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South Africa

Last modified: 2006-03-11 by bruce berry
Keywords: south africa |
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[Flag of South Africa] [Variant] 2:3~ image by Mark Sensen and Antonio Martins, 9 Mar 2000
Flag adopted 27 Apr 1994

See also: For all other South African pages see:

Origin and colours of the new flag

The strips are red/orange and blue, the same of the previous flag. The added colors are the same of African National Congress's flag, which is composed of three equal horizontal strips: black, green and yellow. Therefore I argue that the new flag is the merge of the two flags. Apart from strips' colors (orange and blue instead of red and green), the colour of the second fimbration (green instead of black) and the absence of a coat in the triangle, the new South African flag is very similar to Vanuatu's.
Giuseppe Bottasini

C-SPAN (Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network), reporting on the election in South Africa, showed the "interim" flag which will be used for the next five years; the new parliament will choose a permanent flag. In English blazon, it is: Tierced in pairle couchy sable, gules and azure, a pairle couchy vert fimbriated or to dexter and argent to chief and base.
I think the interim flag for South Africa is said to be composed of the colours of flags of past administrations. Which is as plausible as anything, since it includes all the heraldic tinctures.
Anton Sherwood

The current South African flag was designed by Mr Fred Brownell, State Herald.
Bruce Berry, 26 Mar 1999

Colour Specifications
Album 2000 gives the official (Pantone) and approximate (CMYK) specifications as follows:

Red:            179c         C0-M90-Y90-K0
Green:       3415c         C100-M0-Y80-K20
Yellow:     1235c          C0-M25-Y80-K0
Blue: Reflex Blue c        C100-M80-Y0-K0

Ivan Sache, 15 Jan 2002

The South African flag pantones as I have them are:

Uncoated surfaces:                        Coated surfaces:
Blue:      287u                                     288c
Red:       485u (x2)                             485c
Yellow:  116u                                     1235c
Green:    355u                                     349c
Source: SA Bureau of Standards - Specifications for the National Flag, 2nd ed.
Bruce Berry, 21 Jan 2002

Meaning of the flag

Red for bloodshed
Blue of open blue skies
Green for the land
Black for the black people
White for the European people
Yellow for the natural resources i.e. Gold
The Y symbolizes the merging nationalities - i.e unity
Nicolas Noakes, 11 Feb 2000

The meanings attached to the colors of the South African flag as outlined above are NOT official, although they are accepted as such in some quarters.  When the new flag was designed it was specifically stated that the colors had no official meaning and/or symbolism, other than the reason for their choice arose from their use in the past in flags in this country [i.e. red, white and blue from the Dutch and English (British) communities and black, green and gold from the flags of the liberation movements (ANC, Inkhatha, PAC etc)].
The "pall" (Y) is correctly stated as symbolising the convergence and going forward as one unified nation of previously disparate groups in South Africa.
Bruce Berry, 14 Feb 2000