Envelopes of Polity

On my ASM journey, I was able to amass a small archive of objects. Amongst them are these Angolan postal envelopes that date from 1972 to 1978. Stained with fingerprints, devoid of addresses or letters, they remain anonymous. I acquired them in a secondhand store in Lisbon.

Stamped and emblazoned with scenes and slogans of both liberation and struggle, they are pictorial elements of the communist propaganda machine that reminded the Angolan masses to rally round the flag. They both chronicle and herald a new era that signaled the end of the long, hard fought battle for independence from the Portuguese, while also depicting the bloody stage on which the 1972 to 2002 internal civil war between the Communist MPLA[1] and anti-Communist UNITA[2] was enacted.

This proxy cold war was fought between the rival states of the Soviet Union, Cuba, South Africa, and the United States, and was one of the longest civil wars fought on the continent of Africa, lasting 27 years with a death toll of more than 500,000, and over 1 million internally displaced.


[1] The Peoples Movement for the Liberation of Angola

[2] National Union for the Total Independence of Angola.

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