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Last modified: 2002-09-07 by rob raeside
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[Mali 1961 flag]  2:3 | stripes 1+1+1 |
by António Martins, 23 April 1999
Current flag adopted 1 March 1961, coat of arms adopted 1 March 1961.

Meaning of the Flag

An inquiry to the Mali Embassy in Washington, D.C. elicited the response that the colours for the Mali Flag have the following meanings:
- Green: Nature/Agriculture
- Yellow: Wealth (Gold)
- Red: Sacrifice made by our forefathers for independence.

Ray Ferster, 1 November 2000

History of the flag

The first flag of Mali was adopted on 4 April, 1959, when French Sudan and Senegal formed the Mali Federation. This federation became independent on 20 June, 1960. Senegal seceded on 22 August, 1960, and replaced the kanaga by a green star. Mali continued to use the tricolour with the kanaga, but abolished the black kanaga on 1 March, 1961, and has used the plain tricolour in pan-African colours since then.

Mark Sensen, 8 April 1996

[Mali 1959 flag]  by Mark Sensen

The 'kanaga' symbol was used on the first Mali flag, until it was abolished on 1 March, 1961. It is a black human-like image and was removed because of pressure from Muslims who do not approve of making images of the human shape.

Zeljko Heimer, 6 April 1996

It is said that the kanaga symbol was included in the Federation flag on initiative by Léopold Sédar Senghor, later president of Senegal (1960-1980).

Zeljko Heimer, 19 November 2000

The flag in the national anthem

The Malian national anthem makes specific reference to the flag in its refrain:

Pour l'Afrique et pour toi Mali
Notre drapeau sera liberté
Pour l'Afrique et pour toi Mali
Notre combat sera unité
Ô Mali aujourd'hui
Ô Mali de demain
Les champs fleurissent d'espérance
Les coeurs vibrent de confiance.

My translation:

For Africa and for you, Mali
Our flag shall be liberty
For Africa and for you, Mali
Our fight shall be unity
O Mali today
O Mali tomorrow
The fields are blooming into hope
The hearts are vibrant with confidence.

Source: Mali Embassy in USA

Ivan Sache, 21 February 2001

Coat of arms

[Mali coat of arms]  by Santiago Tazon

The coat of arms of the Third Republic of Mali.

And this is the motto: "Un peuple, un but, une foi" ("One people, one goal, one faith")

According to the Mali Embassy.

Santiago Tazon, 1 May 2002

Aircraft Marking

Roundel of green-yellow-red according to Album 2000. Cochrane and Elliot (1998) gives it as red-yellow-green roundel. Which of the two is right? Cochrane and Elliot (1998) mentioned that the fin striping (presumably same as the flag) was "recently" replaced with a circular device on the fin equal in design to the roundel (red-yellow-green).

Zeljko Heimer, 31 May 2002

The source for the Album 2000 report is a newspaper photograph, dated 1999.

Armand du Payrat, 31 May 2002

I have a few books from the mid 80s with a/c markings. One shows Mali with the 'reverse' roundel the same as Album 2000. ( with the national flag as a fin flash ). Perhaps we can assume Cochrane and Elliot (1998) reversed its colors.

Dean McGee, 1 June 2002


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