Angolan literature and the arts have shown to themselves to be particularly creative, as a result of Angola’s wide cultural diversity.

The origins of Angolan literature go back to the mid 19Th century and been marked by a native press traditionally combative and satirical. It has rapidly separated itself from other similar literature in the Portuguese language and reached other countries highlighted, in 1935, by the publishing of the first novel by an Angolan writer, António Assis Júnior, untitled; “o segredo da morta”.

The “generation of 1950” with the magazine “Mensagem”, brought to the spotlight people such as Agostinho Neto, Viriato da Cruz and António Jacinto.

They have continued that tradition of combat and the impact of their work has been decisive in shaping the entire generations’ consciousness of necessary resistance to colonial domination and national self-assertion.

In the following years, authors like Óscar Ribas, Luandino Vieira, Arnaldo Santos, Uanhenga Xitu, Mário António, among others, have started to recreate a language that helps express styles of living, of thought and of action that were more specifically connected to the Angolans, to encourage the diffusion and strengthening of their own identity.

After the independence of the country, the creation of the Writers Union of Angola boosted the publishing industry, revealing the works of the poets Jofre Rocha, founder member of the Writers Union of Angola, Arlindo Barbeitos, David Mestre and Ruy Duarte de Carvalho and the prose and fiction of Henrique Abranches, Manuel Rui Monteiro and Pepetela. Pepetela received the Camões Prize with the book “Mayombe”.

All of them, with great aesthetic and literary level, started to question the courses followed by the country and helped the poets build a new sensitivity. The prose writers raised a consciousness of the nation as a whole.

The following generation, after the 80’s, appears to have nothing more to demonstrate on historical and political grounds and thus leans towards a greater freedom of creation, with themes predominantly of an intimate nature. Standing out for the richness of their written images are poets José Luís Mendonça, João Maimona, João Melo, Paula Tavares, Lopito Feijó, Botelho de Vasconcelos, among others.

The 90’s have seen the predominant comeback of the prose writers, characterising the principle present literary production in Angola.
On an equal footing with Pepetela, Manuel Rui, Henrique Abranches and Arnaldo Santos, who have never ceased to publish, new names have been making their appearance or confirming their position, like José Eduardo Águalusa, José Sousa Jamba, Boaventura Cardoso, Fernando Fonseca Santos, Cikakata Mbalundo, Fragata de Morais, Jacinto de Lemos, Roderick Nehone, Alberto Oliveira Pinto, Jacques Arlindo dos Santos… They keep alive the tradition of Angolan literature, at the same time enriching it with the diversity of their themes and the growing quality of their writing.

Drama continues practically unexpressed as since the independence only twenty three plays by nine authors have been published: José Mena Abranches, Pepetela, Domingos Van-Dúnem, Trajano Nankhova, Henrique Guerra, Manuel dos Santos Lima, Costa Andrade, João Maimona e Casimiro Alfredo.

Source:Angola Digital - Edition and Research

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