Cunene is a province in southern Angola with an area of ​​87.342km² and 200-300 thousand inhabitants (estimate). Its capital is Ondjiva (formerly Vila Pereira d'Eca), lies deLuanda 1424km and 415km Lubango.

The province comprises the districts of Cahama, Cuanhama, Curoca, Cuvelai, Namacunde and Ombadja. It is in this province that the Cunene River gets its name.

The population of the province is mostly composed of agro-pastoralists, ie ethnic groups who essentially live off their cattle, but additionally by a (limited) subsistence farming. Because of pasture scarcity, the herds are created and maintained in a transhumance procedure involving regular migrations.

The mainstream part of different groups of the Ovambo people, including the Kwanyama (Cuanhama) stand out for their demographic weight. Small minority of the population belong to different other ethnicities. The Hinga are considered as lying in Nyaneka-Nkhumbi category, and have a life similar manner to Ovambo. Groups dispersed Chókwè distinguished by the fact that they are only farmers and Khoisan residual groups continue to survive by hunting and recollection. With the exception of the latter, all ethnic groups are Bantu.

Ondjiva, the only city in the province, is emerging slowly from a long period of stagnation. Its activity is concentrated in the sectors of trade and services. She's since colonial times seat of a Catholic diocese. Since 2009 it is also home to a campus of the University of Mandume Lubango.

In the province there is a national park which in principle would be of tourist interest, but to date little use for this purpose, because of the post-colonial disruption.


As elsewhere in Angola, the original population of the province was made up of Khoisan (in everyday speech often called "Bushmen") whose space was gradually occupied by Bantu people in the course of a migration that reached the region probably between the sixteenth and XVII. Because of its geographical and ecological conditions, this region has never been densely populated. The Kwanyama had, however, in the eighteenth century a "critical mass" sufficient to constitute a political unit (a "kingdom" in the colonial terminology) with plenty of stability.

In the nineteenth century, under the "European race for Africa", the areas south and north of the Cunene River prompted the interest not only of Portugal, but also from England and Germany. The latter won the Berlin Conference the territory of today's Namibia, that the North is limited by the Cunene river. Portugal, at the time still with little presence in the region, hastened to conquer the area north of the river, achieving its goal only in the mid-1920s, after a fierce resistance from Kwanyama.

The fact that the river Cunene thus become a boundary between two colonies belonging to two different colonial powers did not prevent the Ovambo population, divided by this line, to continue to maintain close ties with their counterparts in the respective other side. This link remained to this day, with varying intensity.

The inhabitants of the province were involved relatively little in the struggle for the independence of Angola, but Kwanyama managed the final phase of colonial occupation an effort something bigger than Portugal in the development of their area, eg the creation of more schools. Since independence, the population of the province is in the process of social and political integration that varies widely from group to group.

For the Ovambo existed for the 1960s a first dispute with the colonial state, then with the independent Angolan state, because both have allowed the appropriation of extensive grounds, first by white settlers, then by political or military high rank - as these establish wire fences around their possessions, making it impossible thus transhumance vital for agro-pastoral peoples. The strikes social, economic and ecological resulting are known in principle 4, but as of yet taken into account by the political authorities.

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