Angola's fifteen-year path to independence was so intricate and complex that to capture it seems an almost impossible task for a single documentary. Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, and São Tomé and Principe are also mentioned in the film as part of a Portuguese empire that, in the 1950s, was reluctant to concede independence even as anti-colonial feelings were growing throughout the African continent.
The naked exploitation, forced labor, the spatial segregation of the natives in their own land, and the racism they suffered at the hands of the Portuguese are established from the film's first frames. Angola's capital of Luanda suffered that spatial divide in particular. "Downtown for the Portuguese, and the museke for the Angolans," remembers Noé Saúde, then a student and political prisoner; he lived in the bairro indígena, a neighborhood built for black Angolans. María Luísa Gaspar, a student and activist, explains how the women were not allowed to have their hair braided; they were forced to comb it the "European way." Former guerrilla commander Benigno V. Lopez laments, "I don't know how we forgot that," recalling the intense racism and exploitation. "Simple things… if you were black, you couldn't be a bus driver."