Pepetela: A Revolta da Casa dos Ídolos


Salinas Portugal, Francisco

Research lines

Theatre studies
Literature in Portuguese




Biblioteca-Arquivo Teatral Francisco Pillado Mayor

Date of publishment


Number of pages



A Revolta da Casa dos Ídolos recreates (reimagines and retells) a dark but little-known episode in the history of Angola, the so-called ‘Casa dos Ídolos’ uprising in 1514 against the ruling powers in the Congo. The reconstructed past presented in Pepetela’s play acts as a metaphor for the struggle for independence in Angola in the 20th century.


The story is set in what is known as the ‘Afro-Portuguese’ period in Angola’s history, extending from the arrival of Diogo Cão in 1482 and the beginning of the Portuguese presence in the Congo, until the death of Nempazu a Nimi (Álvaro II) in 1614.


A Revolta da Casa dos Ídolos is constructed as a factual retelling of true events, albeit from a fictional point of view and with the requisite suspension of belief. The play recounts the process of colonisation, acculturation and loss of identity set in train by the Portuguese from the moment of their arrival in the Congo: the imposition of European culture and religion, and the native resistance that formed to oppose it.