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FNLA (Angola)

Last modified: 2009-03-21 by bruce berry
Keywords: angola | fnla |
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[Angola - FNLA] image by Stuart Notholt, 10 Jan 1996 See also:

Frente Nacional para a Libertação de Angola (FNLA)

Led by Holden Roberto, the FNLA evolved from the Uniao das Populacoes do Norte de Angola, which was formed in 1957 and, as the title suggests, was predominantly a northern based party with an ethnic base among the Bakongo people. In 1961 the FNLA mounted  the first serious challenge to Portuguese rule in Angola. It received support from Zaïre, the USA and China.

During the final stages of the war against the Portuguese (and the MPLA) in 1975, the FNLA formed a shaky alliance with UNITA, announcing the formation of the Democratic Republic of Angola. Attacking Luanda from the north, the FNLA were defeated and never recovered. Elements of the FNLA were eventually absorbed into UNITA. Refugees from the FNLA also formed the basis of the South African Special Forces 32 Battalion which operated in Namibia and southern Angola. Holden Roberto returned to the country from exile in August 1991 and said the FNLA should be accorded parity with the MPLA and UNITA in the multi-party talks then in progress. This suggestion was ignored.

The FNLA flag had a red stripe running from bottom left to top right. On this was a white star. The upper triangle so formed was white, the lower yellow. Beyond a vague adherence to the pan-African colours, I do not have any information on the symbolism of this flag. There is also a vague similarity to the flag of the Congo (Zaïre) and Cabinda, which, given the ethnic and political links between the FNLA and southern Zaïre may be more than coincidental.
Stuart Notholt,10 Jan 1996

Going through the flags of Angola, I could not help but notice the likeness of the FNLA and the Musikongo (claimed state): same colors and a star (although different design). This is not surprising given that both entities are related to the Bakongo ethnic group, as is pointed out in the respective FOTW pages
Antonio Teixeira, 25 Jan 2002

image by António MARTINS-Tuválkin, 29 Jan 2009

The Angolan National Electoral Committee lists 14 parties and their symbols including that of the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (Frente Nacional para a Libertação de Angola) or FNLA.  This is a historical, now medium size political party which got the fourth best result in the 2008 Angolan parliament elections, with three seats out of a possible 220.

The Chr. Michelsen Institute in Norway says that the FNLA was founded as an armed liberation movement in 1956 by the nationalist hero Holden Roberto, with support from the Mobutu regime in Congo-Zaire. It is an old power rival of the MPLA. With 5 deputies, it (was) the fourth biggest party in the outgoing parliament. Mainly due to its history, the FNLA is well known and represented in all provinces. Its strongest presence is, however, in the Northern provinces of Uíge and Zaire, its historic strongholds. The party is severely divided, and factionalism has reduced it to a small party that struggles to uphold its proud history.

The National Electoral Committee website shows a FNLA flag which is almost like the one shown above but the diagonal stripe is “Tanzania-style” (bottom-hoist to top-fly) and not, as depicted by Stuart Notholt, “Congo-style” bottom to top.  The ratio is also squarer that usual at ~5:7.

This design of the diagonal, thus confirmed for current use by official sources (although these sources vexillological reliability is usually low), is also used in the “variant” flag with lettering as shown below and  used in the 2001 elections.
António MARTINS-Tuválkin, 29 Jan 2009

FNLA - variant

[FNLA new flag] image by Jorge Candeias, 28 Nov 2001

FNLA (Frente Nacional de Libertação de Angola, or National Front for the Liberation of Angola) comes fourth in the present Angolan Parliament with its 5 MPs. The flag is well-known, but in the site of the Angolan Parliament it's a little different from usual. Besides the diagonal tricolour of White, Red and Yellow with a white star in the center, there's also the initials F.N.L.A. in the canton and what looks like a motto, "LIBERDADE E TERRA" (freedom and land), in the yellow stripe, bent with the same inclination of the red stripe. Both writings are in black, and this flag design is confirmed elsewhere in the site through a photo of one of the parties' MPs.
Jorge Candeias, 28 Nov 2001