Photos showing young people leaving the family home have been circulating on Angolan social media over the past few months, as part of a movement called “Operation Leave Your Old Lady’s house” (“Operação Sai da casa da Velha” in Portuguese). The aim of the campaign is to underline to the government that high unemployment is preventing young people from getting their own homes; and also to inspire each other in their search for independence.
A picture of a young man with a suitcase in hand and a foam mattress on his head stands in front of a doorway; another shows a young woman in front of a house with a crate of clothes on her head facing a woman shouting at her. Numerous photos depicting such scenes have been doing the rounds on social media, particularly Facebook, for several months, where numerous groups have also been formed as part of this movement.
A 29-year-old Angolan explained to us:
This protest movement draws attention to young people who are past the age of living with their parents. The young people taking part in it want to alert the authorities to the high rate of unemployment, which forces them to remain living with their parents. Taking part involves youngsters posing for photos with their clothes and belongings, pretending to stand up to their parents, as if they were being kicked out of the family home.
According to Angola’s National Institute of Statistics, the country’s unemployment rate is 20 percent (rising to 40 percent in the province of South Luanda). On July 21, young people demonstrated in a number of cities across the country, to spread the message “Unemployment Causes Marginalisation”. They particularly called on President João Lourenço to respect the promise he made during his electoral campaign – that his administration would create 500,000 new jobs.
Aside from high unemployment, other factors explain why young people often remain living with their parents, such as Luanda being one of the world’s most expensive cities in the world. This is due mainly due to high inflation, a shortage of currency and the fact the country imports most of what it consumes.
Angola is far from the only country affected by this phenomenon of young people continuing to live with the parents into adulthood, particularly due to high unemployment. In Europe, especially in southern and eastern countries, many young people are similarly affected.
Early this year, another movement sprang up on Angolan social media called “You just killed me” (“Acaba de me matar”, in Portuguese). Young people were photographed pretending to be dead, protesting against the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola government -- which has been in power since the country’s independence in 1975 -- which they argue has shown itself incapable of resolving Angola’s problems.
Operation “You’ve just killed me,” launched earlier this year.
This article was written by Chloé Lauvergnier (@clauvergnier).