Choose your country and language:

Africa

  • Global
  • Angola
  • Botswana
  • DRC
  • Ethiopia
  • Ghana
  • Kenya
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • South Africa
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Americas

  • USA
  • Argentina
  • Brazil

Asia Pacific

  • China
  • India
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Australia

Europe

  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • United Kingdom
Back

TTalk of a new South African flag design first emerged with the release of Nelson Mandela in 1990. It came at a time when the country needed change, a binding symbol of hope and freedom and a true rainbow nation indicator.

It started in 1993 already, when a national competition invited the public to submit flag designs, the pressure was on to create what would become the most visible symbol of the fledgeling democracy.

The new flag design was considered a vital process which happened rather quickly when a committee was tasked to come up with the perfect design with little time to spare. Led by former State Herald, Fred Brownell, the team was given one week to come up with an appropriate design.

Brownell had reportedly made a few sketches the year before, while at a vexillological (flag expert) conference in Switzerland. One of these was selected by both sides of the transitional government as the preferred design. It was even sent to Nelson Mandela who was in Rustenburg at the time, to approve it by fax. This would be considered the most important approval of all.

The current South African flag was only destined to be the country’s interim flag to coincide with the interim government, but was eventually assimilated as one of the official symbols of the new democracy.

The South African national flag was first hoisted on 27 April 1994 when the country held its first free elections. Today, this is known as Freedom Day, and is celebrated as a public holiday on which the flag is traditionally flown.

Officially, the South African flag colours do not hold any symbolism, although they have unmistakable historical origins. Black, yellow and green are the colours of ruling ANC party. Red, white and blue are a nod to both the flags of the European colonists as well as the old Boer republics. The V or Y shape, which can be interpreted as "the convergence of diverse elements within South African society, taking the road ahead in unity". 

The meaning of the South African flag design can be traced to the motto on the National Coat of Arms, which reads: “!ke e:/xarra //ke”, which is the Khoisan language of the /Xam people, meaning “diverse people unite”.

The “Y” represents a convergence of diversity, which can be interpreted as the convergence of diverse elements within South African society taking the road ahead in unity. South Africans are proud of their colourful and symbolic flag which is easily recognised at any given international event.

Best buy

Related articles

Vibrant culture

A most representative collection of KwaZulu-Natal heritage

Vibrant culture
A most representative collection of KwaZulu-Natal heritage

A most representative collection of KwaZulu - Natal heritage.

Vibrant culture

Top 10 historical sites in the Western Cape - a rich heritage

Vibrant culture
Top 10 historical sites in the Western Cape - a rich heritage

The Western Cape was the first place that Europeans settled in the country, in 1652 when Jan van Riebeeck’s three vessels landed at the Cape. As employees of the Dutch East India Company, they had come to establish a halfway station for ships travelling to and from the East. Their influence is evident in the buildings, some of which are 350 years old, and culture of the Western Cape.

Vibrant culture

South Africa’s top 10 cultural villages

Vibrant culture
South Africa’s top 10 cultural villages

Experience music, dance and food from across the country, as well as Tsonga crafts and Zulu beer-brewing; and don’t forget the magical clicking language of the San people.

Vibrant culture

The Taung Heritage Route - explore the origins of humankind

Vibrant culture
The Taung Heritage Route - explore the origins of humankind

Go on a fascinating journey of discovery when you follow in the prehistoric footsteps of our hominid forefathers, to get a rare glimpse into our distant past in the region that early humans once called home.

Vibrant culture

Zululand - where nature and ancient culture abound

Vibrant culture
Zululand - where nature and ancient culture abound

The Zululand area, in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province, is rooted in the legacy of the great Zulu nation, and the area provides ample opportunity to explore the fascinating rich history of this proud nation

Vibrant culture

Shebeens – your uniquely South African local tavern experience

Vibrant culture
Shebeens – your uniquely South African local tavern experience

The first shebeens in South Africa were local bars and taverns where mostly working-class urban males could unwind, socialise, and escape the oppression of life during the Apartheid era.

Vibrant culture

The fascinating story behind the birth of gumboot dancing

Vibrant culture
The fascinating story behind the birth of gumboot dancing

Gumboot dancing was originally a means of communication amongst miners who were forbidden from talking to one another.

Vibrant culture

aha Shakaland Hotel & Zulu Cultural Village - the greatest Zulu experience in Africa

Vibrant culture
aha Shakaland Hotel & Zulu Cultural Village - the greatest Zulu experience in Africa

Shakaland is a cultural replication of a Zulu “Umuzi” or homestead, complete with 55 very comfortable beehive huts that overlook the Phobane Lake.

Vibrant culture

Victoria Street Market - a unique and colourful shopping stop

Vibrant culture
Victoria Street Market - a unique and colourful shopping stop

Linger longer as your senses take in the smells, sounds and tastes of different spices and incense or let your sight drink in the vibrant and colourful fabrics.

Vibrant culture

Art and science - The Cape Town Museum and Planetarium

Vibrant culture
Art and science - The Cape Town Museum and Planetarium

A walk up the beautiful Company’s Garden, at the top of Cape Town, takes you to the South African Museum.

Vibrant culture

FNB stadium - Step into the “calabash” one of Africa’s biggest stadiums.

Vibrant culture
FNB stadium - Step into the “calabash” one of Africa’s biggest stadiums.

The FNB stadium continues to be the preferred platform of choice for the Soweto derby involving Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.

Vibrant culture

From marine life to history, discover more at the Port Elizabeth Museum (1)

Vibrant culture
From marine life to history, discover more at the Port Elizabeth Museum (1)

From marine life to history, discover more at the Port Elizabeth Museum

Vibrant culture

A national treasure of history, art and culture at The National Museum

Vibrant culture
A national treasure of history, art and culture at The National Museum

A national treasure of history, art and culture at The National Museum

Vibrant culture

Touring Cape Town’s art galleries

Vibrant culture
Touring Cape Town’s art galleries

Touring Cape Town’s art galleries

Vibrant culture

Explore South Africa while sowing the seeds of rural upliftment

Vibrant culture
Explore South Africa while sowing the seeds of rural upliftment

Have you heard of Agritourism? This is a category of tourism that provides visitors the opportunity to experience everyday life on working farms, ranches, wineries and agricultural industries.

Vibrant culture

South Africans food markets- Jozi

Vibrant culture
South Africans food markets- Jozi

Yes you may be in South Africa for the wildlife, sun, sea or all of the above, but the country is gaining a delicious reputation for its food.

Vibrant culture

Mountain biking and the Owl Route

Vibrant culture
Mountain biking and the Owl Route

The Owl Route is a 50km U-shaped dirt road in the Eastern Cape province, best explored by bicycle.

Vibrant culture

History and culture in Polokwane

Vibrant culture
History and culture in Polokwane

In Polokwane, history and culture offer insight into this modern city.

Vibrant culture

Bakone Malapa open-air museum - at home with the Basotho

Vibrant culture
Bakone Malapa open-air museum - at home with the Basotho

The Bakone, a sub-group of the Northern Sotho people, will happily introduce you to their contemporary customs and traditional way of life.

Vibrant culture

Enjoy the classic and the contemporary at Oliewenhuis Art Museum

Vibrant culture
Enjoy the classic and the contemporary at Oliewenhuis Art Museum

The Oliewenhuis Art Museum may be called a “museum”, but it's really an art experience – gallery, restaurants, gardens and all!

Vibrant culture

Take a stroll down Route 67 and explore Port Elizabeth’s rich heritage.

Vibrant culture
Take a stroll down Route 67 and explore Port Elizabeth’s rich heritage.

Port Elizabeth's urban-based Route 67 is one of the most exciting and creative of South Africa's inner-city developments.

Vibrant culture

Oudtshoorn - The capital of the Klein Karoo

Vibrant culture
Oudtshoorn - The capital of the Klein Karoo

Inland from the Cape’s famous Garden Route, over breathtakingly beautiful mountain passes, magnificent red rocks and the wide open spaces of the Klein Karoo, you’ll find Oudtshoorn – once known internationally as the ostrich capital of the world

Vibrant culture

Sol Plaatje – an inspiring leader and extraordinary thinker

Vibrant culture
Sol Plaatje – an inspiring leader and extraordinary thinker

Sol Plaatje is a leading figure in South Africa's liberation history.

Copyright © 2018 South African Tourism
|Terms and conditions|Disclaimer|Privacy policy