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There is no better place in the world to have a holiday than South Africa. For independent information, advice and facts about going on holiday to South Africa visit southafricaholiday.org.uk

South Africa Holiday: National Flag

The design and colours of the South African national flag are a synopsis of principal elements of the country's flag history. Individual colours, or colour combinations, represent different meanings for different people.

Choosing a new flag was part of the negotiation process set in motion when Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990. When a nationwide public competition was held in 1993, the National Symbols Commission received more than 7,000 designs. Six designs were drawn up and presented to the public and the Negotiating Council - but none elicited enthusiastic support.
A number of design studios were contracted to submit further proposals - again without success - and Parliament went into recess at the end of 1993 without a suitable candidate for the new national flag.
In February 1994, Cyril Ramaphosa and Roelf Meyer, chief negotiators of the African National Congress and the National Party government of the day respectively, were tasked with resolving the flag issue. A final design was adopted on 15 March 1994 - derived from a design developed by a former South African State Herald, Mr Fred Brownell.
The proclamation of the new national flag was only published on 20 April 1994 - seven days before the flag was to be inaugurated on the 27th, sparking a frantic last-minute flurry for flag manufacturers.
Writing in the foreword to "Flying with Pride", Cyril Ramaphosa comments: "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 new nation.
"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 country's people.
"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."

Related Pages

National animal
National anthem
National bird
National coat of arms
National fish
National flower
National tree
National holidays


When the new flag was designed, it was specifically stated that the colours had no official meaning or symbolism, other than their choice from their use in the past.
Three of the colours, black, green and yellow, are colours commonly found in African flags, including those of the African National Congress (ANC).
Red, white and blue are colours commonly found in European flags, including those of the Netherlands and the United kingdom.

Protocol for displaying the flag

When the flag is displayed vertically against a wall, the red band is to the left of the viewer with the hoist or the cord seam at the top.
When it is displayed horizontally, the hoist is 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 is placed to the speaker's right.
When it is placed elsewhere in the meeting place, it should be to the right of the audience.
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