The Tchokwe ethnic group including dialect, location and political involvement and alliance [AGO31744.E]

According to the Angola Website,

The Tchokwe live in a large area that extends from the northeastern border of Angola to the south of the country. The Tchokwe emigrated south from central Africa to the area south of the present day Lundas in the 17th century. In the 19th century, after years of fighting, the Tchokwe managed to expand their Lunda territory to the north and the south. As their population increased, the Tchokwe gradually expanded into present day Congo and Zambia. Stories as to their origin vary. Generally it is believed that the Tchokwe are descendants of an old culture of savanna hunters. They are generally seen as active and hard-working people who are highly skilled craftsmen in the steel and iron industries. The Tchokwe maintained impressive schools of sculpture and they have a strong sense of cultural heritage. They are excellent builders and businessmen. They are also gifted with a vibrant sense of assimiliation, successfully establishing colonies where ever they went. Theirs is a matriarchal social system (n.d.).

The Tchokwe speak tchokwe (Xinhua 12 Oct. 1998), one of the main vernaculars of Angola (iAfrika News Network 24 Nov. 1997), that is also spoken in some parts of Zambia and the present Democratic Republic of the Congo (former Zaïre) (Ethnologue 1996, 160).

An 18 November 1998 AFP report states that the Tchokwe's political interests are represented by the Social Renewal Party (PRS), which obtained one seat in the legislative elections of September 1992. The PRS reportedly advocates the creation of a federal state as a means of ensuring "balanced development" of the country (ibid.). However, in January 1999 there was a cabinet reshuffle and the Luanda-tchokwe tribes were reportedly absent in the new 25-member cabinet (ibid., 30 Jan. 1999).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please see below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Agence France Presse (AFP). 30 January 1999. Manuel Muanza. "Crisis Government Set up in Angola with Aim of Crushing UNITA." (NEXIS)

_____. 18 November 1998. "Les ethnies de l'est angolais souhaitent un état fédéral" (NEXIS)

Angola Website. n.d. "Angola's Ethnic Groups." [Internet:] [Accessed: 23 Apr. 1999]

Ethnologue: Languages of the World. 1996. 13th ed. Edited by Barbra F. Grimes. Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics.

iAfrica News Network [Copenhagen]. 24 November 1997. "Angola News Roundup." (Africa News/NEXIS)

Xinhua News Agency. 12 October 1998. "Ethnic Tongues to be Employed in Adult Education." (NEXIS)

Additional Sources Consulted

News from Human Rights Watch/Africa [New York]. Angola. 1991-1996.

Office français de protection des réfugiés et apatrides (OFPRA). October 1995. "Angola."

Political Handbook of the World 1998. 1998. Edited by Arthur S. Banks. Binghamton, NY: CSA Publications.

Electronic sources: IRB databases, Internet, LEXIS/NEXIS, World Network Connection (WNC)