Forty years after Angolan´s
independency an ancestral spirit appears in an abandoned colonial
mansion, in the metropolitan city center of Luanda (Angola). The defamation of
the African religion during colonialism disconnected most Angolans from their
ancestors. Because its people now live life through Christianity its appearance
is confused as a manifestation of demons.
During the scramble for Africa, white
imperialists, priests and churches promoted Christianity and civilization to
remodel the African culture. European imperialism was aggressive and obligated
most Africans to abolish their cultural behaviour and change their cultural
values to adore a religion, culture, habits and language which worked in favour
of colonialism, any other form of religion was a false superstition. If you
disconnect a man from its roots and you gain power over his mind, this man will
become whatever you want him to become. The ancestral spirit spoke in
a dialect from the ancient Kingdom of Angola but his people could not
understand him as most Angolans living in the metropolitan city speak
Portuguese, French or English.
His voice was condemned to be the roar of a
demon tormenting the mansion visitors.The tales told by street book sellers
is that the opulent mansion is not sold but abandoned because of its demons.
The defamation used in the imperialism period destroyed the respect and believe
Angolans had about the existence of a higher power guiding them through
spiritualism. Imperialism had such a force that some colonised African
countries continued to reject their roots, cultural values, power, land and
ancient religious practices. The ancestral spirit uses his body language to
convince its people that his appearance is not the manifestation of a demon but
a wise ancestor trying to speak to this generation to pass the wisdom and
vision our ancestors have for Angola in the 21st century.
*This is a tale written by street vendors and Keyezua
You may recognize this fabric. Its iconic design was created over fifty years ago by Vlisco textile designer Toon van de Manakker, who based the print on a 19th century Ethiopian noblewoman’s tunic. The pattern was originally one of the most important products in the Vlisco range, a beloved best-seller that has been imitated repeatedly since the sixties and continues to be produced to this day.
At Vlisco, it is the consumer who names each product, which is why you may know this fabric as ‘Addis Ababa’, 'Miriam Makeba’, 'Mashallah’, or may simply refer to it as 'dashiki print'—after the garment on which it has had its greatest cultural influence. What you may not know, is that one of the most popular names for the fabric, 'Angelina’, has its roots in 1970s Ghana.
In the late seventies, the popularity of the print coincided with the release of the hit song “Angelina” by legendary Ghanaian highlife group The Sweet Talks. People began referring to the printed fabric as 'Angelina’ (after the similarly vibrant track) and the name has become so popular that even Vlisco now uses it when referring to the iconic print. If you have always wondered why it is they call it 'Angelina’, now you know!