The Nordic Africa Institute

Dia da Dipanda — Angola 45 years

Angolan military veterans parade during the 40th Independence Celebrations held at the Augustino Neto Memorial site in Luanda in 2015. Photo: GCIS

Angolan military veterans parade during the 40th Independence Celebrations held at the Augustino Neto Memorial site in Luanda in 2015. Photo: GCIS

Date • 11 Nov 2020

Today, 11 November, we congratulate Angola on 45 years of independence. In the NAI’s ‘Liberation Africa’ collection, you can browse many different sources on Nordic support to liberation movements in Southern Africa.

The collection stems from the NAI project `Nordic Documentation on the Liberation Struggle in Southern Africa´, which was completed in 2009. Its purpose was to document and highlight Nordic solidarity with the freedom struggle in Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

After completing the project, with a six volume book series, NAI researcher Tor Sellström and the researchers involved agreed that additional material – such as interviews with high-level African freedom fighters – should be available to the public. That was the starting point for this online archive and finding tool, NAI Chief Librarian Åsa Lund Moberg explains.

outside picture of åsa Lund moberg

Åsa Lund Moberg.

“The collection links our Nordic history with our African partners. In fact, we share a history and cultural heritage. At the same time, however, it is also the Southern African countries´ own cultural heritage, but located in the Nordic countries”, Lund Moberg says.

Integrated in the Liberation Africa web resource is the large NAI library pamphlet collection from this period in Southern Africa. The material itself is not online, but anyone can browse through lists of what the many boxes in the basement contain.

We may think this material is about a distant history, Lund Moberg points out, but it is still very topical in our partner African countries.

“For instance, not long ago, a Swedish ambassador to Mozambique told me how people there constantly reminded her about the Nordic support and involvement in the liberation struggle”, Lund Moberg says.

outside pic cristina udelsmann rodrigues

Cristina Udelsmann Rodrigues.

NAI researcher Cristina Udelsmann Rodrigues has participated in celebrating ‘Dia da Dipanda’ – Independence Day – in Angola, many times.

“I remember what a big thing this day was when l was a kid. It was a pompous celebration with military marches, national propaganda on television and people cheering in the streets. Nowadays, it is a public holiday that many use to go to concerts and cultural events. Dipanda is less politicised now, I would say, but still a day of great historical importance for all Angolans”, Udelsmann Rodrigues notes.

TEXT: Johan Sävström