Ethnolinguistic Categories

Angola Table of Contents

Caveats notwithstanding, a listing of the more commonly used ethnic rubrics and an indication of the dimension of the categories they refer to is useful as a preliminary description of Angola's peoples. The 1970 census did not enumerate the population in ethnic terms. The most recent available count, therefore, is based on projections of the 1960 census. Most projections assume that the rank order of the major ethnolinguistic categories did not change, although the proportions may have done so. In particular, a fairly large segment of the Bakongo of the northwestern provinces of Zaire and Uíge were already refugees in 1970 and were not included in the 1970 census. Although it is not clear how many Bakongo subsequently returned to Angola, it may be assumed that many of them returned and that their relative status as the third largest group was unchanged. The same is true of other ethnic groups whose members fled to Zaire and Zambia in the late 1980s when the insurgency intensified in Angola's border regions. This category would include many Ovimbundu, who have fled from central Angola to Zambia, and many Lunda and Chokwe (also spelled Cokwe), who fled to Zaire from eastern and northern Angola.

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Source: U.S. Library of Congress