Dear fellow stamp collectors:

The objective of our website is to project to the rest of the world the positive image of African philately. And there is so much valuable historic and cultural heritage of Africa that remains unknown that can be enhanced through the issue of honorable postage stamps that are expected to be the itinerant and miniature ambassadors of their countries.

However, we must at the same recognize that many of our African countries are suffering, probably mostly involuntarily, but also voluntarily in some cases, from a worldwide campaign of denigration of the African image through the production and distribution of what are known as illegal and abusive postage stamps. It is vital to take a stand to protect the image of our African culture from the continued proliferation of illegal and abusive stamps.

Fellow stamp collectors and friends have brought to my attention that there are many stamps circulating on the Web that are produced and sold in the name of many of our African countries and that many such so-called stamps are illegal products. Many other stamps are produced based on so-called legal contracts with private companies (working mostly in certain Western countries) and such stamps are termed as abusive because they are produced in huge quantities and in many variations and the images they portray have nothing to do with the culture or specificity of the country in the name of which they are issued. For example, how can one accept that landlocked countries such as Malawi and Rwanda should have on so-called stamps in their name, among many other topics, such as Arctic, marine and other non-African fauna, penguins, lighthouses, fire engines, Ferrari cars, ships (and catastrophes such as the sinking of the Titanic), submarines, trains, American, Asian and European public personalities, chess players, paintings, actors, actresses, musicians, singers, nudes, etc. on so-called stamps in their names! It is also shocking and totally unacceptable that certain images and scenes that appear on so-called postage stamps in the name of African countries that these are outright indecent and border on pornography.

We have learned from the website of the Universal Postal Union in its «Philately» section that there are public denouncements known as circulars that are regularly published to advise of the existence of illegal postage stamps which are produced and distributed by private companies in the names of the countries concerned. We find that the majority of such countries are unfortunately African countries.

From the total of 53 countries that make up the African continent, we observe that the following 25 countries have public denouncements of illegal postage stamps published through the UPU (some countries published more than once):

1 - Angola, 2 - Benin, 3 - Burundi, 4 - Cameroon, 5 Centrafrique, 6 - Comoros, 7 Rep of Congo, 8 Dem Rep of Congo, 9 - Côte d'Ivoire, 10 - Djibouti, 11 - Eritrea, 12 - Gambia, 13 - Guinea, 14 - Madagascar, 15 - Malawi, 16 - Mali, 17 - Mauritania, 18 - Morocco Western Sahara, 19 - Mozambique, 20 - Niger, 21 - Rwanda, 22 - Senegal, 23 - Somalia, 24 - Sudan, 25 - Tchad.

We found also that the following African countries have very doubtful so-called stamps in their names that look very much as illegal ones but for which we have yet to see a public denouncement: 1- Botswana, 2 - Burkina Faso, 3 - Gabon, 4 - Guinée-Bissau, 5 - Ecuatorial Guinea, 6 - Lesotho, 7 - Liberia, 8 Sao Tomé-et-Principe, 9 - Sierra Leone, 10 - Tanzania, 11 - Uganda and 12 - Zambia.

This makes for a total of 37 African countries in the names of which illegal so-called postage stamps confirmed and suspected have been identified, whether a public denouncement has been published or not, in other words, almost 70 % or two-thirds of the African continent. This is a calamitous situation!!! That requires urgent and immediate action.

We call upon fellow friends and collectors to seize the public authorities of the countries named above to call them to action against the devastation and denigration of the image of Africa through the large scale worldwide production and distribution and sale of illegal postage stamps that continues to spiral out of control.

For any information concerning illegal stamps, please send your comments and queries to the following E-mail address



Published: January 23, 2012
By permission of the author
Copyright © 2011 by Akpan Edet, Nigeria, PWO member.