Last modified: 2013-09-18 by bruce berry
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C-SPAN (Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network), reporting on the election
in South Africa, showed the "interim" flag which will be used for the next
five years; the new parliament will choose a permanent flag. In
blazon, it is: Tierced in pairle couchy sable, gules and azure,
a pairle couchy vert fimbriated or to dexter and argent to chief and base.
I think the interim flag for South Africa is said to be composed of the colours of flags of past administrations. Which is as plausible as anything, since it includes all the heraldic tinctures.
The current South African flag was designed by Mr Fred Brownell, State Herald
of South Africa.
Bruce Berry, 26 Mar 1999
Album 2000 gives the official (Pantone) and approximate (CMYK) specifications as follows:
Green: 3415c C100-M0-Y80-K20
Yellow: 1235c C0-M25-Y80-K0
Blue: Reflex Blue c C100-M80-Y0-K0
Ivan Sache, 15 Jan 2002
The South African flag pantones as I have them are:
Blue: 287u 288c
Red: 485u (x2) 485c
Yellow: 116u 1235c
Green: 355u 349c
Source: SA Bureau of Standards - Specifications for the National Flag, 2nd ed.
Bruce Berry, 21 Jan 2002
The protocol manual for the London 2012 Olympics
(Flags and Anthems Manual, London, 2012 [bib-lna.html])
provides recommendations for national flag designs. Each National Olympic
Committee was sent an image of their flag, including the PMS shades, by the
London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) for their approval.
Once this was obtained, the LOCOG produced a 60 x 90 cm version of the flag for
further approval. So, while these specifications may not be the official,
government, version of each flag, they are certainly what the National Olympic
Committee believed their flag to be.
For South Africa : PMS 179 orange/red, 3415 green, reflex blue, 1235 yellow and black. The vertical flag is the horizontal version reversed and turned 90 degrees anti-clockwise - black at the top, orange/red on the left, blue on the right.
Ian Sumner, 10 Oct 2012
The colours of the South African flag do not really have symbolic meanings in themselves. People do sometimes assign meanings to the colours (such as red for blood, yellow for mineral wealth etc.) but this is not the case with the current South African flag. According to Mr. Frederick Brownell, the former State Herald who played a large role in the original design, while the colours of the flag do not have any official symbolism, they do represent a synopsis of the country’s flag history. The design in turn, represents a converging of paths, the merging of both the past and the present.
Black, gold and green, which were first incorporated into South African national flags in the 19th century, also feature prominently in the flags of the liberation movements, particularly the African National Congress (ANC), the Pan-African Congress (PAC) and Inkatha. These colours can thus be said to broadly represent the country's black population.
Blue, white, red and green reflect the British and Dutch (later Boer) influence, as shown in the earliest flags flown in South Africa, and also featured prominently in the old South African National Flag (1928-1994) and thus represent the white population of South Africa.
The green pall (the Y-shape) is commonly interpreted to mean the unification of the various ethnic groups and the moving forward into a new united South Africa.
The South African flag
is the only national flag to contain six colours as part of its primary design
(excluding those flags which contain various colour shades as part of the
detail of coats of arms or other charges etc.).
Bruce Berry, 14 Feb 2000
The History and Heritage
Section of the South
Africa.Info web site has a lengthy section on the present flag of the
Republic of South Africa, with some interesting information. The flag
material is entitled 'Fly, the beloved flag,' a very clever play on the
title of Alan Paton's novel 'Cry, the Beloved Country,' one of the first
works in English to describe the former apartheid state.
Ron Lahav, 12 Nov 2008