“What’s that?” I asked my driver, pointing to lines of apartments I saw from the express way.

“It’s China Town.”

“What is it called?”


I was really surprised to see the blocks of apartments. I was even more amazed when I saw a big announcement saying that KERO (a brand of hypermart) just opened in Kilamba. There must be lots going on there, I thought to myself.

Few days later, I decided to pay this new city a visit. Though I did not know what to expect, I couldn’t help wishing that somehow I would find myself surrounded by small red shops, filled with smell of incense, selling some cheap things. Well at least, I could visit the new KERO (who knows, they might sell Dorado less than USD 36/kg there).

Following the sign of the new KERO, turning right from the express way, I passed the new KERO, passed the guard and entered (right again) to a long tarred road and found myself in….. NOT Angola. My speech was overwhelmed by my sight that for a while my jaw just hang open with no sounds produced (which was a really rare occasion).

My driver finally broke the silence, “Muito bonito Madame…, muito grande. Todos pode viver aqui”.

There were no red small shops, there were no incense. There were buildings, big buildings and more buildings. I saw (what I thought) tens  (if not hundreds) of apartment buildings. Each block had different color. Each block had its own primary school and middle school (with 2 basketball courts each). Every building had wheelchair access. Plenty of parking spots in between building. Green parks for kids to play in. There were even (what looked like) bus stops for the shuttle bus.

It was a sunny day that day, the sky was blue and with the contrast of the green (well kept) grass, I really felt like I was transported to another world.

The only thing missing was…. the people.

It was empty. Except for the workers watering the grass, cleaning the pavements.

After almost an hour roaming the “city”,  we headed for the new KERO. As expected there were less than 20 customers inside the hypermart. The branch that was only opened 10 December 2011 was really nice, except that it’s lacking people. Still, if they’re confident enough to build a hypermart in the middle of nowhere, it meant that this place might be “jammed packed” one day. Though the fact that the cashier lady told me that a 3 bedroom apartment would cost more than USD 250,000  sort of telling me that it might not be anytime soon.

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11 thoughts on “THE NEW CITY OF KILAMBA

  1. Jolanda says:

    kenapa masih kosong,cenah ? (acan/teu) payu ? *coret yang tidak perlu*

    • Wina says:

      Teu terang. Mungkin mahal, mungkin secara lokasi masih (dianggap) jauh. Tapi seneng aja lihatnya. Mari kita berkunjung dan piknik di sana…

  2. Karel says:

    I like your way of doing these little diaries (if you allow me to call them so); I wish to read more of you…

  3. […] somewhere between US$120,000 and US$200,000 according to online advertisements cited by BBC. Other anecdotal reports put the price of 3-bedroom apartment at about US$250,000. None of which helps the average Angolan […]

  4. […] cost somewhere between $120,000 and $200,000 according to online advertisements cited by BBC. Other anecdotal reportsput the price of 3-bedroom apartment at about […]

  5. […] somewhere between $120,000 and $200,000 according to online advertisements cited by BBC. Other anecdotal reports put the price of 3-bedroom apartment at about […]

  6. […] cost somewhere between $120,000 and $200,000 according to online advertisements cited by BBC. Other anecdotal reports put the price of 3-bedroom apartment at about $250,000. None of which helps the average Angolan […]

  7. Lee says:

    I am hoping that there are others still taking a look at these articles about Kilamba because I am fascinated with Angola.

    I am a Canadian married to a woman who was born in Humbe in Angola. I was a tour guide who fell in love with Portugal and later my wife who had left Angola in 1975. Our first child, our daughter, was born in Portugal. Prior to going to Portugal as a tour guide I, as most North Americans, knew little of the fairly recent history of Portuguese colonies becoming independent. Once in Portugal it didn’t take long for me to understand the importance of modern history.

    Jolanda & Wina have left comments in a language which I cannot understand. If either of you are still around could you or someone else please translate in English what was said and could you let me know which language it is?

    Kilamba as I see it is one of 2 things.

    1) A very long term plan for the future and will actually materialize one day or….

    2) A gross error on the part of the government.

    I believe Angola can be the place to be in the future and that the opportunities will be outstanding but it’s going to take a lot of patience and flexibility on the part of all concerned.

    I’ve copied and pasted a recent article below that was written in the ANGOP press. Agencia Angola Press.

    The pictures didn’t come through but the script did and here’s the article:

    Kilamba City flats sold out

    The flats of the newly built Kilamba City have been sold out, with celebration of contracts and handover of keys to buyers currently in progress.

    The information was released Tuesday in Luanda by the chairman of the city, Joaquim Real Marques.

    According to the official who was speaking during a visit the bishops of the African College of the Methodist Church paid to Kilamba, the city is currently the home for 40,000 residents.

    Joaquim Real Marques said he expects that the number of residents increases until December or January 2014, as many people will be moving in with the end of the academic year.

    Would that happen, the official added, the number of residents might reach 60 to 70,000 residents, before climbing to 150,000, with the completion of the next phase of the project. The city currently comprises 700 blocks of flats.

    The prices of the apartments range from Usd 70,000 to 180,000, payable over a period of 10 to 30 years

    • Wina says:

      Good day Lee,

      Thanks for your comment. To answer the first question, we were commenting in a mixed of Sundanese, one of the 300+ Indonesian dialects and Indonesian. We were discussing why it was still empty.

      For background, I am Indonesian and I lived in Angola for 4 years. I am not sure if you’ve visited Angola, but normal people housing doesn’t look like that at all (even for us expats).

      If the news were correct, then I’m truly happy, because the Angolans deserve better. I just hope that the government also backed it up with adequate public transport system. As it was really in the middle of nowhere, I can not imagine how they’re going to commute to the city.

      As you can see, this particular write-up were heavily picked up by foreign publication as they’re investigating the phenomena of “Chinese Ghost Towns” that were happening in China and outside of China. The reason why locals call it China town because it was built by the Chinese.

      Do read my other posts on Angola. It will give a glimpse of the life there. I myself fell in love with the country and I hope one day I get to go there again.

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