The Angolan Embassy in Gaborone hosted an evening of celebration at the Gaborone International Convention Centre (GICC) on the 11th of November to mark the country’s 35 years of independence.
The event was graced by former President Festus Mogae, the Assistant Minister in the Office of the President, Mokgweetsi Masisi, government officials and members of the diplomatic corps.
Angola gained its independence from Portugal in 1975 after a protracted war, which came to be known as The Angolan War of Independence and which began as an uprising against forced cotton harvesting, and later became a multi-faction struggle for control of Portugal’s Overseas Province of Angola with 11 separatist movements.
The war ended in 1975 when the Angolan government, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), and the National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA) signed the Alvor Agreement, after a leftist military coup at Lisbon in April 1974 which overthrew Portugal’s Estado Novo regime.
In his address, the Angolan ambassador to Botswana, His Excellency Jose Agostinho Neto, said Angola has proved that it is able to gradually fulfill the dreams of its people and their deepest desires, with determination, courage and the will to win.
“Today, after these thirty five years of achievements, independence, peace and development, we can see the remarkable progress made, despite the predictable obstacles and the recent global economic and financial crisis that negatively impacted on the country’s economic performance,” ambassador Agostinho Neto told his audience.
Neto also lamented the achievements in the political arena and pointed out that after independence, Angolans witnessed their citizenship consolidated. He said the approval of the first Constitution of the Republic at the beginning of this year is an indelible milestone in the history of the Angolan nation.
He said Angola has always counted upon the political and diplomatic support of Botswana, which he referred to as a brotherly country.
Neto said negotiations for visa scraping, opening of Air Services between the capitals of the two countries and the investigations for agreements in the field of agriculture are underway.
There are currently 500 Angolan refugees in Botswana and over 50 staff members at the embassy. Many Angolans are in Botswana as business people while others are employed in different organizations.
The guests were treated to Angolan music and a parade of traditional attire from the 8 provinces found in Angola.
There was plenty of food and, on the menu were delicacies from Angola and guests were offered a taste of the Angolan local beer, Cuca, which is regarded as their version of Botswana’s St Louis Lager.