History of the South African Flag

History of the South African Flag

As South Africa's Freedom Day is coming up we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to showcase the history of the South African flag. 

The South African flag has a complex history that reflects the country's turbulent past. The current South African flag was adopted on April 27, 1994, following the end of apartheid and the country's first democratic elections where Nelson Mandela became the country's first black president. 

1928 South Africa flag

South African flag used from 1928. 

Before the current flag, South Africa had several flags that represented different eras and ideologies, but mainly coming from the countries two major European populations of Dutch and English. The first flag was the Dutch flag, which represented the colonial period of the country. The orange-white-blue tricolour of the 17th century Netherlands was the basis for the national flag officially used from 1928, by the Union of South Africa. The British Union Jack and the flags of the Transvaal and Orange Free State were featured in the centre of that flag. However, this did not fully represent the countries overwhelming population of black, mixed race and Indian people. 

Current South Africa Flag

Current South Africa flag.

The current flag was designed by a committee led by South African State Herald Fred Brownell, which was chosen from over 7,000 entries in a national competition. The committee aimed to create a flag that would represent the diversity of the country's people and culture, while also reflecting the ideals of the new democracy.

The flag colours could be related to various groups. Red, white and blue for English people and Afrikaners, green for Muslims, black, green and yellow for ANC supporters, red, white, black, green and yellow for Zulus etc.The six colours are also seen to have more symbolic meanings. Black represents the people of South Africa, white represents peace and unity, green represents the country's natural wealth and agriculture, yellow represents the country's mineral wealth, blue represents the sky and the ocean, and red represents the bloodshed of the past and the country's struggle for freedom.

The triangles are positioned so that they form a "Y" shape, which represents the convergence and unity of different cultures and people. The central band contains a "V" shape, which stands for victory and also symbolizes the idea of a path forward into the future.

The adoption of the new flag in 1994 was an important moment in South Africa's history. It marked the end of apartheid and the beginning of a new era of democracy and inclusivity. The flag has since become an important symbol of the country's identity and has become a popular symbol of national pride, unity and diversity in South Africa.

In addition to the national flag, South Africa has several provincial flags and municipal flags. These flags often incorporate elements of the national flag, along with symbols and colours specific to the region.

Overall, the history of the South African flag reflects the country's journey from a colonial past to a democratic present, and the ongoing struggle for inclusivity and unity.

We have just launched our brand new flag fashion range featuring the South African flag! Shop the South Africa Collection to show off your South African pride and celebrate the history and milestones of such a magnificent culture!