Organizational Weaknesses

Angola Table of Contents

The Angolan African organizations active before 1961 weredisorganized and lacked resources, membership, and strong leadership. There were a number of reasons for these weaknesses. First, their members were not prepared for either a political or a military struggle during the 1950s, however attractive they may have found nationalist ideals. Second, they were divided socially as well as ethnically. There were gulfs between the mestiços and the assimilados, on the one hand, and the indígenas, on the other hand, that frequently resulted in the pursuit of different goals. Third, although a substantial proportion of the white community also wanted Angola to break away from Portuguese domination, it hoped to perpetuate the colonial regime in every aspect except its control by Lisbon.

Finally, there was a critical lack of capable black leaders in the 1950s. The newly developing elite was not large enough to run a nationalist movement, and traditional leaders, focused on ethnic issues, were not prepared to lead such a movement. Church leaders, who might have been capable as national movement leaders, did not enter the struggle unless disaffected or until they became targets of police repression.

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Source: U.S. Library of Congress