This page is part of © FOTW Flags Of The World website

South African flag closer observed

Last modified: 2002-07-05 by jarig bakker
Keywords: south africa | construction sheet |
Links: FOTW homepage | search | disclaimer and copyright | write us | mirrors

[Flag of South Africa] by Mark Sensen and Antonio Martins, 9 Mar 2000
flag adopted 27 Apr 1994 For all other South African pages see: See also:

Origin and colors of the new flag

The NY Times reports the color specifications as "Blue Black", "Gold Yellow", "Spectrum Green:, "Chili Red", "National Flag White" and "National Flag Blue". One wonders if the last is the same as "Old Glory Blue". The arms of the republic did not change until 2000, and continued to reflect the four defunct provinces.
Will Linden

South Africa's current flag - designed for the "interim" period - should remain the country's national flag under the final constitution which comes into force in 1999, the Constituional Assembly (charged with writing the final constitution) recommended on 28 September 1995.
Bruce Berry, 2 Oct 1995

South Africans call this the "rainbow nation" based on the multi racial, multi ethnic and multi cultural composition of the country, hence many refer to the new flag as the "rainbow" flag.... I spend a considerable amount of time explaining that the gay movement already uses this phrase for their flag and that we should think of another term when refering to our national flag!!!
Bruce Berry, 9 May 1996

I remember when the current ZA flag was chosen April 27, 1994, that it was to be in place for a five-year period with an option to renew - that five-year period, will be up in a few months, is there any movement to change the flag, or is the flag too well-loved there?
David Kendall, 13 Feb 1999

When the new SA flag was chosen it was regarded as an "interim" flag in line with the "interim" constitution through which South Africa achieved full democracy in 1994.  Subsequently, a Constitutional Assembly has drawn up a new Constitution (adopted on 8 May 1996 and amended on 11 October 1996) which was enacted by Parliament as Act Number 108 of 1996.  As part of the process in drawing up the new Constitution, the question was asked whether the flag should be retained or a new one designed.  The overwhelming response was the new flag should be retained.  Consequently, the flag is now "permanent" and is
described in Schedule 1 of the Constitution.
So the existing South African flag is here to stay.
Bruce Berry, 15 Feb 1999

The current South African flag was designed by Mr Fred Brownell, State Herald (and SAVA Chairperson).
Bruce Berry, 26 March 1999

Nickname for the flag

Here are some suggestions about a "nickname" for the flag:
  • Considering what South Africa has gone through, and what the flag looks like, I suggest: Black and Blue and Red all over. - nathan bliss
  • I personally like the Southern Pall. Or maybe the "Southern Crane"? (Legend has it that the letter "Y" derives from a Greek who saw a flight of cranes in that formation...) - dipesh navsaria
  • I've heard the flag described - very unflatteringly - as the Technicolour Y-fronts.... Hmmm... how about the Unity Flag, or something similar? - james dignan
  • The "Southern Union" would be good, if it didn't sound so much like a wire service or a train line. How about "The Southern Unity"? Gives it a good, poetic quality. - steve kramer
  • "Jack Boven", or maybe "Oranje Union"? "The Flying Y"? Three Cheers for the "Red, White, And Blue, And Black, And Yellow, And Green" "Rainbow Salad" "The Southern Pall"? "The Green Pall"? "The Flying Pall"? ("Pall" being the heraldic term for the "Y" shape on a coat-of-arms - maybe even "The Union Pall"?) - nick artimovich
See newspaper article below on the quest for a distinct name for the South African flag.
Our flag, the AmaFlappaFlappa?
Daily News, July 02 2002 at 10:59AM
By Barbara Cole

The South African flag is one of the most recognisable in the world - yet does not have a name.
So when wildlife tourism publishers, WildNet Africa published Flying With Pride: The Story Of The South African Flag, they called for suggestions. They have released the first 100 suggestions, which include fascinating and thought-provoking names. There's AmaFlappaFlappa, Fluttering Rainbow, Yebo Flag, Shosholoza and Forever Glorious.

Nkosi Johnson - the late child Aids activist - was another idea  Former president Nelson Mandela gets plenty of mention too. Some people want the flag to be known as Madiba, or Madiba's Rainbow, the Mandela Flag, or even just Nelson.

"Pride" and "rainbow" got plenty of mentions - Pride of Africa; Rainbow of Hope, Rainbow Pride, Rainbow Warrior, as did Renaissance, South Africa Good Hope, South Africa Pride, the Ray of Hope, the Rainbow and The Winds of Change.

While the name will eventually be decided by the custodians of the country's national symbols, the government's Bureau of Heraldry, Dr Andrew McKenzie, director of special projects at WildNet Africa, said that people could still send in suggestions to the website, or to PO Box 73528, Lynnwood Ridge, 0040.

"We want to keep the debate open and alive," McKenzie said.
Bruce Berry, 2 Jul 2002

Other (?) origins of present flag

[ISCOR logo] sent by Neville Purdon, 21 Mar 2001

In South Africa the largest iron ore producer has a 'Y' flag. Many of us in SA believe that this is where the so-called 'New' South African flag got its origin. This flag, however, is not as widely accepted as many would like to believe; most South Africans still follow the original flag which has history. We don't follow this new monstrosity. Attached is the Iscor flag (The Afrikaans name is Yskor)
Neville Purdon, 18 Mar 2001

Do you know if there was any input from the iron ore company in the designing of the new South African flag? I think the
connection is rather remote. I wonder what "ISCOR" is - maybe "The Iron and Steel Company of RSA"?
Rob Raeside, 21 Mar 2001

Your guess is not far from it. ISCOR - Iron and Steel Corporation; YSKOR - Yster en Staal Korporasie. I have never seen it as a flag though, merely as a company logo and perhaps a logo type of flag (as that is quit common in RSA). As far as I know it had absolutely nothing to do with the new ZA flag
Franc Van Diest, 22 Mar 2001

Franc is correct.  ISCOR does stand for the Iron and Steel Corp. of South Africa.  The symbol is a combination of the I (for
Iron) and Y (for the Afrikaans “Yster”). There is no connection between this symbol (logo) and the new South African flag.
Bruce Berry, 22 Mar 2001

The former Colonies

Were any British Ensigns in use in S. Africa pre-1910? What were the flags of the Cape Colony and Natal? Did the Boer states retain their "native" flags under British control?
Josh Fruhlinger, 1 Oct 1996

All four colonies had flag badges - they formed the four quarters of the post-1910 flag badge which was itself the shield of arms of the Union of South Africa (and, if I recall correctly, is still used by the "New South Africa" today, as no-one has yet come up with a better design acceptable to all)
Roy Stilling, 2 Oct 1996

Yes - SAVA published a Journal entitled "The Union Jack over Southern and Central Africa, 1795 - 1994" in 1994 which covers all these flags (and those used in what is now Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Botswana, Malawi etc).
Bruce Berry, 7 Oct 1996

See for separate articles on the colonies :

SA flag construction sheet

[SA flag construction sheet] sent by Bruce Berry, 27 Nov 2000 - !click on the image for a 640 x 466 image!

At this site is a construction sheet that describes the flag of South Africa. Quite simple specifications: 2:3 background, length of the pall 1/5th of the height, length of the pale plus fimbriations 1/3rd (thus fimbriations are 1/15th), arms of the pale parallel to the hoist semi-diagonals of the flag. Colors are described by names only ("gold" is used, not "yellow") but red is defined as "red (chilli)".
Antonio Martins, 9 Mar 2000

Variation of South Africa national flag

I saw in Walvis Baai a variation of the South Africa national flag. The same flag but the red was changed for orange.
Santiago Tazón, 25 Oct 1999

Queen's personal flag

When Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II visited South Africa in 1995 - her first visit since 1947, when she celebrated her 21st birthday in Cape Town - she used the personal flag since South Africa was (once again, as of 1994) a member of the Commonwealth, yet still a republic. I think people in this country (South Africa) need reminding that we have a link with the Queen, as opposed to the years between 1961 and 1994 when there was no connection whatever. Most people here don't even remember that Elizabeth not only was Queen of South Africa, but that this was the first Commonwealth country to accord her a distinct national title, as opposed to her simply being styled "Queen of the United Kingdom . . . and of Her Dominions beyond the Seas".
Mike Oettle, 16 Jan 2002

CHANNELS :: Compare Country infoCountry guide & StudyFlagsMapsSightseeingTravel WarningsHotel Directory DESTINATIONS :: AsiaAfricaCaribbean Middle EastNorth AmericaSouth AmericaCentral AmericaOceania PacificEuropePolar Regions UTILITIES :: WeatherWorld TimeISD CodesTravel Links Link Exchange
DestinationsMonuments WONDERS :: AncientModernNatural | Privacy Policy