A Day in Lobito, Angola

by Jacob on April 1, 2012

After two full days at sea the National Geographic Explorer docked at the port of Lobito, Angola today. While Lobito has been the terminus for the Benguela Railway since the late 1920s and thus the port where much of Angola’s copper and other minerals were loaded onto ships for foreign lands, its not very common for passenger ships to dock there. After a couple of hours dealing with immigration procedures and leading a tour for local university students through the ship I was able to explore the city a little bit. Dusty and quiet with lovely beaches, I felt as if I was really in Africa for the first time on this trip so far.

Not long after I got to the main square I heard drumming and chanting in the distance and getting closer. An open truck filled with 20 or 30 people pulled up and the chanting continued as they lined up to play for some dancers dressed in colorful woven costumes. Turns out they were playing lundungo, a traditional Angolan rhythm for payasos, the dancers, whose costumes mixed traditional elements with modern influences. One dancer had a papier mache airplane on his head.

Drummers in Lobito

Cute child in Lobito

Cute child in Lobito

Dancer in Lobito

Dancing and drumming in Lobito

Payosos (clowns) dancing Lundongo

Children fishing by the port in Lobito

Children fishing by the port in Lobito

Panorama of the Lobito harbor

Panorama of the Lobito harbor

 

Across from the lundungo group a DJ booth was set up. At first they were playing old school Angolan music (they even dumped some of it on a USB drive for me…I’ll find out what it was later). Soon, the rhythms got more intense and they started blasting kuduro, the intense, electronic dance style that has taken the world by storm. A singer and dancer named Mendes Brada showed us his moves.

Mendes Brada dancing kuduro

Mendes Brada dancing kuduro

 

Later, the Angolan singer Wyza joined on us board for a lovely acoustic concert in the lounge. You can hear more of Wyza music at wyzabakongo.com. Tomorrow morning we arrive in Luanda, Angola’s capital, where I hope to do some shopping for music!

Wyza performing on board

Wyza performing on board

Wyza performing on board

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Lilly Ladjevardi April 3, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Some fantastic shots (I especially love the street dancers and traditional dancer) but somehow feel the instagram effect is more suited to our dreary Western shores… ; )

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Joseph Silva June 21, 2012 at 1:46 PM

I lived in Lobito as a young boy from 1954 through 1960 when my family decided to leave to the USA due to incipient Cuban activity. It was a great place to live and play. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to exist any good pictures of the city today.

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Harbolovic February 25, 2013 at 11:48 PM

I loved the pictures you included with your piece. I also lived in Lobito as a child. I have never forgotten it. I have my father’s 8mm films of the dancing you mention taken over
50 years ago!

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