List of South African flags

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

This article lists the flags of the various colonies and states that have existed in South Africa since 1652.


Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Natalia Republic.svg 1839–1843 Natalia Republic
Flag of the Orange Free State.svg 1857–1902 Orange Free State
Flag of Transvaal.svg 1857–74,
South African Republic ('Vierkleur')
South African Burgers Flag.svg 1874–1875 South African Republic ('Burgers Flag'). A red saltire outlined in white on a dark blue field.
Flag of the Natal Colony (1875–1910).svg 1875–1910 Colony of Natal
Flag of the Cape Colony (1876–1910).svg
1876–1910 Cape Colony A blue ensign defaced with the shield-of-arms of Cape Colony
Flag of the Republic of Goshen.svg 1883–1885 State of Goshen
Flag of Stellaland.svg 1883–1885 Stellaland
Flag of Nieuwe Republiek.svg 1884–1888 Nieuwe Republiek
Flag of Transvaal.svg 1890–1891 Klein Vrystaat
Flag of Orange River Colony.svg
1904–1910 Orange River Colony A blue ensign defaced with a springbok antelope in a disc[1]
Flag of the Transvaal Colony (1904–1910).svg
1904–1910 Transvaal A blue ensign defaced with a disc showing a lion lying on an African plain with palm trees.[2]
Red Ensign of South Africa (1910–1912).svg 1910–1912 Union of South Africa (Merchant flag)
Blue Ensign of South Africa (1910–1912).svg 1910–1928 Union of South Africa (State Ensign)
Red Ensign of South Africa (1912–1951).svg 1912–1951 Union of South Africa (Merchant flag)
Flag of South Africa (1928–1994).svg 1928–1982 Republic/Union of South Africa The flag using a darker shade of "Union" blue common before the early 1980s.
Flag of South Africa (1982–1994).svg 1982–1994 Republic of South Africa The flag using a lighter shade of "Solway" blue as specified by the South African government in 1982.
Flag of Transkei.svg 1966–1994 Transkei
Flag of Bophuthatswana.svg 1973–1994 Bophuthatswana
Flag of Ciskei.svg 1973–1994 Ciskei
Flag of Gazankulu.svg 1973–1994 Gazankulu
Flag of Venda.svg 1973–1994 Venda
Flag of Lebowa.svg 1974–1994 Lebowa
Flag of QwaQwa.svg 1975–1994 QwaQwa
Flag of KwaZulu (1977).svg 1977–1985 KwaZulu (1)
Flag of KwaNdbele.svg 1982–1994 KwaNdebele
Flag of KwaZulu (1985).svg 1985–1994 KwaZulu (2)
Flag of South Africa.svg 1994–present Republic of South Africa

Historical flags (1652–1928)[edit]

National flag (1928–1994)[edit]

  • The Hertzog administration introduced the flag after several years of political controversy. Approved by Parliament in 1927, it was first hoisted on May 31, 1928.
  • The flag reflected the Union's predecessors. The basis was the Prince's Flag (royal tricolour) of the Netherlands, with the addition of a Union Jack to represent the Cape and Natal, the former Orange Free state flag, and the former South African Republic flag.
  • Until 1957, the flag was flown subordinate to the British Union Jack.
  • The flag remained unchanged when South Africa became a republic on May 31, 1961. However, there was pressure to change the flag, particularly from Afrikaners who resented the fact that the Union Flag was a part of the flag. The then prime minister, Dr Hendrik Verwoerd, had a "clean" flag, comprising three vertical stripes of orange, white, and blue, with a leaping springbok over a wreath of six proteas in the centre, designed, but he was assassinated before he could introduce it, and the project died with him in 1966.

Homeland flags (1966–1994)[edit]

  • Nine of the ten Black 'homelands' which were created inside South Africa under the apartheid system, had their own flags, i.e. Transkei (1966–94), Bophuthatswana (1973–94), Ciskei (1973–94), Gazankulu (1973–94), Venda (1973–94), Lebowa (1974–94), QwaQwa (1975–94), KwaZulu (1977–94), and KwaNdebele (1982–94).
  • All these flags became obsolete when South Africa reincorporated the homelands on April 27, 1994.

National flag (1994–present)[edit]

  • South Africa was reconstituted as a democratic state, with equal rights for men and women of all races, in 1994. The old flag's long association with the apartheid era made it unacceptable for the new dispensation, and the State Herald, Frederick Brownell therefore designed a new flag. Approved by the Transitional Executive Council (TEC) on March 20, 1994, and officially authorised by state president F. W. de Klerk on April 20, 1994, it was officially hoisted a week later, on April 27, 1994.
  • The new flag was intended as an interim measure, but it proved so popular that when the final Constitution was prepared in 1996, it became the permanent flag.
Flag Date Description
Red Ensign of South Africa (1910–1912).svg
1910–1912 A British Red Ensign with the shield of the coat of arms of the Union of South Africa.
Blue Ensign of South Africa (1910–1912).svg
1910–1928 A British Blue Ensign with the shield of the coat of arms of the Union of South Africa.
Red Ensign of South Africa (1912–1951).svg
1912–1928 A British Red Ensign with the shield of the coat of arms of the Union of South Africa on a white roundel.
Flag of South Africa (1928–1994).svg
1928–1994 Orange, white, and blue horizontal stripes, on the white stripe, a backwards Union Flag towards the hoist, the Orange Free State flag hanging vertically and the Flag of Transvaal, towards the fly. Used for both the Union and later Republic of South Africa
Flag of South Africa.svg
1994–present Two horizontal bands of chilli red (top) and blue with a black triangle at the hoist, over all a green horizontal (pall) (Y-shape), fimbriated white against the red and blue and gold against the black.

Military flags[edit]

South African Defence Force[edit]

South African National Defence Force[edit]

National Defence Department[edit]


Air force[edit]


Police flags[edit]

South African Police[edit]

South African Police Service[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ This replaced the Orange Free State republican flag.
  2. ^ The flag is the colonial flag which replaced the "Vierkleur" of the South African Republic (horizonally red, white and blue with a vertical green stripe at the hoist).


  • Beckett, D. (2002) Flying with Pride.
  • Brownell, F.G. (1993) National and Provincial Symbols.
  • Burgers, A.P. (1997) Sovereign Flags of South Africa.
  • Burgers, A.P. (2008). The South African Flag Book.
  • Pama, C. (1965) Lions and Virgins.
  • Pama, C. (1984) Die Vlae van Suid-Afrika.

External links[edit]