Homecoming for Angolan man who spent 40 years as a refugee [PICTURES]

An Angolan family returns home after decades as refugees in the DR CongoOver a decade after Angola’s struggle for independence and a lengthy civil war, the first refugees from the neighbouring DRC are beginning to make their way home.

An Angolan family returns home after decades as refugees in the DR CongoFor 66-year-old Antonio, it’s been almost 40 years since he fled his home in the village of Kwilu as the country transitioned from being a Portuguese colony to an independent state.

An Angolan family returns home after decades as refugees in the DR Congo

In late August, Antonio made the 220km train ride, and the 100km bus ride that came after that, from Kinshasa in the DRC to the Angolan border with his wife, sister and granddaughter.

An Angolan family returns home after decades as refugees in the DR Congo

They were among the first 500 Angolan refugees to make their way home, through a repatriation programme for former Angolan refugees set up by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). A further 30,000 are expected to follow.

An Angolan family returns home after decades as refugees in the DR Congo

“I feel joy when I think that I will go home. It’s better to be a citizen of your country than a refugee in another country,” he said.

Read more about Antonio’s journey on allAfrica.com.

– All images via the UNHCR / Brian Sokol  

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