The Curious Case of…The Angolan Slides
A short film made by the CultuRISE group about some old colonial-era slides of Angola discovered in the Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums stores. The film combines the slides with the young people’s reactions to them.
Female 1: So what does a witch doctor do?
Female 2: A lot of things
Female 3: It depends they could do bad things they could do
Female 4: good things as well
F3: it depends on the person and what you ask because some of them if you go and ask like I want to be rich you have to kill somebody in your family to be rich, you wanna do this, like a lot of people go there to cure illness
F2: Get better yeah
F3: And some people just go there for the bad like they want you to not be seen they will just put your name on some sort of voodoo and you’re never going to go nowhere like you’re stuck. Some people like they’re very ill and they don’t know what they have
F4: They just go there to get treatment
F3: Yeah to get treatment. Some people they’re just bad they want to kill you and kill you and kill you whatever it is so
F4: It says if like he, like the witch doctor would say you feed me and I’ll give you what you want but he wants to get fed with dead people, the dead you know what I mean
Male 1: These witch doctors I don’t believe they do good things because its what like they say, they might do good things and work for a little bit but it wont stay forever. They might cure you from some illness but it will come back soon because you just don’t pay them once you pay them for the rest of your life.
F1: my sister had to go to another’s wedding and pididu and alambament, its like kind of like engaged but before you get a normal wedding, before you get married normally you have to go through that its where you have to meet your family like the woman would meet the guys family and then you have to give food like food, clothes, animals, a lot of different stuff that you have to give in order for you to get the woman. My sister was, she was very mad when she had to do this because its kind of like buying you know what I mean, for you to marry this person you actually have to give all this stuff for your uncle, for the grandmother, for your mum, for your brother, all this stuff but it is very good because you have a traditional dance, you have to wear traditional clothes, you have to do with your hair, the way you talk and I think the woman has to cook, yeah she has to kill the chicken, she actually has to cut in the exactly 12 pieces, it cant be more or less it has to be that and you have to cut it properly and my mum has to teach my sister how to cut, it was very funny but she didn’t want to kill the poor chicken because who wants to kill the chicken but yeah she passed the test so it was good.
F1: I’m just going to talk about this woman that basically is like on her knees and basically rubbing something on the stone that is like it’s a traditional food that we eat in Angola, that’s the first food that we get to eat its kind of a flour, some of them are made of corn and the other one is made of Cassava I think and normally they like, first they have to
F2: Mash it
F1: Yeah you have to mash it first then when its dried you have to like basically do what she’s doing rubbing it on the stone and it gets like very thin, it gets very very thin, then when you do it you have to do it with boiled water and just have it together and you have to wait until it gets very, not very hard but like a bit soft and like before we used to play back in the days because you didn’t have to like use the glue that was actually something we could use and stick it under the paper so that you could stick it on the wall. At the same time you could eat it but then you do that you don’t get to eat it after that but yeah that’s something that like its in the history of Angola for so many years probably from that time until now people still eat it, my mum eats it every day and that’s something I can say I’m sick of eating because I ate it since I was born. You can eat it with different sauces as well, plenty of sauces, sometimes even though you don’t want to eat it you’ve seen the sauces and you just feel like eating it and if you get to try it when you’re older you’ll end up not liking it you have to eat it when you’re very young so that you can get used to it.
F1: They could be so bad you know.
F2: you know like in tribes they have like the leader of the village right? Like this is the person you go to tell if somebody’s being naughty if somebody’s
F1: if there is any problem
F2: Yeah like you go to that person. Actually this is like a toco toco stick you see them people yeah they whatever it is they have to have those sticks you know it represents power it represents all this craziness
F3: Look at the size of his belly button
F4: And everybody has big bellies in this photo
F5: Didn’t big bellies back then used to mean wealthiness?
M1: I just think that he moved to a different city where its more civilised and stuff like that because he’s dressed more civilised than his mother because his mother is kind of dressed like traditionally and stuff and this shows kind of like a contrast of two different societies if you get what I mean in the same place and I think its interesting. I don’t see many mums dressing like in traditional clothes; it would more be like I would see my grandmother dressing in traditional clothes.
F1: There's actually people that still live like that, there’s a province called Wila, the people actually don’t wear clothes, they actually do this stuff and they still carry their, the roots of the people before, they actually live like that and actually the way they dance, eat is actually very different from people who live in big cities
M1: yeah and the houses are also made of, what’s it called, mud, but I was talking to my mum about this and she said its just made by mud nowadays because back in the days like back in the days like from her great grandmother that it was made of cows poo; it would last for years
F2: They had sticks as well it wasn’t just like that they had wood on each side and basically stick them on the outside and the inside as well and the ceiling was made of what’s it called, Paya
M1: Its not paya its you know banana leaves
F2: Yeah it was made like that
F1: You can tell on this photo that the girl in the middle has more possibilities than the other two kids, why because she’s dressed more civilised, she’s got a long skirt, you can tell that her parents are the ones who command them you know and then the other two black kids they look like the servants. Probably is they have been told to play with her or something
F2: If they don’t want to play with the little girl they will probably have been forced to play with the little girl because she doesn’t have anyone to play with because if there was any more kids around they would have been in the picture as well or maybe these two kids are the servants you know, you never know.
F1: They still use this kind of musical instruments until now, most of like the traditional music’s back in there what the all the people do is they use this instrument a lot. You can actually see on the TV when they’ve got like a show or something imagine if they get invited to go and sing they actually take that in there and its quite smooth when they play it. Its nice as well, they still use it until now.
F1: I’ve never seen that in there so I don’t really know what to say about it
M1: Was that like a kind of punishment kind of thing?
F2: I think that was kind of punishment wasn’t it that we spoke about?
M2: This is like a block they trapped their feet in so they couldn’t escape
F3: And how does seeing pictures like that make you feel?
F1: To be honest it doesn’t make me difference I mean some people would get offended because its their country, their culture, but it doesn’t make a difference to me, we’re Africans, every African country has their own story to tell don’t they so
M1: I think it doesn’t make a difference because we were born in like a different time. I think its kind of like basically our families never carried on like the culture to such an extent like us you know carrying on through times like till today.
M1: Looking at this picture, this like you know the scars and stuff like that on down the face and on the back as well it used to represent beauty or something like that, nowadays its just, its cruelty, you wouldn’t classify it as beauty, I personally don’t classify that as beauty.
F1: If we didn’t have slavery if we didn’t have all this crazy stuff there I think we wouldn’t be us if you know what I mean. Like Angola wouldn’t be the Angola like the story would be something else and we would be probably would never have talked with you about this because we never went to war and we never you know this stuff, I think the whole slavery, the whole war, the whole independence all this stuff makes us who we are and kind of shows our identity how we became like poor and how we were slavery and then we overcome all this stuff and how in power and control we are and how we, you know, we can make it anyway whatever we want as long as we work hard and this is just, its just a story really, to me it doesn’t make any sense, to me it makes my grandmother who she was, my mum who she is and who I’m becoming but its just a story to tell like a part of us.
M1: Naked and nudity
F1: What’s the difference?
M1: there is a difference
F2: Tell me
M1: Because some people they walk nude but they don’t see themselves as naked, its their culture you know it’s the way of them living like where they’re from they all walk naked since they were little kids till they grow and they like when you’re married and stuff like that. Even their neighbours see them naked but it’s just the way they live and it’s the way they like respect themselves. They just they walk so normally that sometimes you don't even notice that
F1: And they walk bare foot as well
M1: Yeah and they walk bare foot they don’t put shoes on
F2: they’re nude
M1: I think its just a way of them living it’s a way they like they carry on their culture and I think its quite important and beautiful how they carried it for so many years.
The Curious Case of
An exploration of colonial-era Angola by a group of young people working with Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums.