The South African flag,
a potent symbol of unity and progress
"The South African flag is a potent symbol of
unity and progress".
These words were written by Cyril Ramaphosa, one of the chief negotiators in the transformation
from apartheid to democracy, in his foreword to the “Flying with Pride” 2004 Heritage
"It was difficult to imagine, back then in the days of negotiations, that this assortment of
shapes and colours we had before us would become such a central part of defining and identifying a
As South Africans daily work to build a better society, they are surrounded in many forms and
countless manifestations by a flag which recognises and celebrates the unity and diversity of the
Few would have imagined, almost a decade ago, that this collection of colourful shapes could
become such a potent symbol of unity and progress……
But then, fewer still would have thought that a country torn apart by decades of racial oppression
could transform itself into a beacon of democracy and hope."
About the colours of the South African flag and
flying the South Africa Flag
One of the most important national Symbols that had to change with South Africa’s transformation to true democracy was of course its
national flag. Today, instantly recognizable to South Africans everywhere, the new South African national flag is a potent symbol of
unity and progress and the only six-coloured national flag in the world.
The National Symbols Commission received more than 7 000 designs. However none of them elicited enthusiastic support. A final design
was adopted on 15 March 1994 - derived from a design developed by South Africa's former State Herald, Fred Brownell. The proclamation
of the new national flag was published on 20 April 1994 and the flag was first used on 27 April 1994.
Union Buildings, seat of the South African government
copyright © South African tourism - Colours of the South African Flag, Flying the South Africa Flag
The central design of the flag, beginning at the flag post in a 'V' form and flowing into a single horizontal band to the outer edge
of the fly, can be interpreted as the convergence of diverse cultures within South African society, taking the road ahead in unity. The
theme of convergence and unity ties in with the motto “Unity is Strength” of the South African National Coat of Arms.
The design and colours are a synopsis of principal elements of the country's flag history. Individual colours, or colour combinations
represent different meanings for different people and therefore no universal symbolism should be attached to any of the colours.
Flying the Flag of South Africa
Colours of the South African Flag
When the flag is displayed vertically against a wall, the red band should be to the left of the viewer with the hoist or the cord seam
at the top. When it is displayed horizontally, the hoist should be to the left of the viewer and the red band at the top. When the flag
is displayed next to or behind the speaker at a meeting, it must be placed to the speaker's right. When it is placed elsewhere in the
meeting place, it should be to the right of the audience.
Colour specifications of the South African national flag.
||CKS 42 c Spectrum green
||CKS 401 c Blue black
||CKS 701 c National flag white
||CKS 724 c Gold yellow
||CKS 750 c Chilli red
||CKS 762 c National flag blue
||Reflex blue c
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