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   Information Center Angola
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People, Language & Religion


The overwhelming majority of the population is Bantu, divided into a number of ethnolinguistic groupings.
Angola's population composed of Ovimbundu 37%, Ambundu 25%, Bakongo 13%, and 32% other ethnic groups (including the Ovambo, the Ganguela and the Xindonga) as well as about 2% mestiços (mixed European and African). The Ambundu and Ovimbundu nations combined form a majority of the population, at 62%. Since the mestiços are generally better educated than the black population, they exercise influence in government disproportionate to their numbers. Europeans, mostly of Portuguese extraction, constitute 1% of the population.


The languages in Angola are those originally spoken by the different ethnic groups plus Portuguese due to its being a former Portuguese colony. The indigenous languages with the largest usage are Umbundu, Kimbundu and Kikongo, in that order. Portuguese is the official language of the country.


Christianity is the religion of the majority, with Roman Catholicism claiming the largest numbers of the population. About 5 million people, or 38% of the population, are Roman Catholic as of 1998. About 15% of the population are of Protestant denominations; the largest include Methodist, Baptist, Congregationalists (United Church of Christ), and Assemblies of God. The largest syncretic religious group is the Kimbanguist Church, whose followers believe that the mid-20th century Congolese pastor Joseph Kimbangu was a prophet. Almost half the population (47%) follow African traditional beliefs either exclusively or in conjunction with other faiths. Communities in rural areas of the country practice animism and other indigenous religions. There is also a small Islamic community.

Though a colonial-era law banning non-Christian religions still exists, it has not been generally enforced.





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