The flag of the Republic of South Africa has horizontal bands of red (on the top) and blue (on the bottom), of equal width, separated by a central green band which splits into a horizontal "Y" shape, the arms of which end at the corners of the hoist side (and follow the flag's diagonals). The Y embraces a black isosceles triangle from which the arms are separated by narrow yellow bands; the red and blue bands are separated from the green band and its arms by narrow white stripes. The stripes at the fly end are in the 5:1:3:1:5 ratio.
South Africa flag
|Adopted||27 April 1994|
|Colors||Chilli Red, Green, Blue, Gold, Black and White|
Red symbolizes blood shed and sacrifices made in South Africa's struggle for independence
White stands for Europeans & peace and harmony between natives and Europeans
Green represents fertility of South African land
Yellow stands for the mineral and other natural wealth of South Africa
Black represents native people of South Africa
Blue stands for blue sky and endless opportunities for South Africans
The Y stands for the convergence of diverse elements within South African society, taking the road ahead in unity
The choice of a new flag was part of the negotiation process set in motion when Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990. When a nationwide public competition was held in 1993, the National Symbols Commission received more than 7,000 designs, but none of them found suitable. A design, derived from a design developed by the State Herald Fred Brownell, who had also previously designed the Flag of Namibia, was adopted on 15 March 1994. The yellow, black and green colors are found in the banners of the African National Congress, the Pan Africanist Congress and the Inkatha Freedom Party and are thus said to represent the country’s black population. The other three – red, white and blue – are displayed on the Dutch tricolour and the British Union flag and are said represent the country's white population. The green pall (the Y-shape) is commonly interpreted to mean the unification of the various ethnic groups and the moving forward into a new united South Africa. The new flag was hoisted for the first time on the 27 April 1994, the day when the nation’s first fully inclusive elections commenced which resulted in Nelson Mandela being inaugurated as South Africa’s first democratically elected president on 10 May 1994. As per South Africa's post-apartheid interim constitution, the flag was to be introduced on an interim probationary period of five years, after which there would be discussion about whether or not to change the national flag in the final draft of the constitution. The Constitutional Assembly was charged with the responsibility of drafting the country’s new constitution and had called for submissions, inter alia, on the issues of its various national symbols. It received 118 submissions recommending the retention of the new flag and 35 suggesting changes to it. Thus on 28 September 1995 it decided that the flag should be retained unchanged and accordingly it was included as Section One of the Constitution of South Africa.
History of South African flag
The first official Union of South Africa flag was hoisted on 31 May 1928. The design was based on the so-called Van Riebeeck flag or Prinsevlag ("Prince's Flag" in Afrikaans) that was originally the Dutch flag; it consisted of orange, white, and blue horizontal stripes with three smaller flags centred in the white stripe - the Union Flag towards the hoist, the flag of the Orange Free State hanging vertically in the middle and the Transvaal Vierkleur towards the fly. After a coalition government took office in 1925 that a bill was introduced in Parliament to introduce a national flag for the Union. This provoked often violent controversy that lasted for three years based on whether the British Union Flag should be included in the new flag design or not. The Natal Province even threatened to secede from the Union should it be decided to remove it. Finally, a compromise was reached that resulted in the adoption of a separate flag for the Union in late 1927 and the design was first hoisted on 31 May 1928. The design was based on the so-called Van Riebeeck flag or Prinsenvlag ("Prince's Flag" in Afrikaans) that was originally the Dutch flag; it consisted of orange, white, and blue horizontal stripes. A version of this flag had been used as the flag of the Dutch East India Company. The South African addition to the design was the inclusion of three smaller flags centred in the white stripe. The miniature flags were the British Union Flag (mirrored) towards the hoist, the flag of the Orange Free State hanging vertically in the middle and the Transvaal Vierkleur towards the fly. The position of each of the miniature flags is such that each has equal status. That the Orange Free State flag, since it hangs vertically, is higher than the other two, is a plus factor. However, to ensure that the Dutch flag in the canton is placed nearest to the upper hoist of the main flag, the Free State flag must be reversed. The British Union Flag, which is nearest to the hoist and is thus in a more favoured position, is spread horizontally from the Free State flag towards the hoist and is thus also reversed. Although placed horizontally furthest from the hoist, to balance the British Union Flag, the Vierkleur is the only one of the miniature flags which is spread in the same direction as the main flag. This compensates for its otherwise less favourable position. In this arrangement, each of the miniature flags enjoy equal precedence. The choice of the Prinsenvlag as the basis upon which to design the South African flag had more to do with compromise than Afrikaner political desires, as the Prinsenvlag was believed to be the first flag hoisted on South African soil by Jan van Riebeeck of the VOC and was politically neutral, as it was no longer the national flag of any nation. A further element of this compromise was that the British Union Flag would continue to fly alongside the new South African national flag over official buildings. This dual flag arrangement continued until 1957 when the British Union Flag lost its official status per an Act of Parliament. Following a referendum, South Africa became a republic on 31 May 1961, but the design of the flag remained unchanged.
Previous South African Flag (1928 - 1994)