose economic and social structures were too obsolete to allow the application of neocolonialist solutions sought elsewhere. Beginning to organize itself in urban areas, among progressive workers and intellectuals, the MPLA would soon show its remarkable flexibility and adaptability to the demands of the moment when it started the armed struggle, creating an army of the people to conduct a war that the poet would lead.
In 1958, Agostinho Neto received his doctorate in Medicine and married the very day he finished the course. That same year, he was one of the founders of the clandestine Anticolonial Movement (MAC), which brought together patriots from various Portuguese colonies.
Neto returned to his country with his wife Maria Eugenia and his young son on December 30, 1959. He then occupied the leadership of the MPLA in Angolan territory and began to practice medicine among his compatriots. Many members of the Movement had been forced into exile in the years leading up to their return to Angola, having established their own headquarters in Conakry, in the independent Republic of Guinea, where they could inform a world still largely ignorant of the situation in Angola.
New arrests were made in July 1959, including that of Ilídio Machado, the first MPLA president, one of the defendants of the celebrated trial of the Fifty, a secret military trial in which severe penalties were applied to prominent MPLA militants, some of whom were tried in the absence, since they had already opted for exile.
On June 8, 1960, the director of PIDE personally came to arrest Neto at his office in Luanda. What followed was a typical example of murderous brutality practiced by fascist authorities. A peaceful demonstration in Neto's home village in protest of his arrest was received by police bullets. Thirty dead and two hundred wounded was the balance of what was designated by the Massacre of Icolo and Bengo.

Fearing the consequences of his presence in Angola, even though he was in prison, the colonialists transferred Neto to a prison in Lisbon and later sent him to Cape Verde, to Santo Antão, and then to Santiago, where he continued to practice medicine under constant political surveillance. He was, during this period, elected Honorary President of the MPLA.
At the time the news of the capture in the Atlantic Ocean of a Portuguese ship, the Santa Maria, by a group of Portuguese democrats led by Henrique Galvão, a former colonial official who had just escaped to prison in Portugal! And that he had denounced the existence of forced labor in Angola in a fulminating report written in 1961. There was a rumor that the ship was going to Luanda, a rumor that brought a large number of foreign journalists to the Angolan capital. MPLA militants clandestinely operating in Luanda decided to coincide with their planned action to free political prisoners with the presence of these journalists in order to attract the attention of the world to the painful operation to Portuguese rule in the colony of Angola.
They put their plan into practice. In the early hours of February 4, 1961, prisons in Luanda were assaulted by men armed with firearm guns, some of whom were captured during a previous attack on a police jeep. Although the assailants had not succeeded in their attempts, this act of courage directed against the strongholds of oppression was the first salvo of the armed struggle that would spread through Angolan territory, driven by the determination of men and women prepared to overcome all difficulties and who at this time, has lasted longer than any armed struggle in Africa.
This explosion was followed by brutal repression. Villages were bombed, and those inhabitants who managed to flee were machine-gunned and attacked with napalm.
The total number of victims has been estimated at between twenty and thirty thousand, but may well have been higher, since colonial authorities never bothered to maintain an accurate census of the African population. Spreading the terror, the fascist authorities killed and killed using methods as horrendous as grouping people and passing a bulldozer over them. In urban areas, their aim was to liquidate educated Africans, the so-called assimilated Africans, fearing that these elements would take over the leadership of the masses.
Some photographs have managed to reach the foreign press, one of which deserves special reference, one that has been inserted in several newspapers (for example, in Afrique Action, published in Tunis). In this photograph, a group of young Portuguese soldiers smiled at the camera, one of them holding a stake in which the head of an Angolan was stuck. The horror transmitted by this photograph aroused many consciences for the nefarious crimes that were perpetrated in Angola. It was precisely for showing this photograph to some friends in Santiago (Cape Verde) that Neto was arrested in the city of Praia and later transferred to the Aljube prison in Lisbon where he was admitted on October 17, 1961.

José Eduardo dos Santos

José Eduardo dos Santos, was born on August 28, 1942, the son of Eduardo Avelino dos Santos and Jacinta José Paulino, both deceased. He attended primary school in Luanda where he attended secondary school in the Liceu Salvador Correia, at the time the main secondary school in the country. It began its political activity integrating clandestine groups that were constituted in the suburban districts of the capital, in the late 1950s, and joined the MPLA when it was constituted in 1958.
After the outbreak in Luanda of the struggle against the Portuguese colonial power, on February 4, 1961, José Eduardo dos Santos left Angola in November of that same year and began to coordinate in the security of exile the activity of the Youth of the MPLA, who was one of the founders and for some time Vice President.

In 1962, he was part of the People's Liberation Army of Angola (EPLA), an armed wing of the MPLA, and in 1963 he was the first MPLA representative in Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of Congo. In November of the same year, he received a scholarship to the Oil and Gas Institute of Baku in the former Soviet Union, graduating in Petroleum Engineering in June 1969. Still in the USSR, after finishing higher studies , attended a military telecommunications course, which enabled him to perform, from 1970 to 1974, functions in the Telecommunications Services in the 2nd MPLA Political-Military Region, in Cabinda. From 1974 to mid-1975, José Eduardo dos Santos returned to the role of MPLA Representative in Brazzaville. In September 1974, at a meeting in Moxico, he was elected a member of the Central Committee and Political Bureau of the MPLA. In June 1975, he began to coordinate the MPLA Department of Foreign Affairs and, cumulatively, the MPLA Health Department.

With the proclamation of Independence of Angola, on November 11, 1975, he was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs. At partisan level, from 1977 to 1979, he was secretary of the MPLA Central Committee. After the death of Agostinho Neto, the first President of Angola, José Eduardo dos Santos was elected President of the MPLA on September 20, 1979, and the following day he was elected President of the MPLA - Labor Party, President of the People's Republic of Angola and commander-in-chief of the FAPLA (Popular Armed Forces for the Liberation of Angola). From 1986 to 1992, José Eduardo dos Santos played a leading role in resolving the cross-border crisis between Angola and South Africa, which would culminate in the repatriation of the Cuban contingent, the independence of Namibia, and the withdrawal of South African troops from Angola . He received the Grand-Collar of the Order of the Infante D. Henrique on January 25, 1988.

With the end of the Cold War, and pressured by the international community, but simultaneously faced with internal economic difficulties and the continuation of a guerrilla warfare by UNITA, José Eduardo dos Santos sought a negotiated solution with UNITA. It imposed the transition from Angola to a democratic regime that, based on a constitution adapted in 1992, allowed political pluralism and the market economy. As a result of this radical change, the first multiparty democratic elections were held on 29 and 30 September 1992 under international supervision. The elections to the National Assembly gave the MPLA victory with an absolute majority. However, in the presidential elections José Eduardo dos Santos was not elected in the first round, having obtained only 49% of the votes, against 40% of Jonas Savimbi. According to the current constitution, a second round would have been indispensable, but UNITA did not recognize the electoral results, immediately resuming the Angolan Civil War. In this way, José Eduardo dos Santos remained in office, even without constitutional legitimacy. He personally directed an intense diplomatic activity that culminated in the recognition of the Angolan government by the United States on May 19, 1993, and then in recognition by most countries. He received the Grande-Colar of the Military Order of Santiago da Espada on January 16, 1996.

The Angolan Civil War ended in 2002 with the violent death of Jonas Savimbi on 22 February and the signing of the peace accords on 4 April of the same year, in which UNITA gave up the armed struggle, agreeing to the demobilization of its military, or their integration into the Angolan Armed Forces, thus ending the 27 years of civil war.

As Cabinda continued to resist the integration of that enclave in the Angolan state, José Eduardo dos Santos concluded the Memorandum of Understanding for Peace and Reconciliation in Cabinda province on August 1, 2006 formally signed by the minister of Angolan Territory, Virgílio de Fontes Pereira, and the chairman of the Cabinda Forum for Dialogue (FCD), General António Bento Bembe, in the Hall of the City Council of Namibe, in the presence of rulers, politicians and diplomats Angolan capital, religious and traditional leaders, as well as representatives of civil society. This agreement was destined to put an end to the armed struggle begun in 1975 by FLEC, in order to obtain the independence of Cabinda.
In the legislative elections in Angola in September 2008 (the first legislative elections since 1992), the MPLA won with 81.64% of the votes, conquering 191 of the 220 seats of the National Assembly of Angola. For some time, José Eduardo dos Santos seemed to be the MPLA candidate in presidential elections to be scheduled soon, however, in early 2010 a new constitution was adopted. It abandons, on the one hand, the fundamental democratic principle of the division between the legislative, executive and judicial powers, concentrating the effective powers on the President. On the other hand, this constitution no longer foresees presidential elections, but a mechanism by which the president of the most voted party becomes President of the State.
On August 31, 2012, general elections, won by the MPLA, were held, and according to the constitution approved in 2010, José Eduardo dos Santos, as number one on the MPLA electoral list, was automatically elected President of the Republic, thereby legitimizing his tenure for a further period of five years and having his investiture taken on 26 September 2012.

João Lourenço

João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço was born on March 5, 1954 in Lobito, Benguela Province. He is the son of Sequeira João Lourenço, a nurse from Malanje and Josefa Gonçalves Cipriano Lourenço, a seamstress from Namibe, both deceased.
He completed his primary and secondary studies in the Province of Bie, where his father was in the situation of supervised residence for 10 years, after having been from 1958 to 1960 in the São Paulo prison in Luanda for the exercise of clandestine political activity, Port of Lobito.
He continued his studies in Luanda, at the then Industrial School of Luanda and the Industrial Institute of Luanda.
After the fall of the fascist regime in Portugal, in the company of other young people, he joined the national liberation struggle in the Republic of Congo in August 1974, having made his first political-military education at the Center for Revolutionary Education (CIR) Kalunga .
He was part of the first group of MPLA fighters, who entered national territory via Miconge, in the direction of the city of Cabinda, after the fall of the Portuguese Colonial Regime.
On the eve of Independence, he participated in the fighting at the border of N'Tó / Yema and in others against the FNLA / Zairean Army coalition, culminating in the defeat of those forces that wanted to occupy the territory of that Province of Angola.
During his participation in the liberation struggle and shortly after the proclamation of National Independence, on 11 November 1975, he trained in heavy artillery, served as Political Commissioner at various levels, from platoon, company, battalion, brigade and Commissar Political of the 2nd Political-Military Region in Cabinda, between 1977/78.
Following the qualification effort of the Angolan People's Liberation Armed Forces - FAPLA, he left for the then Soviet Union from 1978 to 1982, where, in addition to his military training, he was awarded a Master's Degree in Historical Sciences from the Political Academy -military VI Lenin.
From 1982 to 1983, he participated in the military operations in the center of the country, Kwanza Sul, Huambo and Bié, with command post in Huambo.
From 1983 to 1986, he was appointed by the President of the Republic and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces to serve as Provincial Commissar of Moxico and President of the Regional Military Council of the 3rd Military Political Region.
From 1986 to 1989, by decision of the President of the MPLA and the Republic of Angola, he is assigned to perform the duties of 1st Secretary of the MPLA Provincial Committee and Provincial Commissioner of Benguela.
From 1989 to 1990 he was appointed to the position of Head of the National Political Directorate of FAPLA, and he was promoted to the FAPLA Generalate.
From 1991 to 1998, he became Secretary of the Political Bureau for Information and, for a short period of time, Secretary of the Political Bureau for the Economic and Social Sphere, and also assumed the position of Chairman of the Group Parliamentary Assembly of the MPLA.
Following the Fourth MPLA Ordinary Congress, he is elected by the Central Committee to serve as the MPLA Secretary General from 1998 to 2003, assuming the position of President of the Constitutional Commission of the National Assembly.
From 2003 to April 2014, he served as the 1st Vice-President of the National Assembly.
General in the reform, is designated, by Presidential Decree, Minister of National Defense in April 2014.
He has been a member of the MPLA Central Committee since 1985 and has been a member of the Party's Political Bureau since 1990, and the MPLA Vice-President was elected by the Central Committee following the VII MPLA Ordinary Congress held in August 2016.
He is married to Ana Afonso Dias Lourenço and father of 6 children.
He practiced soccer and karate, he has as a hobby reading, chess and riding.
In addition to the Portuguese language, he speaks English, Russian and Spanish.

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Government of Angola http://www.governo.gov.ao/
Newspaper of Angola http://jornaldeangola.sapo.ao
Public Television of Angola www.tpa.sapo.ao
National Radio of Angola www.rna.ao

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