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Angola - proposals for a new flag

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2003 proposal

image by Pascal Gross, 27 Aug 2003

Luanda, 27 Aug 2003 - The National Assembly's Constitutional Commission, an organ in charge of drafting the country's next Constitutional Bill, selected the new national symbols (Flag, Anthem and Insignia). The Coat of Arms have remained unchanged - the words in the national anthem have changed but not the music. The results were announced during a Press Conference which took place in the headquarters of the Constitutional Commission, a meeting that was chaired by João Lourenço.

The description of the National Flag proposed by the Constitutional Commission tasked to draft the country's new constitution is a rectangular flag measuring 180 centimeters long and 120 centimeters wide, divided in five horizontal stripes.
The top and bottom stripes are dark blue, each measuring 20 centimeters. The two intermediate stripes are white, each measuring 10 centimeters with the central blood-red stripe measuring 60 centimeters.
The middle red stripe features a design of a 15-ray yellowish sun comprising three irregular concentric circles which are inspired by the ancestral Tchitundo-Hulu rocks paintings in the country's Southwestern Namibe province.

The symbolism of the proposed National Flag was explained by a ruling MPLA party deputy, Ana Maria de Oliveira, who coordinated the sub-commission for the National Symbols.
The blue stripes represent Freedom, Justice and Solidarity and the white ones stand for Peace, Unity and Harmony.
The red stripe represents Sacrifice, tenacity and heroism, and the sun represents the historical and cultural identity and the riches of Angola.

The design was submitted by a candidate under the nickname of "Catica", whose proposal was numbered 106. According to the contest regulations, the winner is entitled to a medal and an amount in the local currency equivalent to USD20 000.
Source: AngolaPress.
Antonio Teixeira, 27 Aug 2003

From what I understand what has been announced by the national symbols committee, the winner of the competition is a design for a new flag for Angola. The old symbols, both flag and arms, will continue in use until the constituent assembly can agree on a constitution in which the new national symbols will be described. Hopefully, our Portuguese speaking correspondents can clarify the matter, but it seems to me the new flag will have to wait before being run up the flagpoles.
Jan Oskar Engene, 28 Aug 2003

You are absolutely correct. This is just a project, still waiting for a new constitution to be institutionalized. That, as we all know, can take years to be implemented. So the winning design is just a proposal.
Jorge Candeias, 28 Aug 2003

Uije Citizens Refute Change of Country's Flag
Angola Press Agency (Luanda)
September 6, 2003

A crowd of citizens in Angola's northern Uije province gathered on 06 September 2003 to demonstrate against the proposed new flag chosen by the Parliament's Constitutional Commission of the National Assembly (Angolan Parliament).
In a survey carried out by Angop, some interviewed defended the maintenance of the current national symbols, and others said the flag to be adopted represents nothing to the Angolan people.
According to Eliás Kutuila, a civil servant, the colours of the proposed flag "do not go in accordance with the country's historical background". Some people back substantial changes of the flag but without "neglecting the history of Angola". One citizen, Pedro Augusto, said there are lots of countries in the world that have gone through situations like Angola but did not change their national symbols. Another citizen said the flag "they want to impose upon us has no any historical meaning, whereas the previous one describes the suffering of the Angolan people (blood and sorrow) plus the country's fortunes".
Antonio Teixeira, 11 Sep 2003

I wouldn't call the "survey" of a few interviews made to people protesting against the new design representative. Angop is the state-run Angolan press agency and is not independent from the influence of the ruling MPLA. So, all this tells us is that there are people in Angola who do not like that proposed flag, as would be expected. It says nothing about numbers, or how big the opposition really is.
Speculating, and considering similar cases in other countries, I do suspect it to be majority: there are those that prefer the current flag for political reasons, those that don't like the proposal because they'd prefer some other design (and several ideas have necessarily been put forward, informally), those that don't like it because they consider it ugly, etc.
Jorge Candeias, 11 Sep 2003

I completely agree that these are not scientific surveys but they might be the closest we will come to them. So here goes another article about another "survey". But I find it interesting to listen to the reasons for disliking the new flag, some of which are in line with what was already discussed here.

Public Opinion Disagrees On New National Symbols
Angola Press Agency (Luanda)
September 4, 2003

Several citizens disagreed today with the new national symbols (Flag, Anthem and Insignia), chosen last week by the National Assembly's Constitutional Commission. The discontent was aired on the State-run Angolan National Radio (RNA) "Manh? Informativa" (Informative Morning) programme.

Among the chosen symbols, which took three years to determine, the citizens were skeptical about the new flag proposal but defended the country's right to adopt an exclusive flag. During the phone-in session, callers said things such as "You deputies (MP's) should not copy a flag from other countries (...)". One of the callers, José Quipungo, a bishop of the United Methodist Church, considers that in the Hall of Nations, the present national flag is not similar to that of any other country, therefore, it should not be changed "Just like that". He stressed that the proposed flag, both in the colours and the design, does not represent any patriotic or nationalistic feeling for Angolans. "Perhaps it represents the present political sentiment", he said. Another caller, Mateus Bimbi, is of the opinion that since the deputies are always complaining about the lack of democracy, in this specific case they should show their democratic attitude, by letting people choose. "It is as if they are denying the greatest symbol of our independence, which means, renouncing our independence".

Ana Bela who also phoned into the programme said that the deputies are being too hasty because Angola is just coming out of a war situation and there are still a lot of important things to do. Therefore, some more time should be given so that the various artists that the country has may work more calmly to prepare a more a well designed one.

In the opinion of Manuela Santana, popular consultation regarding the flag design should be carried out because the sovereignty rests on the people. "It is necessary to find a flag which people can identify with, because the one that has been chosen does not represent anything for us. Angola has always had a bright son".

Meanwhile, the guests to the radio programme, deputies Jerónimo Wanga (UNITA) and Anália Pereira (PLD), were of the opinion that the proposed design represents neutrality.

As regards the similarity of the design with the flag of Costa Rica, the PLD deputy explained that the commission did not define criteria for the public competition from which proposal was chosen, allowing contestants to design their flags as they pleased. "That is why we did not have a lot of choice", she said. However, the MP's have assured that the people will have a say before the symbols are finally approved by the National Assembly.

The new national anthem to be approved will keep the melody of the current one with a few changes to the words. Many of the callers to the radio programme also think that only the lines referring to the ruling party's official date for the start of the armed struggle against colonialism (February 4) should be changed since the other parties advocate different dates.

The Constitutional Commission has also agreed to keep the country's present Insignia.

The Parliament's Constitutional Commission, made up of members of all the political parties seated in the National Assembly (Parliament), is in charge of drafting the next Constitutional Bill to be approved before the next elections.
Antonio Teixeira, 11 Sep 2003

Details on the new proposed flag of Angola can be found at this webpage. As supplied by Mello Luchtenberg.
My Portuguese is extremely basic, but it seemed to me that the flag (and presumably the arms as well) was still a "proposal" rather than the new flag of Angola ( at least as yet)?
Christopher Southworth, 27 Nov 2003

Yes, the flag is a proposal until a new constitution gets approved. But that whole thing is quite inconsistent. If you check the page of the "SUB-COMISSÃO DE TRABALHO PARA OS SÍMBOLOS DA REPÚBLICA" (working sub-commission for the symbols of the Republic) you can read the internal regulations of that organism where is expressed that "A Sub-Comissão da trabalho para so Símbolos da República tem por objecto o apuramento de três propostas de cada um dos Símbolos Nacionais, submetidos a concurso pela Comissão Constitucional." (the working sub-commission for the symbols of the Republic has the purpose of electing three proposals for each National Symbol, submitted to contest by the Constitutional Commission). And yet, only one final proposal for flag is known and no proposals for a new hymn or Coat of Arms are known.

That whole thing is a bit bizarre, if you ask me...

On the other hand, in the page about the proposals for the national symbols, you get a long list of names (and respective provinces) and no proposals at all. I assume (because it's written nowhere) that these are the names of those people that put forward flag proposals. I also see one name with a differently coloured background. Number 106, Katica, from Luanda, is probably the author of the proposed flag.
Jorge Candeias, 27 Nov 2003

On 28 August 2003 the Constitutional Commission charged with drafting Angola's new constitution and proposing new national symbols, released to the public its proposed new flag for the Republic of Angola.
The proposed flag, measuring 180 cm long and 120 cm wide, is divided into five horizontal bands. The top and bottom bands are dark blue and represent freedom, justice and solidarity. The two intermediate bands are white and signify peace, unity and harmony. The center band is red representing sacrifice, tenacity and heroism. In the middle of the red band is a 15-ray yellow sun comprised of three irregular concentric circles. The image is inspired by rock paintings in the desert cave of Tchitundo-Hulu in Namibe Province. The sun symbolizes the historical and cultural identity and the riches of Angola.

The proposed flag and new national anthem will be formally adopted after general elections, scheduled for 2005. The constitutional commission has recommended that the the Angolan insignia remain unchanged.
Source: this webpage.
Carlos Sousa, 11 Nov 2003

Concerning the proposed flag of Angola, Pascal Vagnat found a recent update:
The draft of the future Constitution of Angola shall be presented to the Constitution Commission of the National Assembly on 26 January 2004.
The Commission shall discuss the draft before its adoption. A public consultation process shall also be set up.
The draft of the Constitution includes the new flag proposal.
We can consider that another step was probably made towards the change of the national flag of Angola.
Ivan Sache, 08 Feb 2004

When will Angola change to the new flag adopted in August 2003 as designed by contest winner Catica (entry No 106)?
Nozomi Kariyasu,
01 Nov 2005

Most probably never! The reason is for us all to speculate, but a hard fact is that since the end of the Angolan civil war, and even well before it, a change in the national flag so that it does not show such a close link with MPLA has been a consistent rumour right to the highest level of government, and yet no change whatsoever occurred. So, I remain skeptical, contest or no contest.
António MARTINS-Tuválkin, 06 Nov 2005

2001 proposal

Tt seems Angola is in the considering adopting new national symbols.
I searched a little more, and found the next news items at the site of the Angolan embassy in the US (link is dead, Ed.).

Angola: Parliament Discloses New National Symbols
Source: ANGOP
Date: November 14, 2000
Luanda, 11/14 - Angola's National Assembly (Parliament), will hold a plenary session today in Luanda, to discuss the proposals submitted as part of the tender for new national symbols. 288 people have taken part in the contest for a new flag, new insignia of the Republic, and a new national anthem as part of the preparations for a new Angolan constitution. The contest which began on 20 August 1999 was scheduled to close December that same year, but was extended to 20 March 2000, due to delays in the submission of the proposals. According to the contest regulations, the national symbols should promote national unity, territorial integrity, together with the cultural and historic identity of Angola. They should not bear any connotation with the symbols of any political party. The sub-commission for symbols is composed of 15 members of parliament. Eight representatives are from the ruling MPLA, three from UNITA, one from the PRS, one from the FNLA, and another representative from the PLD. One more deputy represents other parties within the National Assembly. The sub-commission will elect the three best national symbols under contest, before sending them to the National Assembly Constitutional Commission.

Source: ANGOP
Date: April 24, 2001
Luanda, 04/24 - The Angolan parliament constitutional sub-commission for national symbols is to release the results of their second scrutiny in which 130 envelopes were selected with 150 proposals. The Sub-Commission Coordinator, Ana Maria de Oliveira said that it was a very difficult phase that took months of work. The review of the proposals commenced in November last year after 288 envelopes were submitted containing proposals for a new national anthem, flag and insignia. Ana Maria de Oliveira said the first review concentrated on verifying whether participants had respected the tender regulations. Of the 288 proposals received, 115 were rejected, 121 accepted, and there were three opinions. For a new national anthem alone the sub-commission received 44 proposals, of which 29 were not considered. She added that the second review would be to select the final 20 proposed flag designs, 10 insignias and four anthems, which will then be submitted to the constitutional commission for approval. Ana Maria de Oliveira assured that the necessary conditions were in place to rapidly complete the work in spite of some practical problems such as the absence of opposition MP's at meetings. The sub-commission working on the symbols is composed of 15 MP's: eight for the ruling MPLA, three for UNITA, one for PRS, one for FNLA, and one representing the parties not having a seat in the parliament.

Another report indicated that the three proposals for the anthem were approved on 16 May 2001.
Mark Sensen, 17 Oct 2001

Source: ANGOP
Date: May 16, 2001
Luanda, 05/16 - The Angolan parliament sub-commission debating new symbols of the Republic approved three proposals for the future national anthem as part of preparations for the drafting of a new constitutional law. The proposals of three anthems, three flags and same number of insignias will be submitted to the constitutional commission of the parliament for analysis and selection. The new anthem and flag to be approved will replace the current ones.

According to the president of the sub-commission for symbols, Mrs. Ana Maria de Oliveira, the selection of the three anthems out of 44 proposals has not been easy. She said they first identified those anthems which observed the requisites of the regulations of the context before they selected those with the best melodic and technical quality."
Jan Zrzavy, 19 Feb 2002

Constitutional Commission Examines National Symbols (of Angola) Report - February 11, 2003
Source: ANGOP Angola Press Agency (Luanda).
The Constitutional Commission of Angola's National Assembly, in charge of drafting the future constitution for the country will be informed on Wednesday by the Sub-committee on new national sovereignty symbols.
The Sub-committee for the National Symbols, co-ordinated by deputy Ana Maria de Oliveira, was the first one to finish its work that led to the three proposals for a Flag, Insignia and National Anthem.
Out of the tender for the National Symbols, 246 proposals were obtained, of which 143 were for the flag, 63 for the insignia 40 for the National Anthem.
The regulation on the National Symbols stipulates that the winners will get a medal and the equivalent of USD20 000 in national currency.
Antonio Teixeira, 12 Feb 2003

Constitutional Commission Selects National Symbols
Luanda, 02/12 - The Angolan National Assembly Constitutional Commission is set to select soon the national symbols (National Anthem, Insignia and Flag) ahead of a new constitution.
On Wednesday, the commission got briefed on the findings of the national symbols sub-commission, coordinated by MP Ana Maria de Oliveira.
According to the spokesperson of the constitutional commission, MP Carlos Magalhaes, the symbols selected as an integral part of the future constitution will still be submitted to the population.
Selected from a public tender were three proposals for flag, three for insignia and three for the Anthem, he said.
Jan Zrzavy, 14 Feb 2003

From Angola Press web page:
Luanda, 15 Feb 2003 - Angolan parliament Speaker Roberto de Almeida Friday said here he strongly believed that the future Constitution of the country may be submitted to a referendum this year. In an interview on the state-owned Angolan "TPA" Television, the Speaker added that even during the deadlock registered at the Constitutional Commission, the parts of the text which had earned consensus were already being written. The referendum is expected to take a minimum of three months, he said. Asked on the impossibility of holding elections before approving the new Constitution, Roberto de Almeida said he understood that it would be desirable that the new elections are held after a consensual legislative and legal framework has been established. But the Speaker feels that the National Assembly is "on a good path" and there is no room for elections without a new Constitution. The Constitutional Commission, a body created in 1988, is to select soon the new national symbols (anthem, insignia and flag) which will be part of the future draft Constitution.
Jan Zrzavy, 15 Feb 2003

Luanda, 19 March 2003 - The constitutional commission of the National Assembly (Angolan parliament) met today in Luanda to analyse the proposals of each political party with parliamentary seats on the "National Symbols" (Anthem, Insignia, and Flag).
"This is a preliminary consultation", said ruling party MP, Rui Falcăo, at the end of the meeting, adding that other meetings on this matter will take place until an agreement is reached. On February, the Constitutional Commission was informed about the results obtained on the public tender for national symbols, having been selected three proposals for the flag, insignia and national anthem from a number of about 288 proposals in the whole country.
Jan Zrzavy, 19 Mar 2003

It sounds serious, this time... Let's see what comes out from it. It appears that there have been three attempts to changes the flag in Angola (1989, 1995 and 1998).
António Martins-Tuválkin, 20 Mar 2003

1996 proposal

image by António Martíns-Tuválkin, 26 July 2016

Angola has indicated it will adopt a new flag. The probable design currently in discussion, is attached. The additions in the flag (emblem, shield...) are unknown at the moment.
The news was indicated by a reporter who visited Angola two weeks ago.
Jaume Ollé, 16 September 1996

The Angola embassy here has NO knowledge of the move towards adopting a new flag.
Bruce Berry, 17 September 1996

This would seem to be a straightforward combination of the flags and colours of the ruling MPLA party and their UNITA rivals, shorn of ideological insignia. The MPLA flag, as mentioned elsewhere, is black over red with a yellow star in the middle. The UNITA flag is red over green over red with a black cockerel and red sun emblem on the red stripe.

So the proposed flag - red over green over black combines the two Party flags while using the pan-African colours. Personally, I think the overall effect is rather boring and unimaginative, especially when compared to other new African flags such as those for Namibia and South Africa. On the other hand, Angola has had more than enough excitement over the past thirty years so any symbol around which all Angolans can unite should be welcomed.
Stuart A. Notholt, 20 September 1996

A recent news report from Angola said that the national assembly of the country has initiated work on a new constitution. The assembly appointed a 44-member Constitutional Committee to prepare a draft constitution. According to the report, UNITA is taking part in the work on the new constitution along with other Angolan parties. Now, the interesting thing for the vexillologist (and the vexillolographer) is that the news report stated that the Constitutional Committee will organise a contest for a new flag in July this year. So, we may have a new national flag to look forward to.
Jan Oskar Engene, 22 April 1998

On 28 August 1999 Jaume Ollé wrote:
Three unknown flags seen in Luanda c. 1976.
1) Horizontal stripes of red, green and black; and
2) Horizontal B-R-B horizontal (the red stripe fimbriated Y)
3) stripes of red, purple and green.

According to Jaume Ollé, at the beginning of September 1996, a (Spanish?) journalist visiting Luanda was informed that this proposal, a horizontal tricolor of red, green and black, was under consideration to be the basis of a new national flag. But, as was recently commented in n Lusovex, a new Angolan flag seems to be out of perspective in the current state of affairs. What a 1996 proposal was doing in 1976 is quite a mystery.
Antonio Martins, 31 Aug 1999

I believe that the flag of 1976 can be of one province of Angola. I have a w/b photo with many flags in an Avenue, some of them unidentified, probably flags of provinces (alternating with national and party flags). These flags were probably short lived because the war ravaged the country and provincial flags disappeared. Later the colours, forgotten by people, may be used like national proposal.
Jaume Ollé, 12 Sep 1999

It is a tantalizing possibility, but is there any evidence to back it up? The pre-1975 provinces of Angola didn't have any flags (of if they had, they would be in the usual Portuguese post-1935 civic flag pattern, with a Coat of Arms in the middle of a plain or gyronny background). Knowing the independentists' ideas about national unity and acknowledgement of local particularities, I doubt that any provincial flag could have been adopted until 1976; even party or army geographical sections would have if any, hardly distinct flags. On the photo: which are the identified ones? And which party or parties? By "national flag" I guess you mean the MPLA sponsored. People's Republic of Angola, is that it?
Antonio Martins, 13 Sep 1999