When I first stepped into the grounds of Luanda, the capital city of Angola, I immediately realised why travelers in the early 70's called it "the Paris of Africa"; it seemed to be so rich, tidy, cosmopolitan...

On one side, one could see the sandy beaches of Ila, on the other the wide boulevards revealed elegant outdoor cafes, art deco and pink portuguese mansions, streets full of the latest automobile models.

Inside the large safe harbour the cruise ships waited patiently for the fascinated tourists that left unwillingly Luanda, so enthused over the joyful life of its, mainly Portuguese, inhabitants. Nevertheless, behind this fascinating scene, the people of Angola, who have really been the true reason for this development, lived in misery, poor and marginalised.

The stampede of the Portuguese left behind an independent but quickly dissolved country, and too soon its three major political movements became pawns in the hands of foreign powers. On November 11 of 1975, MPLA that controls the capital, supported by tens of thousands of soldiers from Cuba and the Soviet Union, formed a unilateral government, acclaiming the country the "Democratic Republic of Angola" and placed the MPLA leader Agostinho Neto as its first president. This is the moment in time when the civil war officially initiates, plunging the poor people of Angola in blood for 27 years, ending very recently, in 2002.

Today the contry is noting double-digit growth rates and turns a new page in history. Anyone who wishes to see its beauty still raw and primitive should definitely hurry...