May 27, 1977--Nito Alves, Fraccionismo, and the Brutality of the MPLA
ANN Staff Writer
Exactly 37 years ago today on May 27, 1977, a small demonstration against Angola's ruling MPLA political party touched off months of brutal and bloody reprisals against those who were thought by MPLA leaders to be supporters of Nito Alves, a critic of the MPLA government and the leaders of a political movement known as "fraccionismo" in Angola and fractionism in English-speaking countries.
The political pogrom that followed the small demonstration led to the slaughter of tens of thousands of Angolans who were hunted down like animals by government troops and MPLA henchmen over several months. The horrible political reprisals are still only spoken of in hushed tones in Angola because of the MPLA government's sensitivity regarding the subject. As recently as 2013, another young Nito Alves was arrested by Angolan police for distributing t-shirts with a message protesting the 34-year rule of the MPLA's current boss, President Jose Eduardo dos Santos.
Journalist Lara Pawson, a socialist idealist who traveled to Angola in the 1970's out of interest in helping the MPLA in its pursuit of socialism, has written a book entitiled, In The Name of The People-Angola's Forgotten Massacre, that vividly tells the story of the political complexities and violence that exposed the MPLA's brutality. Her book shares her vivid encounters and interviews with eyewitnesses, victims and even some perpetrators of the bloodshed that followed May 27, 1977. Her writing goes beyond the events of 1977, the book adds to our understand Angola's current political scene.
Last week the Royal African Society hosted an event in London at which Pawson spoke about her book. A podcast of that event can be heard by clicking on the box below.
Remembering Angola's Forgotten Massacre: 27 May 1977 by Royafrisoc on Mixcloud.