The colours of any nation’s flag are never randomly chosen. They represent the triumphs and tribulations of the history, struggles and richness of a country
Here are 5 flags from Africa that tell the stories of these different nations and what they went through before they could fly their banners:
1. East Africa
The flag of the East African Community has been used since 2008 by the East African Community, an intergovernmental organisation composed of six countries (Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda). Ugandan president Museveni called it “a sign that we are working together for closer East African Cooperation.”
BLUE: Lake Victoria signifying the unity of the EAC Partner States.
WHITE, BLACK, GREEN, YELLOW, RED: representing the different colours of the flags of each of the EAC Partner States.
HANDSHAKE represents the East African Community.
At the centre, the Emblem of the East African Community.
Did you know? The emblem at the middle of the flag consists of a map of the five partner states with Lake Victoria in prominence in a circle, bordered by an industrial wheel.
The Ghanaian Flag was designed by Mrs Theodosia Salome Okoh upon attainment of independence in 1957. The flag consists of the Pan-African colours of red, gold and green in horizontal stripes with a five-pointed star in the centre of the gold stripe.
RED represents the blood of those who died in the country’s struggle for independence
GOLD represents the mineral wealth of the country
GREEN symbolises the country’s rich forest and natural wealth
THE BLACK STAR symbolises African unity and emancipation
Did you know?
In an interview with local newspapers Mrs Okoh said, she saw an ad in the paper and decided to give it a go… ”After independence, it was advertised in the dailies for someone to design a flag that would replace the colonial flag. I quickly filed my application and mine was subsequently selected,… Since I was an artist, I could not but to submit my application in the hope that mine would be the most outstanding,” said Mrs Okoh
Kenya’s National Flag was adopted on December 12, 1963 and is based on the black, red and green flag of KANU (Kenya African National Union), the political party that led Kenya to independence.
BLACK represents the people of Kenya.
RED represents all the bloodshed and the sacrifices that were made during the independence movement.
GREEN represents the green landscapes and the very rich and fertile agriculture-friendly soils of Kenya.
WHITE was added later to symbolise the peace, honesty and love of the people of the nation.
The traditional MASAAI SHIELD AND TWO SPEARS symbolise the defense of all the things mentioned above.
The Flag of Nigeria was designed in 1959 and first officially hoisted on October 1, 1960. The tribune (green, white, green) national flag is an adaptation of the winning entry from Michael Taiwo Akinkunmi in a competition held in 1959. His design was chosen from over 3 000 entries. The original submission from Akinkunmi had a red radiating sun badge in the center triptych of one white vertical with a green vertical on each side. After the badge was removed by the judges, the flag has remained unchanged.
GREEN: The two green stripes represent Nigeria’s natural wealth
WHITE: the white band represents peace.
Did you know? Old, worn-out or dirty flags should not be displayed publicly, as this is seen as disrespect to the country.
5. South Africa
The flag of South Africa was adopted on 27 April 1994, at the beginning of South Africa’s 1994 general election. The new national flag, designed by the then State Herald of South Africa Frederick Brownell, was chosen to represent the country’s new democracy after the end of apartheid.
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.’
Officially, the South African flag colours are said to 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
However it is often said that the colours have the following meaning:
RED symbolizes bloodshed and sacrifices made in South Africa’s struggle for independence
WHITE stands for Europeans & peace and harmony between natives and Europeans
GREEN represents fertility of South African land
YELLOW stands for the mineral and other natural wealth of South Africa
BLACK represents native people of South Africa
BLUE stands for blue sky and endless opportunities for South Africans
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.
Did you know?
At the time of its adoption, the South African flag was the only national flag in the world to comprise six colours in its primary design.
Categorised in: Uncategorised
Territories: East Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Southern Africa
This post was written by Amadeus Africa Team