Since he returned from exile, his songs have critically and beautifully accompanied Angola’s recent history, which has been marked by a war of independence, new beginning and civil war.
In these times, in which the Portuguese are increasingly seeking greener pastures in the former colony, Angola, Bonga Kuenda has also returned home. Behind him lies a long history. Born in 1942, Bonga became a track athlete, a specialist in the 400 meters. A confrontation with Salazar’s colonial regime led to harassment and exile in Europe. But the former middle-distance runner embarked on a singing career that proved more enduring than colonial rule. Bonga produced his first album, “Angola 72,” in Rotterdam, followed by “74,” “76” and two dozen more. At once critical and beautiful, these have accompanied Angola through its recent history, which has been marked by a war of independence, new beginnings and civil war. The scars that now have to heal are doing so in part to music by Bonga.