"This umbrella isn't mine. I want the change, not this. But it's a good hat because it shades, at least it's good for that." Under a parasol with a photo of João Lourenço, President and candidate for the post of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), Isabel António braises and sells pig skin next to the market in Praça das Mulheres, in Cazenga, one of the most populous municipalities in greater Luanda.
With a bright scarf on her head, Isabel António says she votes for "three", the number of the Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), led by Adalberto da Costa Júnior.
On the other side of the avenue full of multicolored cars and stalls selling everything, dozens of umbrellas in the colors of the MPLA dominate the panorama. Benedita sells "fake gold", brass rings and various jewelry. "I want change. We have to change. We see other countries improving and we are always the same", she vents, shy and with a faint voice because "there are those who listen to what people say".
She discreetly shows the three-finger sign and says she already knows where she's going to vote. As for the red parasol with the MPLA symbol, which reads "Peace and Development", Benedita shrugs her shoulders. "It's just an umbrella. I'll trade it now for the victory of change".
Rui wears a hat from the National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA), with the figure of its leader - Nimi to Simbi - and tells Lusa that he doesn't want to talk about politics. But the hat on his head, and not the sun hat, betrays his vote.
"I'm going to vote here. It's my parents' party, my grandparents' party. With the vote we won't let it die", she says, referring to the historic movement of Holden Roberto.
Rui doesn't want to discuss politics but he went there saying that the MPLA "will have a bad result", because the people "are not happy and tired".
UNITA has grown on the outskirts of Luanda and today the party's provincial secretary is optimistic about a good result and, more than that, about the ability to monitor votes.
"We are going to count, sign the minutes and control the process. We already know the tricks and are prepared to monitor and denounce", tells Lusa Nelito Ekuikui, who accuses the National Electoral Commission (CNE) of wanting to keep voters away from the polls.
"They are moving polling stations, two kilometers away", he explains, pointing to a case a few meters from UNITA's headquarters in Cazenga.
For the UNITA leader, the MPLA "lost a lot of expression in Luanda" and "there was no mobilization work" by the government party.
On the other hand, says Nelito Ekuikui, Luanda "is one of the provinces in which civic awareness has most awakened" and, nowadays, "Angolan citizens feel that the electoral process belongs to them" and "demands transparent and fair elections".
UNITA's list is also more comprehensive, with the inclusion in prominent places of Abel Chivukuvuku, former founder of CASA-CE (Broad Convergence for the Salvation of Angola - Electoral Coalition) and elements associated with the Democratic Bloc.
"Today, UNITA is more than it used to be, it is broader", says Nelito Ekuikui, who, however, refuses that his party is the sole destination of the protest vote against João Lourenço's leadership.
"Reducing UNITA to a protest or anti-system vote was to assume that UNITA did not do its job. But we did, we mobilized people, and we did a lot of political work", explains Nelito Ekuikui.
But in the streets of Cazenga, the vote for UNITA is confused with the desire to change. "Change. I want change", says Rute, who works every day in the market and comes from Cacuaco.
"We all want to change, but we are all afraid afterwards", says the saleswoman, who does not trust who will count the votes. Because "we already know the result", she vents herself, resigned.
But despite this, Ruth insists that she will vote on August 24th. "I can't keep quiet, I know they're going to cheat, but I'm going to vote. This is democracy."