The Angolan civil war left one and a half million dead with an
estimated four million more displaced over its twenty seven year
An entire generation
grew up knowing nothing but conflict as the three rival factions
raged against each other littering the countryside with landmines
and massacring those who would not support them.
Many fled into neighbouring countries such as Zambia where
over the years they settled in camps such as the Mayukwayukwa
Refugee Settlement in Zambia's western province where they were
allowed to work plots
of land as subsistence farmers from where few seem
interested in returning home.
In fact a survey by the UNHCR in 2009 found that out of 10,000 Angola
refugees there only 251 were interested in returning to Angola. Many reasons
were cited from feeling part of Zambia, having married Zambians or simply
that they had had children there who saw themselves as Zambians and didn't
want their education disrupted.
Some 25,300 Angola refugees still live in Zambia many years after the end of
the conflict (at its height 500,000 had fled abroad) despite efforts by
Zambia's government to urge them to return home, understandable given
Zambia's own levels of poverty and the fact that Zambia is also providing
shelter to refugees from the Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Somalia and Uganda.
Today many countries are calling time on the remaining
120,000f refugees from Angola and urging them to return home
with their refugee status being revoked over the summer of 2012.
Countries including Zambia, South Africa, the Democratic
Republic of Congo, Namibia and Botswana have been speeding up
repatriation prior to the refugee status deadline expiring. In order to facilitate this return home UNHCR and the Angolan
government are offering £120 for each adult and £60 per child
leaving refugees camps outside Angola with an additional promise
by the Angolan government of land and materials to build homes
on their arrival.
Many of the refugees are returning to Kwando Kubango Province
in south-east Angola, one of Angola's already poorest areas
where residents rely on subsistence farming as there is no
viable industry. The situation in that area is already grim with
illiteracy rates as high as 70% in a country placed
148th out of 187 in the HDI (Human Development Index) which is
measured by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and the
World Bank based upon the life expectancy, literacy, access to
knowledge and living standards. This video documentary tells the story of one girl who fled
as a refugee to Zambia not knowing of the family she left
Much of this money should be going to repair
irrigation systems that were destroyed during the war leading to
a decline in agriculture and food production, fuelling rural
poverty and also on transport structure such as roads and
bridges, also destroyed, that would help farmers to get their
limited produce to market.