Angola’s identity is derived mostly from its Independence from Portugal in 1975, and the civil war that ensued. The national anthem, ‘Angola Avante’, is highly representative of this. It honours those who fought for Peace, and sings of unity and “revolution through the power of the people”.

Angola’s identity is visualised further in its national flag. When I first began to do some research into Angola I wondered, “Why would anybody travel to a country which has a machete on its flag?”. Well, as it turns out, the machete is not a sign of hostility, but a symbol of the peasants and the nation’s armed struggle for independence, which was ultimately achieved in 1975.

Image

To elaborate further on Angola’s flag, the half-cog wheel represents the labourers, while the star is representative of international solidarity. Even the red colour is highly symbolic. It stands for the blood shed in the fight for Independence.

As I said earlier, the crux of Angola’s identity results from its fight for Independence, which was led by one of the most influential and defining people in Angolan history – Agostinho Neto. Poet. Physician. President.

Image

Neto led the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) in the war for independence. When Angola achieved Independence from Portugal, Neto became the first President of the nation, and he is regarded as a hero by many, for both his work as a politician and as a doctor in his earlier years. He is also regarded as the most prolific poet in Angolan history, with the quest for freedom his biggest muse.

Now let me talk about some of Angola’s most beautiful icons. Angola is a country with spectacular natural environments. Here are just a few of my favourites.

ImageKalandula Falls, Malanje Province.

ImageTunda Vala Volcanic Fissure in the marvellous Lubango.

ImageMiradouro da Lua (Moon Valley Viewpoint), 40km South of Luanda.

It is natural wonders like these, and other national parks such as Iona National Park and Cameia National Park, that will one day make Angola a popular tourist destination for Western travellers.

??????????Iona National Park.