In August 2006 I travelled to Angola, southern Africa, with the international development agency Christian Aid to visit post conflict projects funded by the charity and see for myself the issues faced by millions of young people living in this war torn country. I spent time in the capital Luanda, and a remote region in the south west called Mavinga, during which time we were living in a satin lined mud hut, welcomed and hospitably looked after by people with very little means at their disposal,whose lives had been ravaged by years of war.
In the work I have produced I have attempted to evoke the huge tasks of reconstruction and reconciliation in the face of enormous odds, but at the same time allude to the indomitable optimism of the human spirit I encountered in the new generation of post-war Angolans which, in difficult moments, I felt was almost the only resource available to them. This was my first visit to sub Saharan Africa, and sadly my preconceptions regarding the desperate state of ordinary people in a country that is enjoying the fruits of huge oil revenues were substantiated. Almost half of Angola’s population is under the age of 15 and life expectancy is only 41 years.It has the third highest child mortality rate in the world with one in four children dying before their fifth birthday. This year Angola celebrates five years of peace but the road to full recovery will take much longer, it will need international assistance for many years to come.