Angola Religion

Angola is a secular (non-religious) state where religious freedom prevails. All religious groups should have equal rights, which is largely respected by the authorities. Christian communities have played a major role in social life and they often have historical ties to political movements and regional ethnic groups. Traditional indigenous religions still have a great influence, even among Christians.

The Catholic Church is the largest community and is estimated to comprise more than half the population. Because of the state’s limited financial resources, the efforts of the Christian communities in, for example, education and health care have become very important. The Catholic Church also owns mass media. The Christian leaders, especially the capital of Luanda’s Catholic archbishop, were active in the efforts to broker peace during the 1975–2002 civil war (see Modern History).

In addition to larger Protestant communities, such as Methodists and Baptists, there are several smaller ones with roots in Africa and Brazil. Immigrants from West Africa and Lebanon constitute a small Muslim minority. Their religious leaders have encountered problems when mosques have been temporarily forced to close for various reasons.

Angola Population Pyramid 2020

  • Countryaah: Population statistics for 2020 and next 30 years in Angola, covering demographics, population graphs, and official data for growth rates, population density, and death rates.

The information on how many Angolans, including Christians, who are fully or partially practicing traditional African beliefs varies greatly. According to official estimates, two out of three Angolans are Catholics, but the religion of origin is probably most important to most Angolans. Most bantu people have a common belief, but the practice can vary between different peoples. Authorities and various organizations try to counter certain elements of this belief, such as shamanism, animal sacrifice and others considered witchcraft. In the province of Cabinda, religious sects have been banned, including since they practiced exorcism against adults and children accused of witchcraft.



Police officers charged with murder of union leader

May 25

Lazarino Dos Santos, national secretary of the teacher union Sinptenu, is shot dead outside his home. According to Sinptenus chairman, the attack was carried out by two motorcyclists. It is the latest in a series of accusations of lethal violence and ill-treatment directed against the Angolan police and military during the command to maintain the state of emergency during the corona pandemic (see also May 15, 2020). According to the Interior Ministry, an investigation into Dos Santo’s death has been initiated.

Two deaths for coronary restriction violations

15th of May

Soldiers shoot to death a 17-year-old boy during an intervention against civilians who do not follow the mandatory face mask rule during the corona pandemic. This is the second time in a week that a person has been killed in connection with the military’s efforts to maintain the state of emergency declared by President Lourenço in March. On May 9, a 21-year-old man was shot to death during a similar intervention and several reports of abuse also occurred. Human rights organizations sharply criticize the authorities for what happened. The Ministry of the Interior has called both fatalities by mistake but pointed out that they happened after the soldiers involved were attacked.


Poor respect for coronary restrictions in Luanda

April 6

The police’s special response force is assigned to monitor Luanda’s streets during the ongoing shutdown of the country as a result of the spread of the corona virus. At the end of March, President João Lourenço ordered all residents to stay home to reduce the spread of infection, but compliance has been poor despite repeated demands from the government. Hundreds of people have so far been arrested for crimes against the curfew.


Portugal freezes Isabel dos Santos assets

February 11

Portugal joins the Angolan authorities and freezes the assets of Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of ex-president José Eduardo dos Santos, who is prosecuted in his home country for embezzlement, among other things. Isabel dos Santos extravagant livery has given her the nickname “The Princess” and according to Forbes business magazine she is good for over 2 billion US dollars. She has large financial assets in Portugal and owns several companies. She herself lives mainly in London since the current president João Lourenço resigned her from the post of director of the state oil company Sonangol.


The ex-president’s daughter is being prosecuted

January 23

Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of former President José Eduardo dos Santos, is prosecuted. She is suspected of embezzlement, money laundering , among other thingsand counterfeiting during his time as director of the state oil company Sonangol. Isabel dos Santos is believed to have exploited her father’s influence to create the great fortune that made her Africa’s richest woman. Her brother, José Filomeno dos Santos, has previously been charged with similar crimes, but their father, the former president, is currently not suspected of any irregularities. Isabel dos Santos lives in exile in Europe, mainly London, and responds to the prosecution for pleading her innocence and announcing that she is prepared to take action to disprove the charges. The investigation by Isabel dos Santos is a symbol of the incumbent President João Lourenço’s promise of political reform and the fight against corruption, and the outcome is expected to be of great importance for his popularity.

“Luanda Leaks” points out the ex-president’s daughter

January 19

The New York-based journalist group International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) publishes a report accusing former president’s daughter Isabel dos Santos of serious financial crime. The material is called “Luanda Leaks” and is based on over 715,000 documents processed by 120 reporters in 20 countries. According to the ICIJ, the report proves how dos Santos, with the help of Western financial companies and lawyers, avoided paying taxes for their large financial assets.

Angola Religion