The Republic of Angola is located in south-central Africa, and is bordered by Namibia to the south, Democratic Republic of Congo to the north, Zambia to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Total area is 1,246,700 km2 (481,354 sq. mi.) and the estimated population in 2009 was 18,498,000. Angola was a Portuguese colony from the 16th century until 1975. After independence, the country suffered from a civil war until 2002. The population is composed of Ovimbundu (37%), Ambundu (25%), Bakongo (13%), mestiços (mixed European and African) (2%), European (1%), and other ethnic groups (22%). It is estimated that over half of the population is Roman Catholic and a quarter are Protestant.
Mennonite Activity in Angola
Angola has three Mennonite demoninations: Igreja Comunidade Menonitas em Angola (ICMA = Mennonite Community of Churches in Angola), Igreja Evangélica Menonitas em Angola (ITEMA = Mennonite Evangelical Church in Angola), and Igreja Evangélica Irmãos Mennonitas em Angola (IEIMA = Evangelical Church of Mennonite Brethren in Angola). All of these churches resulted from the interaction of Angolan refugees in Congo with Mennonite ministries in that country.
Upon their return to Angola, many Mennonites were persecuted by the Angolan government due to the similarity in the sound of "Mennonita" and UNITA, a rebel movement in the country. The persecution included the destruction of churches and the dispersal of many church members into the forest. After a meeting with government and church officials, the misunderstanding was cleared up.
The Igreja Evangélica Irmãos Mennonitas em Angola (IEIMA), the Mennonite Brethren church in Angola, was founded in 1983. A split in 1986 over sharing power and the lack of opportunities for leadership training in IEIMA led to the formation of Igreja Evangélica Menonitas em Angola (IEMA).
Igreja da Comunidade Menonita em Angola (ICMA) began in 1990 with a church plant in Luanda. In 2003, MCC helped the three groups form the Conferencia Inter-Menonita em Angola (Inter-Mennonite Conference in Angola).Between 1990 and 2009 the following Anabaptist groups were active in Angola:
"Angola." Wikipedia. Web. 28 February 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angola.
"Angola MB Church Growing Despite Country’s Struggles." Mennonite Brethren Herald (23 June 2000). Web. 28 February 2011. http://old.mbherald.com/39-13/news-9.html.
Lichdi, Diether Götz, ed. Mennonite World Handbook 1990: Mennonites in Global Witness. Carol Stream, IL: Mennonite World Conference, 1990.
Mennonite World Conference. "2000 Africa Mennonite & Brethren in Christ Churches." Web. 28 February 2011. http://www.mwc-cmm.org/Directory/2000africa.html.
Mennonite World Conference. "2003 Africa Mennonite & Brethren in Christ Churches." Web. 28 February 2011. http://www.mwc-cmm.org/Directory/2003africa.html.
Mennonite World Conference. "Mennonite and Brethren in Christ Churches Worldwide, 2006: Africa." Web. 28 February 2011..
Mennonite World Conference. "Mennonite and Brethren in Christ Churches Worldwide, 2009: Africa." Web. 28 February 2011..
Pedro, Lutiniko Landu Miguel. "The Mennonite Brethren Church in Angola." In The Mennonite Brethren Church Around the World: Celebrating 150 Years," edited by Abe J. Dueck. Kitchener, ON: Pandora Press; Winnipeg, MB: Kindred Productions, 2010: 173-182.
Pedro, Lutiniko Landu Miguel. "Mennonites and Peace-Building in Angola." In Freedom’s Distant Shores: American Protestants and Post-Colonial Alliances with Africa, edited by R. Drew Smith. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2006.
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APA style: Thiessen, Richard D. (March 2011). Angola. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 22 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/angola.