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By Rob Staeger

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3 The Government of Angola ANGOLA IS A REPUBLIC, a form of government in which political power is in the hands of elected representatives of the citizens. The rules of the government are laid down in Angola’s constitution, which was originally ratified in November 1975. The constitution has been revised several times, most recently in August 1992. Those changes ended the one-party state of the MPLA, opening the political process to multiple political parties. In another shift from the MPLA’s communist roots, the current constitution permits Angolans to own property and businesses; this was not allowed by the previous communist regime.

66 Angola Art and Music Angolan art often takes the form of masks. Created from wood, bronze, ivory, or ceramic, masks are an important part of cultural rituals. Some of these rituals occur each year, like the celebration of the harvest. Others mark a change in a person’s life, such as passage from childhood to adulthood or from life into death. Dance is another important part of these rituals. In fact, one of the world’s most famous dances may have been based on an Angolan prayer ritual. Samba has its roots in the Angolan word kuzamba (to pray).

Many doctors are so busy with critically ill patients that newcomers may have to wait for days. Less severe cases might be turned away completely. The prevalence of land mines places an enormous strain on Angola’s medical system. An unsuspecting traveler who triggers a mine or a child who picks up a piece of unexploded ordnance might be killed immediately. In many cases, however, that person suffers a debilitating injury, often resulting in the loss of a limb. Angola has more land mines than any other country in the world, and a higher rate of amputees per capita than any other country.

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