As in some other African countries, this flag is a modification of the ruling party's flag. The guerrilla movement and later governing party, the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), used the same design with a golden star in the center. Red stood for socialism and black for Africa. The star was modeled after the red star of the Soviet Union, which sponsored the MPLA.
Later the explanation was made less party-specific: The red is for the blood spilt by Angolans during their independence struggles, while the black is for the continent of Africa. The symbol in the middle is of a crossed cog wheel (representing workers and industry) and machete (representing the peasantry) with a gold star. It was adopted during a time when Angola had a Marxist government, and thus was supposed to evoke the image of the hammer and sickle found on the flag of the former Soviet Union, a common symbol of Communism. The flag is most recently described and explained in article 162 of the Constitutional Law of the Republic of Angola (Constitution) of August 25, 1992.
In 2003, a new, more "optimistic" flag was proposed by the Parliament's Constitutional Commission of the National Assembly (Angolan Parliament), but was not adopted. The sun design in the middle is meant to be reminiscent of cave paintings found in Tchitundo-Hulu cave. The flag maintained the same flag proportions of 2:3.