In conflict and post-conflict societies, service delivery is complex both in terms of actors and of the kinds of services provided. The dominant framework of humanitarian space, with its strong focus on international humanitarian assistance and on humanitarian principles, does not fully capture the dynamics and process of service delivery. This paper proposes an alternative analytical framework that depicts humanitarian space as an arena where aid is negotiated and its outcomes shaped by the interaction of various social actors. It reviews the history of service delivery in Angola and shows that during different conflict and post-conflict phases, a range of actors and service types that fall outside of those labelled as humanitarian were essential in addressing local needs. Stepping away from normative expectations of what happens during humanitarian crises reveals how service delivery gets shaped in everyday practice and provides an alternative understanding of crises response.