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Kakongo (Angola)

Former kingdom (c. 18th century)

Last modified: 2005-11-21 by bruce berry
Keywords: kakongo |
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[Kakongo king's banner (1883)] image by Jorge Candeias, 19 Dec 2004, after image at this site, reported by Chris Kretowicz, 04 Apr 2001 See also:

Kakongo king's banner (1883)

According to Oliver & Fage - A short history of Africa, (1962) Kakongo was an outlying area of the kingdom of Bakongo, north of the Kongo river. It was a kingdom in its own right, as well the kingdoms of Ngoyo and Loango, all roughly in the area of what is now the enclave of Cabinda. Stielers Handatlas (1877) has the whole area of Cabinda named Kakongo. This flag has great similarity with the Fante Asafo flags of Ghana.
Jarig Bakker, 4 Apr 2001

The Kakongo kingdom was an old African kingdom whose territory comprehended the northern part of what is today coastal Cabinda (Angola) and a larger area to the interior, going all the way to the Congo river, in today's Democratic Republic of the Congo. The main settlement was the coastal city of Landana (some 40 km to the north of the city of Cabinda).
It had a flag, similar to the Asafo flags of Ghana, whose elements are explained in the flag page in Portuguese with parts of a traditional text (song? legend?) in Kakongo, as follows:

The King is in the center. The King carries his son in his back.

_Pata, Mikono:
Livembo liami likele._

Father (says the son), look the Mikono plain:
You are on my shoulders (answers the father). If you see it, that's because I'm carrying you. What good is the son if his father, the King, does not help him and give him fame and power?

Above, to the right, we find the Sun. To the left, the Moon.

Ntangu (p1. zintangu) = Sun.
Ngonde (p1. zingonde) = Moon.

_Ngonde podi vioka ntangu ko._

The Moon cannot pass ahead of the Sun. The subjects cannot pass ahead of their leader, the King.

Below, to the right, the palm of a hand.

Nkanda likoko = palma da mão.

_Nkanda likoko:
Mvika lieso lituvi._

The palm of the hand:
Slave of the eye... (this would be the literal translation).

The subject is nothing but a servant of his lord. So, the subject is to his lord as a man's hand is to its owner, to the point of serving for any kind of work, even the lowest.

Below, to the left, there's a man, symbolizing the people, clapping his hands.

_Nkanda likoko li sakilila mbene._

Clap your hands (even if you are an) enemy.

In short:

The King is ahead of everyone just like the Sun is ahead of the Moon (ngonde podi vioka ntangu ko), and even the king's son can do nothing without his father (livembo liami likele).
More: the subject is to the King like the palm of a man's hands is to the man: it's a slave of the man's needs (even the most shameful ones) and will (nkanda likoko: mvika lieso).
What is, then, the role of the subject? To obey the King (that is the significance of the clapping hands) even if he is far from being not the King's friend (nkanda likoko li sakilila mbene).

End of translation. This looks like an African version of the absolute monarchy...
Jorge Candeias, 19 Dec 2004