Public holiday as pope visits Angola on Friday

Other News Materials 20 March 2009 11:22 (UTC +04:00)

Pope Benedict XVI was expected in Angola on Friday on the second leg of his week-long maiden trip as pontiff to the continent - which has been overshadowed by his controversial remarks about condoms, dpa reported.

Angola's minister for public administration and employment told public sector workers they could take the day off to mark the papal visit, the state Angop news agency reported.

Benedict was scheduled to meet with the country's president of 30 years, Eduardo dos Santos, on his arrival in the capital Luanda.

He was also due to meet with the local Catholic bishops, meet with NGOs and hold an outdoor mass during his stay in the country, which was the first in sub-Saharan Africa to be evangelized about 500 years ago.

The German pope is arriving from Cameroon, where he met with bishops from across the continent to prepare the second synod of African bishops in Rome in the autumn, as well as with Muslim leaders.

Around 60,000 people flocked to mass in Amadou Ahidjo stadium in Cameroon's capital Yaounde.

But his visit was embroiled in controversy following remarks he made about HIV/AIDS prevention on the plane to Cameroon. Health workers said his declaration that condom use was not the answer to preventing the spread of the pandemic in Africa and could actually aggravate the situation dealt a blow to their prevention efforts.

Benedict's trip closes on March 23 in Angola.