The Republic of South Africa is a large country covering the
southernmost tip of Africa. It has a long history of colonialization and
tension between its major ethnic groups, but major changes led to
democratic elections starting in 1994. The current flag was adopted in
1994 to accompany these changes, to signal a new start for South Africa.
The central feature of the flag is a sideways Y shape in deep
green, with the forks on the mast side and the stem stretching to the
end from about halfway across. This leaves a triangle in the center of
the mast side and two horizontal stripes above and below the stem of the
Y. The outer outline of the Y is white, while the inner outline inside
the fork is gold. The triangle against the mast is black, and the bands
above and below are red and blue. While the government doesn’t
endorse any specific interpretation of the colors, there are some
generally held views on the meanings within the flag. Black, green and
gold are pan-African colors, and stand for the unity of all Africans.
Red, white and blue call the mind the country’s Dutch heritage and
European ethnic group. The Y shape stands for the convergence of many
disparate elements coming together in unity.