South African Flag

The current national flag of the Republic of South Africa is made up of 6  colors:

  1. Chili red
  2. National flag white
  3. Spectrum green
  4. National flag blue
  5. Blue black
  6. Gold yellow

The flag was designed by Mr. Fred Bronwell. Its  debut came after the country’s first democratic elections, which took place in  April 1994. The flag has thus become a symbol of the unity of the different race  groups in South Africa. The flag was designed using a combination of colors from  historic South African flags.

  • The chili red may have been adopted from the Dutch flag
  • The blue and white were colors on both the Dutch and old South African  flags
  • The black, green and yellow were colors on the ANC flag

The  flag was not designed with the intention of having each of the colors represent  a certain aspect in South Africa. The Y or V form of the flag was chosen to  symbolize the unity, or coming together, of South Africa’s different groups.

Many South Africans choose to associate each color on the flag with  something, or some event, that is significant in their view. As a result,  many unofficial interpretations of the national flag exist in South African  communities. A common interpretation is as follows:

Red: bloodshed of  activists
White: white population
Blue: skies or the ocean, since SA  is bordered by 2 oceans
Yellow: minerals
Green: agriculture and land
Black: the non-white population or Mr Mandela, the ex-head of SA.

Since these are unofficial interpretations, they may vary widely. The  South African government’s official website stresses the following:

“Individual colours, or colour combinations  represent different meanings for different people and therefore no universal  symbolism should be attached to any of the colours.”

Here is a nice video made for non native English speakers. You will probably recognise the accent as similar to my own!

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

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