CUANZA SUL – CELA – WAKU KUNGO
The Municipality of Cela is located in the big Province of Cuanza Sul, Central-West Angola. The Province
has 12 Municipalities: Sumbe (the province’s capital), Porto Amboim, Quibala, Libolo, Mussende, Amboim, Ebo, Quilenda, Conda, Cela, Seles and Cassongue.
The Province of Cuanza Sul was created in 1769. Due to fights between the different tribes, the existing
ethnic groups are not homogeneous, especially in terms of their language. There are 5 main ethnic groups: the Kibalas, the N’Goias, the Musseles, the Mussumbas and the Bailundos.
The Cela municipality is crossed by one of the most important roadway in the country: the national road n.120, linking the capital of Luanda to the historical economic junction of Huambo.
The population of Cela is estimated at 252.852 inhabitants (46 people/km2 – data from Cela Municipality Administration 2018), divided in 3 municipalities (Comuna Sede, Kissanga-Kungo and Sanga). The most widely spoken languages in the region are Umbundu and N’goia, with many little dialects and variations according to the different communities or areas.
The geological relief is variable from the 1200 meters in the lowlands of the valleys, passing through 1300 to 1400 meters in the intermediate plateaus up to 2,100 meters in some isolated points. The low waterlogged rivers are frequent, and the hydrographic network of the Province is also abundant, with the Nhia River on the north and the Queve River on the south.
The climate of the region is considered humid temperate, with a dry winter, without rain in the months between June and August. However, from September, the rainy season starts and lasts until the beginning of May, interspersed only by small cacimbo between January and February.
The average annual rainfall is about 1,350 mm and the average annual temperature is about 20.6 degrees celsius with the highs of 35 degrees and minimums of 1 degree. The relative humidity is within the order of 40-50% during the cacimbo and of 80-90% in the rainy season.
Thanks to these favorable conditions the municipality of Cela has several important agricultural areas and the main economic activities are agriculture, fishing and livestock. In addition, the climatic characteristics of the province allowed the adaptation of plant and animal varieties (especially cattle) from temperate and even cold climates.
A mea banda: Waku Kungo
Waku Kungo is the heart of the Cela municipality: it has more than 30,000 inhabitants, but the central part can be visited on foot in 20 minutes. In the upper part the small Church of Santa Comba (of Portuguese construction) stands out, from which we descend to the city passing through gardens full of bougainvillea and romantic stone benches.
After the gardens, we’ll stumble in the “House of Culture”, which – until a few years ago – offered courses in theater, music, traditional dances, capoeira and more. At the moment, it is closed, except for the part that houses a stage, still used by local theater groups. Outside, there is the inevitable soccer field that comes alive on Sunday with matches, and sometimes with parties.
Leaving the House of Culture, the road continues to another small garden where dozens of children gather before and after school to play with no timetables or parents control.
Continuing the descent, we arrive at the center of the well-kept city, where flowers, well-tended flower beds and short grass, frame the great pink building that dominates the main square: the municipal administration. From here, the second exit to the only roundabout of the city, takes us to the last descent that ends with a crossing of the national road. It is in this last descent that most of the stores are placed, owned by Malians or other non-resident Angolans.
Waku offers 4 bakeries, 3 gas stations, 3 luxury hotels, 3 or 4 restaurants, several building material stores and a few small stores for household expenses. Leaving the city, there are many stalls offering traditional dishes and very cold beer. There are many beauty salons, from which the girls come out with fancy hairstyles. There are carpenters, mechanics and blacksmiths.
In addition to agriculture, the municipality of Cela has an ancient tradition of wax production, and many
beekeepers still produce honey. In fact, some rural communities in Waku Kungo have resumed wax production and began to produce a filtered, clean and delicious honey, which is sold in their own villages (Jamba Kipuko and Canjombe) or can be found at the city’s famous agricultural fair (FestiWaku). If you are interested in this pure and genuine honey, ask Micha from the bakery in front of the Bic Bank saying that “Maria da Italia” is sending you.
The province of Cuanza sul is a real treasure of the country, with its rivers, forests, mountains, historical sites and a good culinary tradition. Among the typical dishes are the Calulu of dry fish, the Muamba and the funge of mandioca (bom bom), corn (milho) or mixed (misto).
The people of this land are relaxed and very welcoming, always available to help you. So, what are you waiting for? Come and taste the scent of Cuanza Sul, to the rhythm of Kuduro. During the last weekend of September you can’t miss the famous “FestiSumbe”, Sumbe’s international music festival, which attracts thousands of people from all over the country annualy! Are you coming to join the 2019 edition?
Written by: Maria Vittoria Moretti