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Transkei (South African homeland)

Last modified: 2005-02-06 by bruce berry
Keywords: south africa | homeland | transkei |
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[Transkei] by Mark Sensen

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Transkei - introduction

Within the "old" South Africa, 10 homelands were created, four of which were granted "independence" by South Africa (not recognised by any other country in the world). These former South African Homelands/bantustans ceased to exist on 27 April 1994. They have all (including the former so called independent Homelands) been reincorporated into South Africa.
The flags of the former Homelands are no longer in use (either officially or unofficially).
Bruce Berry, 25 April 1996

Transkei is quite a large territory in easternmost Cape Province (today's Eastern Cape), with a larger main part protuding slightly into Natal and bordering Lesotho, Natal and KwaZulu, and two smaller enclaves -- one in Natal, bordering KwaZulu, and another in the Cape Province, bordering Lesotho and Orange Free State.
Antonio Martins, 30 May 1999

The Great Kei River formed the eastern boundary of the Cape Province, north of which was the traditional territory of the Xhosa tribe. The United Transkeian Territories General Council was established in 1930 and was succeeded by a territorial authority in 1956. Transkei was the first homeland to achieve internal self-government in 1963 and followed by full "independence" on 26 October 1976.

Transkei's Coat of Arms can be seen on Mike Oettle's pages. (ed.)

Transkei flag description

Section 4 of the Transkei Constitution Act of 1963, an Act of the South African Parliament, made provision for the adoption of a Transkeian national flag. The design of the Transkei flag is set out in section 2 of the Transkei Flag Act of 1966, which reads as follows:
  • "The Transkeian flag shall be a flag consisting of three horizontal stripes of equal width from top to bottom ochre-red, white and green. The width of the Transkeian flag shall be equal to two-thirds of the length".
The flag was adopted on 20 May 1966 and was officially hoisted for the first time on (South Africa's) Republic Day, 31 may 1966. It was retained unchanged when the Republic of Transkei came into being on 26 October 1976. The red-ochre in the flag is derived from the colour of the soil or "Im-bola" from which traditional huts are built. It is also the colour of traditional blankets, while white stands for peace and the green represents the rolling hills of the countryside, which provides important grazing for cattle which play an important role in Xhosa culture.

The adoption of this flag was not without opposition and The Flag Bulletin, XV, 5, September/October 1976, gives an interesting account of the debate. For the independence ceremonies held on 26 October 1976, special flags in the national colours were hoisted. These had the Transkei Arms in the centre of a plain field - in white on green and orche bunting and in green on white bunting. These did not replace the flag in any way. Transkei was re-incorporated into South Africa on 27 April 1994 and is now part of the Eastern Cape province. Since then the flag is no longer in official use.
Bruce Berry, 1 December 1998

I noticed that you wrote "no longer in official use" (while other homeland flags are simply no more in use). Is it just for a change, or do you mean that the flag still has some kind of representativity? I had a feeling that Transkei was more individualized and "real" than most other homelands (especially after former dictator Kaiser Matanzima, if I remember his name correctly, turned his back to South African officials after a disagreement on boundary matters...).
Than Tam Le, 1 December 1998

Transkei prime minister's flag

The pennant of the prime minister was green with the Coat of Arms in the centre.
Source: Whitney Smith - All världens flaggor, 1980 (Flags and  Arms across the World)
Marcus Wendel, 9 Sep 1999