South African National Symbols and Heritage

The National Flag

The national flag was designed by a former South African State Herald, Mr Fred Brownell, and was first used on 27 April 1994. The design and colours are a synopsis of principal elements of the country's flag history. Individual colours, or colour combinations have different meanings for different people and therefore no universal symbolism should be attached to any of the colours.

The central design of the flag, beginning at the flagpost 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 elements 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 previous South African Coat of Arms.

Did you know that:

the flag must be treated with respect at all times and must not:

-          Touch the floor or ground.

-          Be used as a tablecloth or be draped in front of a platform.

-          Be used to cover a statue, plaque or cornerstone at ceremonies,

-          Be used to start or finish tournaments.

and, that:

-          When the National Flag is displayed with any other flag, it must be hoisted up first and lowered last?

-          When our own flag is displayed with flags of other countries, all of them should be of equal size and flown at same height.

-          When used or displayed next to, or behind, a speaker at a meeting, it must be on her or his right-hand side. And when placed, elsewhere in the hall or meeting place, it should be to the right of the audience.

-          When displayed vertically against a wall, the red band should be to the left of the spectator with the hoist or the cord seam uppermost.

-          And that, if displayed horizontally, the hoist should be to the left of the spectator and the red band uppermost.

Specific instructions with regard to the use of the national flag can be found in the Government Gazette 22356, Notice 510 of 8 June 2001 (pdf document).