On 27th May 1977, a small demonstration against the MPLA, the ruling party of Angola - led to the slaughter of thousands, if not tens of thousands, of people. These dreadful reprisals are little talked of in Angola today - and virtually unknown outside the country. In this book, journalist Lara Pawson tracks down the story of what really happened in the aftermath of that fateful day. In a series of vivid encounters, she talks to eyewitnesses, victims and even perpetrators of the violent and confusing events of the 27th May and the following weeks and months. From London to Lisbon to Luanda, she meets those who continue to live in the shadow of the appalling events of 40 years ago and who - in most cases - have been too afraid to speak about them before. As well as shedding light on the events of 1977, this book contributes to a deeper understanding of modern Angola - its people and its politics; past, present and future.
Lara Pawson was a BBC World Service Correspondent in Africa from 1997-2007, covering various regions. From 1998-2000 she was stationed in Angola, covering the ongoing Angolan Civil War and she has returned to Angola multiple times since. She currently works as a freelance journalist and lives in London.
Introduction PART I 1 Meeting Maria 2 In the shadow of DISA 3 The saboteurs, the parasites, the opportunists 4 When normal things don't go normally 5 Fascism was finished. Socialism had begun 6 Just like the movies 7 The brother 8 Sounds of microfiche 9 Never meet your heroes 10 Sent to Cuba 11 Closing in on the kill PART II 12 So many dragonflies 13 Saved by a poet 14 To Sambizanga 15 The little red book 16 Kilometre 14 17 Cold War paradox 18 Appearances 19 A death camp 20 Metamorphoses of the enemy 21 On the beach 22 How our heads are formed PART III 23 Loose ends 24 A Cuban connection Epilogue Notes Bibliography