Saturday, January 19, 2008

Angolan National Women's Team Wins African Handball Championship

Thursday night the Angolan national team won the African Handball Tournament. (Link in Portuguese. Link in English.) There wasn’t as much celebration as when the men’s national basketball team won the AfroBasket Tournament, but the cars of Lobito did come out honking to celebrate the women’s team.

This morning I heard interviews with some of the women on the team, and I was truly impressed. In addition to playing on the national team, one woman worked full time and up until the tournament, was studying at night. She said she was retiring from the sport to continue her studies. Another woman had given birth only 8 months ago and dedicated the win to her new son. I guess that’s why I was a little miffed to later see the women were referred to as meninas- girls- in the papers. It just sort of seems to undermine their accomplishments both on and off the court. But I know better than to get worked up over something like that!

As usual, whenever Angola wins anything, the President of the Rupublic of Angola José Eduardo dos Santos (who is never called anything but “the President of the Rupublic of Angola José Eduardo dos Santos”; not President dos Santos, and certainly not Mr. dos Santos) issued a statement congratulating them. What was interesting was that the MPLA, dos Santos’ party and the ruling part of Angola since independence, also issued a statement congratulating the team. I suspect this is the beginning of a propaganda campaign by the MPLA to put its name in the media as much as possible in preparation for parliamentary elections in September. If opposing parties like UNITA or FNLA issued similar statements, they sure didn’t make it onto the radio.

No comments: