‘Can we name ourselves Savimbi?’: Crevice Moments and Spaces of National Reimagination in the Angolan Scouts
This paper presents an analysis of contemporary citizenship in one group of Angolan
boy scouts in 2014. It uses Shiera El-Malik’s notion of ‘crevice moments’1 to explore
specific instances of dialogue and action which reveal opening and possibility within
a largely closed state that have thus far not been reflected in existing scholarly literature.
The paper further considers the reasons for scouting’s popularity in post-war
Angola, arguing that its military structure, religious basis, and focus on ‘adventure’
and social interactions have made it a highly desirable space for young people in
a context where few opportunities exist for leisure activities. Finally, scouting enables
a reconstitution of military and ideological symbols including uniforms, the
socialist ideological construction of ‘the new man,’ and ‘nature’ in a way that, as one
scout leader put it, is ‘fit for peace’. In this process, past, present and future are reconstituted
by a movement that itself is formed and transformed in contradiction and
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