Choose your country and language:

Africa

  • Global
  • Angola
  • Botswana
  • DRC
  • Ethiopia
  • Ghana
  • Kenya
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • South Africa
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Americas

  • USA
  • Argentina
  • Brazil

Asia Pacific

  • China
  • India
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Australia

Europe

  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • United Kingdom
Back

TTalk of a new South African flag design first emerged with the release of Nelson Mandela in 1990. It came at a time when the country needed change, a binding symbol of hope and freedom and a true rainbow nation indicator.

It started in 1993 already, when a national competition invited the public to submit flag designs, the pressure was on to create what would become the most visible symbol of the fledgeling democracy.

The new flag design was considered a vital process which happened rather quickly when a committee was tasked to come up with the perfect design with little time to spare. Led by former State Herald, Fred Brownell, the team was given one week to come up with an appropriate design.

Brownell had reportedly made a few sketches the year before, while at a vexillological (flag expert) conference in Switzerland. One of these was selected by both sides of the transitional government as the preferred design. It was even sent to Nelson Mandela who was in Rustenburg at the time, to approve it by fax. This would be considered the most important approval of all.

The current South African flag was only destined to be the country’s interim flag to coincide with the interim government, but was eventually assimilated as one of the official symbols of the new democracy.

The South African national flag was first hoisted on 27 April 1994 when the country held its first free elections. Today, this is known as Freedom Day, and is celebrated as a public holiday on which the flag is traditionally flown.

Officially, the South African flag colours do not hold any symbolism, although they have unmistakable historical origins. Black, yellow and green are the colours of ruling ANC party. Red, white and blue are a nod to both the flags of the European colonists as well as the old Boer republics. The V or Y shape, which can be interpreted as "the convergence of diverse elements within South African society, taking the road ahead in unity". 

The meaning of the South African flag design can be traced to the motto on the National Coat of Arms, which reads: “!ke e:/xarra //ke”, which is the Khoisan language of the /Xam people, meaning “diverse people unite”.

The “Y” represents a convergence of diversity, which can be interpreted as the convergence of diverse elements within South African society taking the road ahead in unity. South Africans are proud of their colourful and symbolic flag which is easily recognised at any given international event.

Best buy

Related articles

aha Shakaland Hotel & Zulu Cultural Village - the greatest Zulu experience in Africa

Vibrant culture
aha Shakaland Hotel & Zulu Cultural Village - the greatest Zulu experience in Africa

Shakaland is a cultural replication of a Zulu “Umuzi” or homestead, complete with 55 very comfortable beehive huts that overlook the Phobane Lake.

Victoria Street Market - a unique and colourful shopping stop

Vibrant culture
Victoria Street Market - a unique and colourful shopping stop

Linger longer as your senses take in the smells, sounds and tastes of different spices and incense or let your sight drink in the vibrant and colourful fabrics.

Art and science - The Cape Town Museum and Planetarium

Vibrant culture
Art and science - The Cape Town Museum and Planetarium

A walk up the beautiful Company’s Garden, at the top of Cape Town, takes you to the South African Museum.

Pretoria Central Prison - Pretoria Central Prison bears testament to South Africa’s turbulent past

Vibrant culture
Pretoria Central Prison - Pretoria Central Prison bears testament to South Africa’s turbulent past

Pretoria Central Prison is arguably the most infamous prison where Mandela was held before he was transferred to Robben Island.

Emirates Airline Park - How Emirates Airline Park played host to SA’s post-apartheid reconciliation

Vibrant culture
Emirates Airline Park - How Emirates Airline Park played host to SA’s post-apartheid reconciliation

Emirates Airline Park played a significant role in South African sporting history, after hosting the 1995 Rugby World Cup final.

The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory

Vibrant culture
The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory

The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory is committed to preserving the work of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

The Nelson Mandela Centre for Reconciliation - Retreat to Madiba’s home and experience his legacy

Vibrant culture
The Nelson Mandela Centre for Reconciliation - Retreat to Madiba’s home and experience his legacy

Retreat to Madiba’s home at the Nelson Mandela Centre for Reconciliation and walk in the footsteps of greatness.

Regina Mundi Church - A symbol of hope

Vibrant culture
Regina Mundi Church - A symbol of hope

Regina Mundi Church is a struggle landmark and a tourist attraction that continues to serve the community.

Sakhumzi Restaurant - Soak up the kasi flavour at Sakhumzi Restaurant

Vibrant culture
Sakhumzi Restaurant - Soak up the kasi flavour at Sakhumzi Restaurant

Soak up Soweto’s rich cultural atmosphere at an important South African tourist destination - Sakhumzi Restaurant.

Explore St George's Cathedral, the oldest cathedral in southern Africa

Vibrant culture
Explore St George's Cathedral, the oldest cathedral in southern Africa

St George's Cathedral kept its doors open to people of all races throughout the apartheid era.

Drakenstein Correctional Centre

Vibrant culture
Drakenstein Correctional Centre

Drakenstein Correctional Centre

Nelson Mandela and his Houghton home

Vibrant culture
Nelson Mandela and his Houghton home

Thousands gathered to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy outside his Houghton home after his passing in December 2013.

Fort Hare was the first university in South Africa to accept black students

Vibrant culture
Fort Hare was the first university in South Africa to accept black students

Fort Hare was the first university in South Africa to accept black students.

Chancellor House – Where Mandela & Tambo Attorneys once flourished

Vibrant culture
Chancellor House – Where Mandela & Tambo Attorneys once flourished

Chancellor House – Where Mandela & Tambo Attorneys once flourished.

Nelson Mandela Youth & Heritage Centre - Reliving the early years of Nelson Mandela’s life

Vibrant culture

The Bhunga Building - Home of the Nelson Mandela Museum in Mthatha

Vibrant culture
The Bhunga Building - Home of the Nelson Mandela Museum in Mthatha

Built to house the Nelson Mandela Museum in Mthatha, the Bhunga Building hosts a number of exhibitions in its three wings.

Nelson Mandela Burial Site - The final resting place of Nelson Mandela

Vibrant culture
Nelson Mandela Burial Site - The final resting place of Nelson Mandela

For the first time since his death, Nelson Mandela’s gravesite will be open to the public.

Mandela Memorial Square (Stellenbosch)

Vibrant culture
Mandela Memorial Square (Stellenbosch)

There’s much more to Stellenbosch than wine. The town is also an arts primer, boasting the Mandela Memorial Square among other artworks.

Beyond a reasonable doubt, the Palace of Justice warrants a visit

Vibrant culture
Beyond a reasonable doubt, the Palace of Justice warrants a visit

Nelson Mandela and other political leaders stood trial in the Rivonia Treason Trial at the Palace of Justice in 1964.

The South African National Archives - a repository of South African stories and history

Vibrant culture
The South African National Archives - a repository of South African stories and history

National Archives and Records Service of South Africa - the Reading Room is open for public use and is free of charge.

Steve Biko Centre, a journey of remembrance and discovery through our struggle history

Vibrant culture
Steve Biko Centre, a journey of remembrance and discovery through our struggle history

The Steve Biko Centre is located in Ginsberg, King William's Town in the Eastern Cape, and entrance is free.

Cape Town City Hall – A grand old building

Vibrant culture
Cape Town City Hall – A grand old building

Cape Town City Hall is indeed a grand old building.

Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Facility - Feel the chill of one of SA’s most notorious gallows

Vibrant culture
Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Facility - Feel the chill of one of SA’s most notorious gallows

The Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Facility gallows is now a museum. It memorialises the 3500 souls who lost their lives here.

South Africa on social media

Copyright © 2018 South African Tourism
|Terms and conditions|Disclaimer|Privacy policy