“But … we are Africans!”: Family life cycle structuring and functioning in southern Angola

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 25, issue 6, 2015 , pages: 504–511
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2015.1124602
Author(s): Tchilissila Alicerces SimõesFaculty of Psychology and Education Sciences, Portugal, Isabel Marques AlbertoFaculty of Psychology and Education Sciences, Portugal


This study sought to explore and describe family life structuring and functioning in a southern Angolan setting. Informants were 20 people with an intimate knowledge of southern Angolan culture (females = 9, 45%; age range 26-88 years) and all employees in the health (n = 5; 25%), education (n = 8; 40%), juridical (n = 2; 10%), public administration (n = 2; 10 %) and faith-based organisations (n = 3; 15%) sectors. We engaged then in one-to-one interviews of aspects of family structure and function which they perceived to characterise the family life cycle in southern Angola. Findings suggest an intergenerational family structure with communal living and marriages in which premarital pregnancy was a precursor. Beginning or young families cohabitated with several other generation, others mostly from extended family in backyard townhomes. Traditionalist gender roles in which men were perceived as heads of households and women as caregivers persisted. Family life in southern Angola is marked by social adaptation of traditionalist African communal living in the context of modernity.

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