Our flag is our national pride!

Thursday, May 30, 2024

By Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, Zizi Kodwa

No matter where in the world you may find yourself the one recognisable symbol that draws us together with pride and camaraderie is our national flag. Every time it is flown at a sporting event or at foreign conferences, our hearts swell with pride.

Our flag symbolises the country we are building, and South Africans are united in their love for the flag. We might be divided on various issues, but we all stand proud at the sight of our beloved flag.  

It is our symbol of national unity and a potent symbol of our nation. Former President Nelson Mandela described the flag saying: “Not as a symbol of a political party, nor of a government, but as a possession of the people – the one thing that is literally and figuratively above all else, our flag”.

These words are a powerful reminder that the flag belongs to all of us and binds us together as a nation and a people. Our flag is unique to us as a country; it shows our unity, our diversity and our undying love for our nation.

The national flag of the Republic of South Africa was adopted on Freedom Day, 27 April 1994, and first flown 10 May 1994 - the day Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as President. The central design of the flag, beginning at the flag-pole in a V form, is interpreted as the convergence of diverse elements within South African society and taking the road ahead in unity.

The national flag was designed by a former South African State Herald, Mr Fred Brownell. The design and colours reflect various elements of the country's history. Individual colours have different meanings to different people and therefore no universal symbolism is attached to any of the colours.

When handling the flag, there are number of do’s and don’ts. Always remember that the flag must not touch the floor, it must not be used as a tablecloth or draped in front of a platform. When the flag is hoisted on a flagpole, the red band must be the uppermost and the black triangle must be on the side of the pole or hoist.

When the flag is displayed horizontally against a wall, the hoist should be to the left of the spectator and the red band uppermost. When the flag is displayed vertically against a wall, the red band should be to the left of the spectator with the hoist or the cord seam uppermost.

We call on everyone to continue to respect our flag, which is a potent symbol of unity and progress, and more than any other national symbol it is instantly recognisable to South Africans everywhere. It reflects our difficult past, but has come to symbolise a nation, which is diverse yet joined together and committed to a united future. 

Let us therefore show the appropriate respect to our flag, which is a powerful symbol of our national unity by observing all flag protocols and refraining from acts that intentionally destroy, damages, or mutilates a flag in public.

The Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, Mr Zizi Kodwa perfectly encapsulates the importance of the flag when he says: “The South African flag represents our nationhood. It represents the coming together of our people. The South African flag symbolises unity in our diversity and represents the hopes and aspirations of our nation.”

In the year, that we celebrate 30 years of Freedom and Democracy our flag endures as a unifier and an integral component in the nation we are building.