Marking Angola's 40 years of independence, President Jose Eduardo dos Santos reminded citizens of the country's violent history.
In a speech printed in local media and broadcast on radio and television on Wednesday, dos Santos said after a 27-year civil war that ended in 2002, it was up to Angola's youth to rebuild the country.
But critics say Angola has little to celebrate as dos Santos, who has been in power for 36 years, cracks down on basic human rights.
Rights group Amnesty International has accused the Angolan government of extrajudicial killings and the arbitrary arrest of critics.
Independent Angolan news site, Rede Angola, questioned dos Santos' optimism for the youth in the wake of the arrest of 16 young political activists.