The South African Flag is one of the most fascinating and intricate flags in Africa, if not the world. The flag has horizontal stripes of red (top) and blue (bottom), of equal width, which are actually right trapezoids, separated by a centrally located green band which splits into a horizontal “Y” shape, with the “Y” toward the hoist (left), and follows the flag’s diagonals. The “Y” embraces a black triangle, and there is a yellow stripe between the “Y” and 2 sides of the black triangle. The red and blue stripes are separated from the green band by narrow white stripes.
The colors: black, green and yellow were taken from the flag of the African National Congress, and the red, white and blue, were taken from the flags of the Boer Republics and the Union Jack. According to official South African government information, the South African flag is “a synopsis of principal elements of the country’s flag history”. Although people may attribute personal symbolism to the individual colors or color combinations, and occasionally media outlets will link meanings to the various colors, “no universal symbolism should be attached to any of the colors”.
The only symbolism in the flag is the “V” or “Y” shape, which 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” from the previous South African Coat of Arms.
The flag of South Africa was designed in March 1994 and adopted on April 27, 1994, at the beginning of South Africa’s general election, to replace the flag that had been used since 1928. The new flag was designed by Frederick Brownell, the (then) State Herald of South Africa. He designed it to represent the country’s new democracy.