Angola Table of Contents
The JMPLA was founded in 1962 and converted into a training ground for MPLA-PT activists in 1977. It claimed a membership of 72,000, mostly teenagers and students, in 1988. The JMPLA conducted military exercises and political study groups, measuring success within the group primarily by an individual's commitment to the socialist revolution. The Second Congress of the JMPLA was held on April 14, 1987, a date that was also celebrated as National Youth Day.
Despite the symbolic and practical importance of the political role of the nation's youth, MPLA-PT officials generally had a derisive attitude toward JMPLA leaders during the 1980s. At the MPLA-PT congresses of 1980 and 1985, party officials criticized youth leaders for their failure to encourage political activism. They also remonstrated against youth group officials for the bourgeois attitudes, materialism, and political apathy they detected among children and teenagers. One measure of these problems was the continued urban influx among young people, which impeded MPLA-PT efforts at rural mobilization.
MPLA-PT leaders assigned the JMPLA the task of guiding the national children's organization, the Agostinho Neto Organization of Pioneers (Organização dos Pioneiros Agostinho Neto--OPA). The goal of the OPA was to educate all children in patriotic values, socialism, and the importance of study, work, and scientific knowledge. Founded as the Pioneers in 1975, the group took the name of the nation's first president at its second conference in November 1979, following Neto's death. JMPLA leaders generally viewed the OPA as a recruiting ground for potential political activists.
Data as of February 1989