What Do the Colors and Symbols of the Flag of Angola Mean?

By Amber Pariona on April 27 2018 in World Facts

The flag of Angola.

The Flag of Angola

The flag of Angola consists of two horizontal bands of different colors, each taking up half of the flag's background. The top band is red in color, while the bottom band is black. At the center of the flag is a golden yellow emblem. This emblem is made up of the right half of a cog (used for moving gears), with a machete positioned across its bottom half, and a five-pointed star at the top and center of the open cog. The flag of Angola was officially adopted on November 11, 1975, when the country established its independence from Portuguese colonial rule.

Symbolism of the Flag of Angola

The flag's current design is said to have been inspired by the flag of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (PMLA), a political party that first promoted the movement for Angola's independence. However, the emblem in the center of both flags are different. The PMLA flag's emblem has a golden yellow, five-pointed star. Each of the colors and symbols on Angola's national flag has a very special meaning for the country. The red color, for example, represents the lives lost during the country's fight for independence, while the black color is meant to represent the people of Africa and the continent as a whole. The star, which is carried over from the PMLA flag, is supposed to symbolize socialism. The machete, a hand tool commonly used for cutting grass and underbrush, is meant to stand for the country's agricultural workers. Finally, the cog represents the industrial sector and its industrious employees. The placement of the gear and the machete has often been compared to the hammer and sickle icon used to represent communism.

Variations of the Flag of Angola

The current flag is the only design to represent Angola since the country's independence. However, other flags have held an important role in the history of Angola. For 400 years (from 1575 until 1975), Angola was governed as a colony of Portugal, and during this time Angola was represented by the flag of Portugal. This flag is a bicolor with vertical bands. The left band is dark green and takes up about one-third of the background, while the remainder of the background is red. At its center is a golden yellow colored sphere with the coat of arms situated on top.

In 1996, the government of Angola considered changing its flag. The proposed design was a tricolor of equally measured horizontal bands. The top band was red, followed by green in the middle, and a black band at the bottom. However, the new flag's design was not ratified. In 2003, Angola debated its flag design for a second time. This time, the discussion focused on having a flag that appeared more positive. The proposed design had a red, white, and blue background. It had two narrow blue stripes at the top and bottom which were outlined by a narrower white stripe. The center band of the proposed flag was red and a golden yellow sun symbol was featured at the center.

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