A Memory of Concrete: Politics of Representation and Silence in the Agostinho Neto Memorial

  • Vasco Martins CES-UC
  • Miguel Cardina CES-UC


Focusing on the Memorial António Agostinho Neto (MAAN) in Angola as the case
study to analyse materialisations of memory, the article attempts to read the political
representations of this monument by analysing its main narratives, questioning its
silences and unpacking its impact on public memory. To do so, the article is divided
into three parts. The first section engages with the relevant academic literature on
southern African memorialisation and provides a brief description of the MAAN.
The second and third sections consider Richard Werbner’s notion of elite memorialism
to produce a two-dimensional analysis, referencing the absence of MPLA narrative
and symbols in the MAAN while noting how it became inaccessible to the ordinary
Angolan population, a result of more ample dynamics of state society relations
in the country. It concludes that the logics of social hierarchy that have promoted the
marginalisation of segments of the population have impacted the MAAN’s ability to
contribute to the new ways Angolans are imagining the nation.