South Africa is a country rich in diversity and history. The state has a complex mix of ethnicities, cultures, and languages.
This diversity is reflected in the country’s flag, which consists of six colours; black, yellow, white, green, blue, and red.
The national flag embodies the rainbow characteristics of the country with its diverse ethnicities. It is also a symbol of a long struggle for freedom in a country that was once in the shackles of apartheid.
What is the meaning behind the colours of the South African Flag?
The flag of South Africa constitutes six colors: The red, white and blue from the Boer republic and the British flag. The green, black, and gold colors from the ANC. Although there is no official statement concerning the meaning of the colors, here are some interpretations:
- Green is considered to symbolize the fertility of the land
- Black symbolizes the African community
- Gold represents the mineral wealth of the country
- Blue represents the endless possibilities for South Africans
Interesting facts about the flag of South Africa
- At the time of its construction, the flag of South Africa was the only flag in the world with six colors.
- The flag was meant to serve as an interim flag for five years. However, since 1994, there has been no mention of a new flag. Also, the flag is recognized within the constitution (Act 108 of 1996).
- South Africans are expected to adhere to the flag’s etiquette. This includes not letting the flag touch the ground. Also, the flag should not be used as a tablecloth or as a covering on any platform.
- When the flag is raised with other national flags, it should be hoisted first and lowered last.
- The flag must be hoisted in tournaments, from the beginning to the end.
- The colors of the flag do not have any official symbolism. According to Frederick Brownell, when a flag does not have official symbolism it does not represent a synopsis of the country’s history. This allows all the people from diverse ethnicities to identify with the flag and form meaning. The design, on the other hand, symbolizes a converging path. This is a merger of both the past and the present.
- The flag was approved by the president at the time, Nelson Mandela.
- The meaning of the flag can be traced from the motto on South Africa’s National Coat of Arms, ‘! ke e:/xarra //ke’, which means, ‘Diverse people unite’.
- The black, gold, and green are common colors in liberation movements, particularly, the Pan-African Congress (PAC) and the ANC.
- The flag should always be accorded with dignity and respect. Information concerning the use of the flag can be obtained from the Government Gazette 22356, Notice 510 of June 8, 2001.