Guardas de Miramar / Guards of Miramar

Daniel Seiffert


Between April and May 2018, I spent a month in Luanda. The capital of Angola is valid according to different studies and statistics as the most expensive city in the world, at least what the cost of living for foreigners, so-called expats are concerned. In contrast stands the fact that the big one majority of the local population earn less than a dollar a day and have to make a living. Reasons for this are the enormous oil and diamond wealth of the country. The resources unfortunately, far less blessing than curse for the huge country in the south of Africa. By 2002, a bloody civil war raged, beginning with the independence from the Portuguese colonial power in 1974/75 and as a prime example of so-called proxy wars between the two ideological world powers in the 20th century applies.

The area where I was accommodated is called Miramar. It is an old one Portuguese quarter with a colonial past all international embassies can be found and therefore foreigners as well as the Angolan elite lives here. Behind high walls with barbed wire and broken glass on top. Protected by a whole armada of guards, who often sit and wait in front of the buildings 24 hours a day to keep watch. The guards unites their past as soldiers on different sides during the civil war. They served either the ruling party MPLA and fought against the rebels of UNITA supported by the West as well as the Congo funded FNLA or the other way around. Depending on the pay and order situation sometimes for the one and then again for the other war party. Because of their military experience, they are providing on behalf of watch companies today on the side for the safety of an extremely wealthy elite and especially by the Oil business in the city residing expats. Still as hired mercenaries for a miserable reward.

With my portrait series of the "Guardas de Miramar" in juxtaposition with the seating furniture as objects of waiting and witness I like to tell about this.

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