Part of the joy of working with flags is working with the history of flags. Flags are a symbol of pride, but behind the outward symbol, there is often a storied history and intentionality behind what we see.
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Part 2 of our Flags of the World series is today. Today we’re going to be focusing on another iconic world flag, the flag of South Africa.
The flag of South Africa is a relatively new flag. The flag was adopted in 1994 after the South African Apartheid in order to represent the new democracy. The flag was designed by vexillologist Frederick Brownell.
At the time of its conception, the South African flag was the only flag in the world to use 6 different colors in its design.
The 6 colors used in the South African are green, white, blue, red, gold, and black. In order to celebrate the unification of the country, Brownell chose 3 colors to represent the black population of the country and 3 colors to represent the white population of the country. To represent the black population, Brownell used black, green, and yellow to represent the African National Congress, the Pan Africanist Congress and the Inkatha Freedom Party, respectively. For the white population, Brownell used red, white, and blue, all 3 present in the Dutch tricolor as well as the Union Jack.
The Y-shape of the flag represents the unification of ethnic groups that had been separated during Apartheid, now unified and moving forward into a new South Africa. Additionally, the flag represents the meeting of the past and the present, moving toward a new future.
The flag of South Africa is an excellent example of the marrying of form and function, presenting a design that is both visually appealing as well as purposeful.
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