Article from ROAPE Volume 28 Number 90
Angola: New Hopes for Civil Society?

Angola: New Hopes for Civil Society?
Vol.28 No.90 (December 2001), pp537-547
How does emerging Angolan civil society help bring about needed peace and constructive international support when the entire recent history of their country has been of internal repression and war aided by external, mostly malign, intervention with a million and a half people killed since 1975? On the face of it, civil society seems unlikely to succeed where elite negotiations and UN interventions have been so spectacularly unsuccessful, but there are some hopeful signs and some possible points of pressure - not least the fact that civil society may have greater popular legitimacy (if rather less power) than any of the political parties and government institutions. None the less it is important not to romanticise the attempts of Angolans to organise themselves for self-help, peace promotion and the like. Many organisations do not last, there are divisions amongst and between groups and a lack of government structures able or interested in dialogue.