Octávio Fernando was born at Kilenda, of the Kimbundo clan, in the province of Kwana Sul, Angola, on March 14, 1951. He was the son of Fernando Mulemba, who was the Soba of the Kirimbo community, and of Miquelina Sabão, a housewife. He married Carolina Guia in 1977, and they had six children, three girls and three boys.
Fernando became a Christian in the Assemblies of God Pentecostal Church (ADP). Through the influence of his cousin and tutor, Pastor António João, with whom he lived until his marriage, Fernando entered the Evangelical Christian Church of Luanda (ICEL) in the 1970s. This church later became the Evangelical Christian Church of Angola (ICEA). In 1984, he was ordained as a pastor in the Evangelical Christian Church of Angola and elected as general secretary of the Evangelical Alliance of Angola (Aliança Evangélica de Angola, AEA). He appreciated and encouraged ecumenism between evangelicals and protestants. He was critical of the Catholic church and of sects and messianic movements. Even so, he had huge respect and admiration for some Catholic bishops, and he was a friend of Bishop Zacarias Kamuenho and Bishop Anastácio Kahango.
Fernando completed the three levels of schooling: Marques Seixas (graduating in 1968), Liceu Salvador Correia (Luanda, graduating in 1977), and Liceu N’gola Kiluanji (Luanda, graduating in 1979). He also did a business school degree at the Karl Marx Institute in Makarenko (Luanda). While already AEA general secretary, he earned his licenciatura (honors bachelors) in theology at the Superior Institute of Theology of Lubango (ISTEL) and completed his master’s degree in missiology at the Evangelical Missions Center (CEM) in Viçosa, Brazil. He studied sociology at the Superior Institute of the Science of Education at Agostinho Neto University (UAN). Throughout all of his life, he was concerned to learn.
Fernando also worked for the following institutions: BBCI/BNA(1975-1984), the high park of the Portuguese Army Barracks (1974-1975), and the town council of Kilenda (1969-1972) before he became a pastor and AEA general secretary. He held those positions until he suffered the debilitating stroke which led to his death five years later.
At thirty-three years of age, he was elected secretary general of the AEA, which was not entirely pleasing to his denomination. The election occurred during the annual meetings held from October 30 to November 4, 1984. He took office in January of 1985. He succeeded Pastor David Nkosi. It is not exactly clear when Pastor David Nkosi began executive leadership of the AEA or when he left it. It seems he held the office for four years up to 1983, and the position was left vacant for about a year, due to many difficulties.
Fernando attended many international conferences as AEA leader, for instance, the “conferências de Fogo” in Zimbabwe (1986), World Evangelical Alliance, Singapore (1986), Lausanne II, Manila (1989), Pan-African Christian Leaders Conference (PACLA II), Kenya (1994), and Global Evangelical Consultation, South Korea (1995). He was a famous preacher throughout Angola and he wrote a book titled Christianity in Angola. The respected pastor died on February 14 and was buried in Luanda on February 17, 2009.
Other information that is not less important: The most notable thing about Pastor Octávio’s career is that he was chosen as the top executive of the AEA at the age of 33. For a young man to lead a national organization through many difficulties causes admiration, and to know that he did that instead of continuing his career in banking causes shock.
Leaving a job, which was without a shadow of a doubt better-paying, and promising to take up the role of secretary general of an institution that basically only exists on paper is no small sign of insanity.
Fernando was also the author of a book called Christianity in Angola, and he was a sought-after preacher for ecumenical events who focused on the theme: “There is no politician who is not religious and no religious person who is not a politician.”
Sachiveve Aurélio Canjila
- Quintino, Serafim Armando. “Pastor Octávio Fernando,” March 12, 2014, Luanda.
- Luakute, Rev. Jose Bernardo. Interview, April 25, 2020, Lubango.
- Rafael, Avelino. Interview, April 27, 2020, Lubango.
This biography, received in 2021, was written by Sachiveve Aurélio Canjila, a candidate for the Master of Arts degree in Theology from the Higher Institute of Evangelical Theology in Lubango (Instituto Superior de Teologia Evangélica no Lubango, ISTEL) in Angola. This biography was written under the supervision of Sindia Foster, instructor at ISTEL and missionary to Mozambique with Serving in Mission (SIM).