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

Zimbabwean political flags

Last modified: 2002-03-23 by jarig bakker
Keywords: zimbabwe | zanu | zapu | super-zapu |
Links: FOTW homepage | search | disclaimer and copyright | write us | mirrors

Other political parties: See also:

Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF)

by Randy Young, 26 Jan 1999

This is the flag of the current ruling party in Zimbabwe, based on the description given me by Bruce Berry: "The flag of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) in Zimbabwe consists of a series of concentric rectangle stripes which are from the outside moving in towards the centre: green, gold, red, and black (as in the colours of the Zimbabwe flag). For example, the green stripe borders all sides of the flag, followed by a yellow stripe and so on until there is a solid black rectangle in the centre. Each stripe is of equal width (as in the Zimbabwe flag) and the flag is 1:2. The Zimbabwe flag is based directly on the colours of ZANU-PF and the symbolism of the colours is the same."
Randy Young, 21 Jan 1999

ZAPU flag

[ZAPU flag] by Dirk Schönberger, 14 Mar 2001

"Nations Without States" (James Minahan, 1996) states that the party flag of the former ZAPU (Zimbabwe African People's Union) is the one used as the national flag of the Ndebele people of Matabeleland. At FOTW's Zimbabwean Political Flags page there is a mention of the ZAPU flag, but no description. Minahan gives it as a horizontal tricolor with a vertical stripe along the hoist. This vertical hoist stripe is yellow, with a black 5-pointed star. The three horizontal stripes are black with a red 5-pointed star; red with a green 5-pointed star; and green with a yellow 5-pointed star. In each case the star is shown as centered, and almost but not quite touching the top and bottom of the stripe (or left and right edge in the case of the vertical stripe of course). Overall the flag's ratio is shown as 2:3, and the width of the vertical stripe equals the height of one of the horizontal stripes (based only on observation of the line drawing, specifications not given).
Ned Smith, 14 Mar 2001

The flag used by the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) during the liberation struggle against the minority-regime in Rhodesia in the 1970s is not the same as that described by Ned Smith as being used by the Ndebele in Zimbabwe.  ZAPU was headed by the late Joshua Nkomo and had a guerrilla force know as the Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) which operated mainly from bases in Zambia.  ZAPU, together with the Zimbabwe National People's Union (ZANU) led by Robert Mugabe and its forces known as the Zimbabwe National African Liberation Army (ZANLA) which operated mainly from Mozambique, formed a political alliance known as the Patriotic Front (PF).  At the time of the pre-independence elections in 1980, the parties spilt into their respective factions as ZANU-PF and PF-ZAPU.  ZAPU was predominantly Ndebele (from the south and west of the country) and ZANU was predominantly Shona.  The Shona comprise approximately 80% of the population and hence it was not surprising that ZANU-PF won the elections.  In December 1987 a Unity Accord was signed between the two parties whereby ZAPU was incorporated into ZANU-PF and Joshua Nkomo became one of two vice-presidents of Zimbabwe.

The flag used by ZAPU during the 1970's comprised four horizontal stripes of red, green, yellow and black.  In the centre was a representation of the Great Zimbabwe Ruins in black within a circle on a white/beige background. There were also four five-pointed stars - one at each corner of the flag.  These were also in black, yellow, red and green. This flag was also used by the ZIPRA forces and was rarely seen following independence in 1980.  It was certainly not used after the Unity Accord in December 1987 when ZAPU, to all intents and purposes, ceased to exist as a separate political entity.

The flag mentioned by Ned Smith does contain some of the central elements of the former ZAPU flag.  The current situation in Zimbabwe has seen growing political opposition to the ruling ZANU-PF party but I am not aware that ZAPU, as a political party, has been revived.
Bruce Berry, 15 Mar 2001

Some years ago I received from Michael Faul, membership secretary of The Flag Institute and a former citizen of Rhodesia /
Zimbabwe, colour drawings of the flags of four political parties of Zimbabwe used in the 1980 independence election.  There were five flags, one for ZAPU used before the election, and one for ZAPU(PF) used during the election. (ZANU and ZAPU formed a coallition called the Patriotic Front, and both parties used the PF after their names.  ZANU, the ruling parties since 1980, is still known as ZANU-PF.)

The flag Mr. shows as being used by ZAPU-PF in the 1980 election is the same as that described and illustrated earlier, with a
yellow vertical bar, and black/red/green horzintal bars, al with different coloured stars.  However, unlike the description and
illustration previously provided to this list which shows a red star on the black stripe, Mr. Faul's drawing has a white star on
the black stripe.  The red star would have been consistent with the older ZAPU flag described by Bruce Berry (four stripes,
red/green/yellow/black, with black and yellow stars at hoist and fly of the red stripe, and red and green star at hoist and fly of
black stripe, with a badge in centre showing the Great Zimbabwe ruins).

I asked Mr. Faul about this, and he affirms that the flags he saw in Zimbabwe during the 1980 election used the white star on the black bar.  He also noted that he never saw an actual flag, but representations of the flag printed on political posters and
Devereaux D. Cannon, 20 Mar 2001

As far I know, the new Zapu flag adopted at end of 1979 or in 1980 was used in Matabeland in 1982-1986, when Nkomo broke with Mugabe, and liberated zones were created in two provinces of Matabeland. As party flags the upper star is reported white in Flagmaster. 1986 reconciliation took effect. ZAPU disappeared in 1987. 1987-1988 operated the called Super-ZAPU sponsored by South Africa, opposed to Mugabe but mainly Ndebele. Their flags are not known to me

Revolutionary flags:
UANC (Abel Muzorewa) two succesive flags (before 1979 and after 1979)
ZANU and ZANLA (concentric rectangles, several versions reported)
ZAPU and ZIPRA, indicated by Bruce. The stars are not clear. Flagmaster reported yellow near hoist and black in fly but I believe that is the single source for this, rest say black in hoist in yellow in fly. Mainly sources give green star near hoist and red in fly (I don't know any source that gives red star near hoist)
PF 197?-1979 (I don't know if a single unified flag exist)
Party flags
ZANU-PF  after 1979. Unknown but perhaps same as before
ZAPU-PF, as reported by Minahan 1979/80-1987 (white upper star according Flagmaster)
Jaume Ollé, 25 Mar 2001

Yesterday I saw a CD cover for the CD "Survival" by Bob Marley & The Wailers.  The cover contains 49 flags (which all appear to be African Nationals except for Papua/New Guinea).  Several of the flags are older versions (the CD dates from 1990), but there was one that I could not identify.  It is divided horizontally with even stripes of red-green-yellow-black.  Going clockwise in the corners from upper left are stars, yellow-black-red-green.  In the center is a white disk with black images that kind of look like a village.
Michael Smuda, 8 Aug 2001

This is the flag of ZAPU- the Zimbabwe African Peoples Union- during the 1970s.
Ned Smith, 9 Aug 2001


In 1982 Nkomo and Mugabe quarreled. Nkomo is Matabele (or Ndebele) and Mugabe Mashona. Matabeles revolted in Matabeleland in support of Nkomo and some liberated zones were created in two provinces. It seems that the ZAPU flag was used. In 1986 Nkome and Mugabe reestablished friendship. Towards 1987-1988 there operated in Matabeland the so-called Super-ZAPU, group helped with South Africa against the Zimbawe government. Super Zapu was mainly of ethnical Matabele base. Anyone know their flag?
Jaume Ollé, 12 Dec 1998

Yes, it is true that there was a movement called "Super-ZAPU", which was supported by the apartheid regime in South Africa against the Mugabe government in Zimbabwe. This support would have been along the same lines as the support given to Renamo in Mozambique against Frelimo and was part of the "destabilisation" efforts of the former South African government in southern Africa.
I am not aware of any flag used by Super-ZAPU. Unlike Renamo, the movement did not survive for long and the "Unity Accord" between ZAPU and ZANU saw Nkomo and Mugabe patch up their differences and the two political parties merged and Nkomo became Vice President of Zimbabwe. Numerically the Ndebele only account for 20% of the population of Zimbabwe, so they are unlikely to be more than a minority political force
Bruce Berry, 14 Dec 1998

A political UFE

[ufe] image sent by Albert S Kirsch, 17 Jan 2002

This is a photo from The Economist, 12 Jan 2002, page 15, showing demonstrators in the latest election campaign in Zimbabwe. What is the flag being flown (and echoed in one man's shirt)?
Albert S Kirsch, 17 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