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Burkina Faso

Last modified: 2002-01-26 by antonio martins
Keywords: burkina faso | africa | star: 5 points (yellow) | law | presidential |
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[Flag of Burkina Faso]
by Ivan Sache, 07 Apr 2001
See also: Other sites:

Description of the flag

In [pay00], colour approximations are:

  • Red: Pantone 032c / CMYK (%) C 0 - M 90 - Y 90 - K 0
  • Yellow: Pantone 116c / CMYK (%) C 0 - M 10 - Y 95 - K 0
  • Green: Pantone 355c / CMYK (%) C 100 - M 0 - Y 90 - K 5.
Ivan Sache, 07 Apr 2001

Album des Pavillons [pay] shows a proportion of 2:3 and a very small star (“diameter” of the star = 1/4th of the hoist length. DK Pocket Book [udk97] shows the same picture. The flag was adopted 4 August 1984.
Ivan Sache, 26 Dec 1999

In page BU 2.1 (Burkina Faso) of [pay00], Fig 1., the national flag construction details are unfinished. As far as I have seen, the size of the star is not very well defined nor “stabilized”.
Zeljko Heimer, 11 Jan 2001

According to my own measurements of the image provided by [pay00], the star should be inscribed in a circle of diameter 3/10th of the flag height.
Ivan Sache, 07 Apr 2001

I do have Burkina law of 02 08 1984 which does not states the size of star I have also a letter of French Attaché dated 12 10 84 with caracteristics of the flag as received from the Great Chancery of the National Order:

Les distances de haut en bas d'une pointe à l'autre sont égales au 1/3 de la largeur du drapeau
(distances from top to base of one point to another are equal to 1/3rd of width of flag).
Armand du Payrat, 17 Apr 2001

In August 1984 there was a coup and a new flag and emblem were adopted. The new flag is in the pan-African colours, reflecting both a break with the country’s colonial past and its unity with other African ex-colonies. The red is also said to symbolize the revolution and the green the abundance of natural riches. The yellow star placed over the red and green stripes is the guiding light of the revolution.
Ivan Sache, 26 Dec 1999, quoting from [udk97]

New flag I believe that was a personal decision of pro-soviet president Sankara, perhaps under Vietcong inspiration (this is a personal observation). Flag was adopted 4 August 1984, first anniversary of the people’s democratic revolution (Sankara coup). According comunication of the Comité de Defense de la Revolution to Lucien Philippe en August 1984, the red is the symbol of the revolutionary strugle, the green is for agriculture, abundance and hope; and yellow is for countries riches. Its five points symbolize the guidance of the revolution.
Jaume Ollé, 01 Jan 2000

A strange flag with proportions 1:4 or 1:5 is shown on every page of the official governmental site
Ivan Sache, 15 Apr 1999

Big star incorrect variant

[Big star flag]
by António Martins, 22 Dec 1999

An image, by Talocci [tal93], shows the flag with a big star — but illustrations in this book are especially non reliable, so I’d prefer trust [pay] and [udk97] for the size of the star.
Ivan Sache, 26 Dec 1999

According comunication of the Comité de Defense de la Revolution to Lucien Philippe en August 1984, the star is slighty larger that the one in [pay] and [udk97]: Image show 1/3 of hoist lenght instead 1/4. But then was not legal regulation. Arms were in use after same date but don’t regulate until 1 August 1997 (Law 20/97). Roman Klimeš gives a larger star (1/2 of the height and slighty displaced to the upper part). The info is in czech but seems that was communicated by official circular («Oficialni cirkular zastupitelskeho uradu z 27.8.1984»). Talocci [tal93] reproduces this flag. But later Roman Klimeš in 38 issue of Flaggen Wappen und Siegel (1997) [fws] features a flag with star 1/4 of height. Source is ordinance 84-043-CNR-Press dated 2-8-1984. I assume that these first communications were inexact and that Ivan is right.
Jaume Ollé, 01 Jan 2000

Theres a bit of confusion about the size of the star because L. Philippe received a communication from Burkina that the star must be 1/3 of the flag. Roman Klimeš published image (seems that 1/3 of the width) and later was followed by Talocci and others. Flagmaster gives 1/3 of the height in issue 45 source L. Philippe. At less according to the real construction (I don’t know official law) star seems to be smaller (3/9th for Flagmaster is 3/10 or smaller for Album 2000), but law text is need. If I don’t remember wrong Jos Poels received precise information from Burkina Faso (after two years waiting).
Jaume Ollé, 12 Apr 2001

Presidential flag

[Presidential Flag of Burkina Faso]
by Ivan Sache, 07 Apr 2001

According to [pay00], it is square version of the national flag with a golden border (fringe?) around the three “free” edges.
Ivan Sache, 07 Apr 2001

Other flags

Burkina Faso has currently 30 provinces, an Army and an Air Force, so there might be other flags to track...
Ivan Sache, 26 Dec 1999

1984 name change

In 1984 the country became socialist and changed the name [from Upper Volta] to Burkina Faso and the flag to the current red over green with central yellow star.
Nick Artimovich, 05 Jun 1996

The meaning of Burkina Faso is "land of the incorruptibles", "land of the honourable men", I think in language Morée — which is the language of the Mossi, the biggest burkinabe people.
Johannes Weigand, 27 Feb 1998

"Burkina Faso" is a combination of the Mossi ethnic group’s language, called More and the Bobo group’s Gur. This was an effort by then president Thomas Sankara to ensure continued harmony between these two groups.
David Bartlett, 14 Feb 2000

According to Fischers Weltalmanach 1985 (Frankfurt am Main, 1984), the state took first the french writing Bourkina-Fasso, from 4th to 15th of August, 1984, after they changed in Burkina Faso.
Johannes Weigand, 27 Feb 1998

Already from the 4th August 1984 onwards the official country’s name was "Burkina Faso". The short hand name should be "Burkina", but is rarely used. (sources: Letters and Press Releases by the Embassy of Burkina Faso, dated 11 August 1984 (reprinting an interview with Ouatamon Lamien, Director of the National Radio of Burkina Faso), 1985.07.05, 1985.12.26; Süddeutsche Zeitung, 1984.08.04-05, ibidem 1984.08.06, ibidem 1985.12.28-29; Die Welt, 18 September 1984.)
Dieter Linde, 28 Feb 1998

Aircraft markings

[Air Force roundel of Burkina Faso]
by Ivan Sache, 08 Apr 2001

According to [pay00], the roundel is a round version of the national flag. The national flag is painted on the fin.
Ivan Sache, 07 Apr 2001

Coat of arms of Burkina Faso

Blaise Campoare, the President of Burkina Faso, might have decided to modify the country emblem towards a less belliquous and Afro-marxist image (as well as he has progressively drifted from the strong Afro-marxist orientation given by his ex-brother-in-arms T. Sankara, who had made the 1984 coup). What is more stranger is that the new coat of arms re-uses some elements of the Upper-Volta coat of arms (the stallions, the crossed lances, the sorghum plants) shown in Smith [smi75b] and also the book which was present in the former arms but not in the Upper-Volta arms. The motto of Upper-Volta was then Unité - Travail - Justice and the new one is ... Unité - Progrés - Justice! I think it is another very interesting case of re-use of ancient symbols after successive radical political changes.
Ivan Sache, 26 Dec 1999

Constitution (Article 34)

The emblem is the tricolor flag, rectangular and horizontal, red and green, with, centered, a yellow-gold, 5-pointed star. The law determines the arms and the meaning of their constitutive elements.

Law No 020/97/II/AN devoted to the description and meaning of the arms of Burkina Faso

National Assembly of Burkina Faso According to the Constitution; According to Resolution n° OO01/97/AN of 07 June 1997, validating the mandate of the deputees in Burkina Faso; Deliberated in its session of 1st August 1997, and adopted the following law:

Article 1:

The arms of Burkina Faso are constituted as follows: one (1) shield bearing in chief, on a silver scroll the name of the country "BURKINA FASO"; in the middle an escutcheon with two (2) stripes in fasce bearing the national emblem and "broching" on two (2) crossed lances; two (2) reared-up silver stallions supporting the escutcheon on each side; in the bottom an open book; below, two (2) millet stalks with three pairs of green, half-mooned, leaves, equidistant from the vertical line going through the points of the escutcheon and the upper branch of the star of the emblem. Stalks are crossed and linked at the basis by a flame bearing the national motto "Unity - Progress - Justice". The flame supports the whole "millet stalks - lances - escutcheon".

Article 2:

The two stallions symbolize the nobility of the burkinabe people; their position means action and their disposition the necessity and importance of the union that makes the force of the people. The escutcheon symbolizes the protection of the nation and the love of the country; shield against the hazards, rampart again all aggressions, he ensures the security of the state. The lances symbolize the determination of the sons of Burkina Faso to protect their country; their crossed design means vigilancy and bravery of this nation. The open book symbolizes the quest for knowledge and education, factors of progress and development. Millet spikes symbolize the will of food independence and abundance.

Article 3:

The present law will be reinforced as a law of the State. This was done and deliberated in public audience in Ouagadougou on 1st August 1997.
translated by Ivan Sache, 15 Apr 1999, from the official governmental site; see here the original text

The description of Coat of Arms was published in the Journal officiel du Burkina Faso Nr 38 of 18.09.97.
Armand du Payrat, 09 Jan 1998

Former coat of arms

The coat of arms shows a cog-wheel and a star to represent the revolution of 1984. Within the cog-wheel is a hoe representing agriculture, crossed with a Kalashnikov rifle symbolizing the willingness to defend the country and a book reflecting the importance of education. They are placed together to represent the alliance of workers, soldiers and intellectuals. Around the cog-wheel are sorghum plants. At the base is a scroll with the national motto — «La Patrie Ou La Mort — Nous Vaincrons» («Our country or death — We will conquer»).
Ivan Sache, 26 Dec 1999, quoting from [udk97]

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