What Do the Colors & Symbols on the African Flag Symbolize?

Written by mark slingo
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
  • Pin
  • Email
What Do the Colors & Symbols on the African Flag Symbolize?
The South African flag incorporates colours from both Pan-African colour groups. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Each colour on national flags has a meaning to symbolise something. There are two sets of three colours which are referred to as the Pan-African colours and are used in a majority of the African nation's flags. The two sets of colours are black, red and green, and red, gold and green. Some of the African flags use colours from both the sets, as well as images with their own symbolism.


Red is represented on the African flag as the blood that unites all people of African ancestry and the blood that has been shed in the liberation of the African people. African countries that use red in their flag include Malawi, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa and Zimbabwe.


Black refers to the colour of the African skin. Examples of countries that use black in the flag design include Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Botswana and Angola.


Green refers to the colour of the land and the abundant natural wealth of Africa. Green can be found in many of the African flags, including those of Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia.


Gold is a reference to the sun. It is also a reference to natural resources such as gold in the South African flag. Uganda uses gold in its flag design, as do Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Mozambique


Blue is used in African flags as reference to the blue sky. It is also used to symbolise freedom, vigilance, perseverance and justice. Blue is found most prominently in the Botswana flag and can also be seen in the flag designs of Tanzania, Namibia, Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Africa.


White in African flags is used to symbolise peace and honesty and the people of European origin. White can be found in the flags of South Africa, Botswana, Kenya, Lesotho, Namibia and Madagascar.


A number of African flags include symbols on their flags containing a meaning. Kenya has a Masai shield with two spears in the centre of it to symbolise the defence of all that the colours of the flag stand for. Uganda has a grey crowned crane, fabled for its gentle nature, to symbolise peace. The Zimbabwe flag features a soapstone bird representing the statuette of a bird found in the ruins of Great Zimbabwe -- an ancient fortress in the country. Angola features a machete to symbolise its peasantry and a gold star mimicking the style of the old Soviet flag, which was adopted by the country's first Marxist government.

Don't Miss

  • All types
  • Articles
  • Slideshows
  • Videos
  • Most relevant
  • Most popular
  • Most recent

No articles available

No slideshows available

No videos available

By using the eHow.co.uk site, you consent to the use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie policy.