The Invisible Labor of the “New Angola”: Kilamba’s Domestic Workers

Wangui Kimari, Henrik Ernstson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Kilamba, the first of the new centralities in Angola, is increasingly visible in recent urban scholarship about Luanda, further establishing it as the symbol of both this “new” post-war city and the “New Angola.” Within local discourses of progress, its emergence from within “petro-urbanism,” and its size and modern aesthetics are emphasized, while little attention has been directed towards understanding the actual contributions of its workers, particularly the women who spend a significant part of their day cleaning Kilamba’s apartments. In this paper, we combine a social reproduction framework with infrastructure studies to trace the labor of Kilamba’s female domestic workers, in order to demonstrate how their everyday practices uphold the status and materiality of this centrality, even as their work is invisibilized. In doing so, we understand their commentaries about this space, often refracted through descriptions of their homes, as critiques of the infrastructural priorities of the “New Angola.”
Original languageEnglish
JournalUrban Geography
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2022


  • Domestic work
  • Kilamba
  • Luanda
  • Angola
  • Infrastructure


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