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One kingdom, two kings: Different legitimacies in Bailundo (Angola)

Author(s): Fernando Florêncio

Journal: Revista CIDOB d'Afers Internacionals
ISSN 1133-6595

Issue: 87;
Start page: 167;
Date: 2009;
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Keywords: Angola | colonialism | State structure | conflict | traditional authorities

The author examines the history and structure of the kingdom of M’balundu, one of the most powerful of Angola’s central meseta before the Portuguese conquest. During the colonial period, this kingdom was integrated into the State administration, and since then has been conditioned by several external factors that have brought certain changes, such as a significant difference between its original territory and the administrative division of the State. Independence and the war between the MPLA and UNITA further increased the political-administrative confusion, as did the areas in which neither side had control over the territory, and where traditional authorities could rule virtually unhindered. The fact that the succession of a king of M’balundu coincided with control of the kingdom’s capital changing from one side to the other, has brought about the present situation in which there are two kings, each possessing a certain traditional legitimacy, and each one identifying with one or the other of the two political factions. This situation of two kings in one kingdom is highly illustrative of the deep split that characterises contemporary political life in Angola.
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