• Photo: DanWatch 2010


Paolo, the spokesperson for the shanty town Campapa Dois, tells about the conditions in the area. Video: DanWatch 2010.

Peter Kallash

Paolo: The rich throw us away

Luanda Sul is a suburb of Luanda under construction. Here expensive villas and luxury apartments have been built. The people who lived here had to give way for the construction of the Angolan political elite and was moved to Campapa Dois.

-When the government destroyed our houses, we were placed here. It was supposed to be temporary and we would get compensation. But today, five years after the displacement, we have not received anything. We now live here and suffer, says Paolo, spokesman for Campapa Dois.

Campapa Dois is an abject collection of tin sheds. Here live around 230 families. The families have built their primitive huts from available materials, mainly corrugated iron. The walls are leaky and the roofs do not seem likely to keep water out when the rainy season comes. There is no water, electricity or schools nearby. And they have not heard anything from the government since the day they were deported.

-Now we live six-seven people or more in small tin huts with only one room. Those who can afford food, must walk very far to buy it, and the children have no school here, says Paolo. He lives in the largest cabin in Campapa Dois with his wife and children.

The many cranes, half-built villas, and new highways in Luanda Sul is an example of whom the reconstruction of the country benefits. Since the end of the civil war, more has been done to build roads, schools, hospitals, etc. At least according to the government. But in Campapa Dois - and many other places - people have seen nothing of the government's initiatives. Apart from the new villas which now stand where their houses stood before.

-We are not the only displaced people in Luanda Sul. There are many other families, at least 750 just around here. Many have no work and no way to sustain a living, while others have jobs just like me, but no longer have a house, says Paolo.

-We have won a case in court, saying that the government’s contractor that destroyed our homes, must build new houses for us. Now houses that we were supposed to live in have been built. But instead of giving the houses to us displaced people, the houses were given to the builder’s acquaintances, says Paolo.

Paolo elaborates on the problem:

-Some of those working for the government, have a lot of money, access to steal diamonds, and earn well. When they are told that there should be built houses for poor people here, they ask 'what poor people?" and buy the land or houses for their own families instead, says Paolo.