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Mozambique

República de Moçambique

Last modified: 2013-01-09 by bruce berry
Keywords: mozambique | star | book | gun | hoe |
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[Mozambican flag][Variant] 2:3~ image by Željko Heimer, 01 Jul 2002 See also:

Flag of Mozambique

So here is the official explanation from the Constitution of Mozambique as reported in "Constitutions - what they tell us about flags and coats of arms" by Jos Poels and Pascal Vagnat (2000):

Part IV of the Constitution of the Republic Mozambique (adopted on 02 November 1990) deals with Symbols, Currency and Capital of the Republic.

Article 193 deals with the national flag :

"The national flag shall have five colours: red, green, black, gold and white.
The significance of the colours shall be as follows:
red - the centuries of resistance to colonialism, the armed national liberation struggle, and the defence of sovereignty;
green - the riches of the soil;
black - the African continent;
gold - the riches of the subsoil;
white - the justice of the struggle of the Mozambican people, and peace.

From top to bottom, there shall be green, black and gold horizontal stripes, separated by stripes of white. On the left side, there shall be a red triangle, in the centre of which there shall be a gold star. Above this there shall be a crossed hoe and gun, superimposed upon a book. The star shall symbolise the spirit of international solidarity of the Mozambican people. The book, hoe and gun shall symbolise study, production and defence".

[Detail of the emblem] image by Željko Heimer, 01 Jul 2002

It is commonly accepted that the gun refers to an AK-47, used by Frelimo during the liberation struggle. The pantone colour codes for the flag are :
Red - 185c
Green - 355c
Yellow - 116c.

Article 194 deals with the Coat of Arms:
"The emblem of the Republic of Mozambique shall contain as its central elements a book, a gun and a hoe, superimposed on a map of Mozambique, representing respectively education, defence and vigilance and peasantry and agricultural production.  Below the map the ocean shall be represented.
In the centre shall be the rising sun, symbol of the building of a new life.  Enclosing all this shall be a toothed wheel, symbolising labour and industry. Surrounding the toothed wheel there shall be, to the right and left respectively, an ear of maize and a piece of sugar cane, symbolising agricultural wealth.
At the bottom there shall be a red scroll with the inscription 'Republic of Mozambique'."
Bruce Berry, 02 Nov 2006

The current flag: a vertical triband of green, black and yellow with white fimbriations on either side of the black stripe, and a Red triangle at the hoist extended to about 3/7 of the width, charged with a centered yellow star bearing the country's lesser arms: a rifle and a hoe crossed saltire over an open book, all in proper colors. This flag, in 2:3 format, was adopted on 01 May 1983 and has a close resemblance to the former FRELIMO flag.
Antonio Martins, 21 Sep 1997

[construction sheet] image by Željko Heimer, 03 Jul 2002

National Flag. CSW/CSW 2:3
I'll jump over description directly to the construction details given in Album:  (10+1+10+1+10):(21+27).
This image has smaller emblem in the triangle then the one in Album, where it seems somewhat like inscribed in a circle of 13 units or so (meaning the diameter of the circle circumscribing the star).
This flag superseded not only the national flag of 1975, but also the red war flag
And now the notes. Graham Bartram has the flag in ratio 5:8, while Album 2000 has it as 2:3. [vdv00] agrees with Album. I guess that 5:8 might be a "relict" from previous flag, which is in [smi82] given as ratio 5:8~.

Following the construction details given in Album for the width of stripes, I have gained a flag image that has white fimbriations considerably thinner then I was expecting to. unless I have messed up something, it seems that no vexillological book has the fimbriations as thin as 1/10 of stripes. It's hard to measure such small sizes in Album 2000, but even there the white stripes seem to be wider then 1/10 of the, say, black stripe.
Željko Heimer, 01 Jul 2002

At the Mozambique embassy in Lisbon (Portugal) one can clearly see the lower stripe in regular yellow, almost without contrast with the nearby white stripe.
António MARTINS-Tuválkin, 30 Nov 2003

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 Mozambique : PMS 355 green, 185 red, 109 yellow and black. The vertical flag is simply the horizontal version turned 90 degrees clockwise.
Ian Sumner, 10 Oct 2012



Symbolism of the flag

This is an article from today's New York Times about discussions in Mozambique concerning retaining or eliminating the gun on the national flag.

Maputo Journal: Symbols Are Important. So What Does a Gun Symbolize?

By MICHAEL WINES

Mozambique is holding a competition to redesign its flag and national emblem, which date from the civil-war days.
Albert S Kirsch, 07 Oct 2005

From the article:

"Critics of the symbols have no complaint about the book, the stripes, the corn or the hoe. But to Renamo's supporters, who were virulent reactionaries during their counter revolutionary past, the gun and star hark back too painfully to Frelimo's own days as a party of revolutionary Marxists."

Well, as a vexillologist, *I* have an issue with any tiny pictures. But is it true they have no objection to the stripes? I thought those were the party colors.

"Frelimo advocates say the critics are overreaching. The Kalashnikov, they say, is but a coincidentally Russian symbol of Mozambicans' determination to defend their land; the star merely signifies solidarity with Africans. (The horizontal black stripe is supposed to symbolize Africa, too.)"

A solution: Change it to an M-16!

"If Mozambique's single star were to symbolize Communism, Joaquim Chissano, the nation's president for 19 years, said, the Stars and Stripes would place the United States among the world's most leftist nations."

I completely disagree with his point, but this is one of the funniest flag-related things I've ever seen.

"If it goes to a vote, it's obvious that Frelimo will smash Renamo, and the symbols will remain the same. But for the sake of democracy, they're saying, 'Let's vote.' "

Well, for the sake of democracy, then, maybe they better put off a vote for a while. Just my two cents.
Nathan Lamn, 07 Oct 2005

The Mozambique star is yellow (on a red field), which is another recognized "communist star" colour (see USSR, China, Vietnam)
David Kendall, 08 Oct 2005


Coat of Arms

[Mozambican Coat of Arms] from this site, found by Dov Gutterman, 03 Apr 1999

Article 194 of the Constitution deals with the Coat of Arms:

"The emblem of the Republic of Mozambique shall contain as its central elements a book, a gun and a hoe, superimposed on a map of Mozambique, representing respectively education, defence and vigilance and peasantry and agricultural production.  Below the map the ocean shall be represented. In the centre shall be the rising sun, symbol of the building of a new life.  Enclosing all this shall be a toothed wheel, symbolising labour and industry. Surrounding the toothed wheel there shall be, to the right and left respectively, an ear of maize and a piece of sugar cane, symbolising agricultural wealth.
At the bottom there shall be a red scroll with the inscription 'Republic of Mozambique'."
Bruce Berry, 02 Nov 2006