32 African flags and the meaning behind them

by Fay

The flags of Africa represent the diversity of individual nations but also several common symbols of peace, hope prosperity and freedom from oppression and colonization. Most African flags can be traced back to the post World War II transition period, when several African countires succeeded in winning independence from European powers. There is also a strong similarity in many of the flags in this list that can be attributed to the colors and ideals of Pan-Africanism.

Algeria

Description:The algerian flag features 3 main colors: Green, white and red and 2 symbols, the star and the crescent.

Meaning: The green color representes Islam, Algeria’s religion, and the white color representes alors peace and purity while the read color representes the blood of martyr during Algeria war, between 1954 and 1962. Finally, the star and cressant are also symbols of Islam.

The flag of Algeria was adopted on July 3, 1962

Angola

Description: Angola national flag is composed of 3 colors red, balck and yellow and 3 symbols a star, a cogwheel and a machete.

Meaning: Red color symbolizes bloodshed during the colonial oppression, Angola’s independence struggle as well as for the defence of the country; while black color is meant to represent the people of Africa and the continent as a whole.The yellow color of the emblem symbolizes the country’s wealth. In the emblem, the star symbolizes internationalism and progress, the cogwheel is for industrial workers, and the machete represents agricultural labourers.

The flag was adopted in on November 11, 1975

Benin

Description: Benin chose the pan african colors (red-yellow-green) for its flag.

Meaning: The colors of the flag carry cultural, political, and regional meanings. The symbolism of the colors of the flag are explained in the national anthem, namely green recalls hope and revival, red the blood of ancestors and yellow is a reminder to preserve the country’s wealth.

The flag of Benin was adopted in November 16, 1959

Botswana

Description: Botswana flag consists of 3 main colors sky blue, black and white.

Meaning: The central black stripe and its white bordering stripes represent a belief in racial cooperation and equality. The light blue background of the flag is associated with the sky and water, a scarce and precious commodity in the vast Kalahari desert.

The flag of Botswana was adopted in September 30, 1966

Burundi

Description: The flag of Burundi consists of a white saltire which divides the field into 4 alternating red and green areas. The center of the saltire merges into a white disk, on which there are three red solid six-pointed stars outlined in green.

Meaning: The green color symbolizes hope, the white symbolizes purity, and the red symbolizes the struggle for independence. The stars represent the three major ethnic groups of Burundi: Hutu, Twa, and Tutsi. The stars also represent the national motto, unity work and progress. The three stars also stand for the three elements of the national motto: Unité, Travail, Progrès (“Unity, Work and Progress”), which can be seen on the coat of arms of Burundi. They also represent the loyalty that the citizens of the nations have pledged to their God, king and country.

The flag of Burundi was adopted March 28, 1967.

Cameroon

Description: The flag of Cameroon consists of a vertical tricolour of green, red and yellow, with a gold star centred on the red band.

Meaning: The color scheme of the Cameroon flag uses the traditional Pan-African colours. The centre stripe is thought to stand for unity: red is the colour of unity, and the star is referred to as “the star of unity”. The yellow stands for the sun, and also the savannas in the northern part of the country, while the green is for the forests in the southern part of Cameroon.

The flag of Cameroon was adopted on May 20, 1975

Cape Verde

Description: The National Flag of the Republic of Cape Verde has five unequal horizontal bands of blue, white, and red, with a circle of ten yellow five-pointed stars, all pointing upwards.

Meaning: The 10 stars on the flag represent the main islands of the nation (a chain of islands off the coast of West Africa). The blue represents the ocean and the sky. The band of white and red represents the road toward the construction of the nation, and its colours stand for peace (white) and effort (red). The circle of yellow stars on a dark blue field is similar to the flag of Europe.

The flag of Cape Verde was adopted on September 22, 1992

Central African Republic

Description: The flag of the central African Republic was designed as “four equal sized horizontal bands of the colours blue, white, green and yellow, perpendicularly barred in their centre by a red band of equal size and marked in the upper left corner by a yellow five-pointed star

Meaning: The colours chosen are intended to be symbolic of France (blue and white) and Africa (green and yellow) with the red vertical stripe connecting them both in unity, and the respect that Europeans and Africans should have for each other. The yellow star is intended to be indicative of independence

The flag of Central African Republic was adopted in 1958

Chad

Description: The national flag of Republic of Chad is a vertical tricolour consisting (left to right) of a blue, a gold and a red field.

Meaning: the blue represents the sky and hope; the gold is the sun and desert, and the red signifies the bloodshed over independence

The flag of chad was adopted on November 6, 1959

Comoros

Description: The design consists of a white crescent with four white five-pointed stars inside of a green triangle. The flag has four stripes,

Meaning: The four stripes of the Comoros national flag represents the four islands of the nation: Yellow is for Mohéli, White is for Mayotte, Red is for Anjouan, and Blue is for Grande Comore. The four stars on the flag also symbolize the four islands of the Comoros. The star and crescent symbol stands for their main religion, Islam.

The flag of Comoros was adopted on December 23, 2001

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

Description: The national flag of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a sky blue flag, adorned with a yellow star in the upper left canton and cut diagonally by a red stripe with a yellow fimbriation.

Meaning: Blue represents peace. Red stands for “the blood of the country’s martyrs”, yellow the country’s wealth; and the star a radiant future for the country.

The flag of the DRC was adopted on February 20, 2006.

The Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville)

Description: The national flag of the Republic of the Congo (French: drapeau de la république du Congo) consists of a yellow diagonal band divided diagonally from the lower hoist-side corner, with a green upper triangle and red lower triangle.

Meaning: The colours of the flag carry cultural, political, and regional meanings. The green symbolizes the agriculture and forests of the Congo, while the yellow represents the “friendship and nobility” of the Congolese people. However, the symbolism behind the red was left unexplained. From a continental viewpoint, the green, yellow and red are the colours of the Pan-Africanist movement.

The flag of the Congo-Brazzaville was adopted on September 15, 1959

Djibouti

Description: The national flag of Djibouti is a horizontal flag bicolor with equal bands of light blue and light green, with a white, equilateral triangle at the hoist. In the center of the triangle is a red star. The flag of Djibouti features two equal horizontal bands of blue (top) and green, with a white isosceles triangle based on the hoist side.

Meaning: The light blue represents the sky and the sea, as well as the Dir Somalis, green represents the everlasting green of the earth, as well as the Afars, white represents the colour of peace and the red star represents the unity and the blood shed by the martyrs of independence.

The flag of Djibouti was adopted June 27, 1977

Egypt

Description: The current flag has three red black and white horizontal stripes, and an eagle.

Meaning: The red is a memorial of the sacrifices and blood of the martyrs, the white symbolizes peace and the black represents the dark period of occupation. The eagle is a symbol of power and strength.

Adopted in

Equatorial Guinea

Description: The flag is a horizontal tricolor, with green, white and red stripes and a blue triangle at the hoist. and the National Coat of arms of Equatorial Guinea centered in the white band.

Meaning: Green symbolizes the natural resources, agriculture and jungles of the country. Blue symbolizes the sea, which connects the main country with the islands. White symbolizes peace. Red symbolizes the blood shed by the fighters for independence.

The flag of Equatorial Guinea was adopted on August 21, 1979

Eritrea

Description: The flag consists of 3 triangles and an olive branch. It’s very original. 

Meaning: The widening green flag stands for the increasing growth in agriculture and food security. The red represents the bloodshed and people that died during the struggle for liberation.The increasing blue represents the growing preservation and exploration of the Read Sea. The olive branch represents the 9 ethnic groups and 9 languages in Eritrea. The outer wreath represents the 30 years of their struggle for independence. 

The flag of Eritrea was adopted in 1995

Ethiopia

Description: The flag hs three horizontal stripes of the Pan-African colors, green, yellow and red, in addition to a blue circle that includes the national emblem.

Meaning: the blue represents peace while the yellow represents hope, justice and equality. The red represents the sacrifice for freedom and equality. The green symbolizes labour, development and fertility. The star represents all the unity of all Ethiopian nations and groups.

The flag of Ethiopia was adopted on October 31,1996

Gabon

Description: The flag of Gabon has the tricolor green, yellow and blue horizontal bands. 

Meaning: Yellow is a symbol of the equator, where the country is situated and also the sun. Blue represents the sea and green represents the county’s natural resources. This flag also carries other regional and political meanings.

The flag of Gabon was adopted on August 9, 1960

Gambia

Description: This African country decided to break the regular tricolor horizontal convention by adding thing white borders to its blue stripe in the middle.

Meaning: The blue stripe represents the River Gambia, which flows through the country and brings life to the people and animals. Red symbolizes the sun and the savannah. Green represents the countries rich nature and agriculture while the white stripes represent peace.

The flag of Gambia was adopted on February 18, 1965

Ghana

Description: In classic fashion, Ghana too has thre horizontal stripes that resemble the pan-African colors: green, gold and red. They also have a black star in the middle.

Meaning: The black star represents the lodestar of African freedom. The gold stands for the country’s wealth. The red memorializes the blood of the people who died during the struggle for freedom. The green symbolizes Ghana’s rich and dense forests.

The flag of Ghana was adopted on February 28, 1966

Guinea

Description: Once again we see the strong Pan-African influence of Guinea’s flag. It has three vertical stripes that are red, yellow and green. 

Meaning: Red symbolizes the blood of the martyrs that died due to slavery and wars. Yellow repreesnts the countries sunshine and riches. Green represents the country’s vegetation.

The flag of Guinea was adopted on November 10, 1958

Guinea-Bissau

Description: The flag of Guinea-Bissau has the three conventional Pan-african colors yellow and green horizontally and a red band vertically on the left side. There is also a black star, left of center.

Meaning: The black star represents the freedom of the people. The yellow represents the sun. The green represents the agrigulture and vegetation. It also represents hope. The flag has been influenced to a large degree by the flag of Ghana.

The flag of Guinea-Bissau was adopted on September 24, 1973

Ivory Coast

Description: The flag has three vertical stripes, similar to their colonising power, France. However, the colors are green, white and orange

Meaning: The orange represents the fight for freedom and emancipation. The White represents peace and unity. The green represents the country’s hope for a better future.

The flag of Ivory coast was adopted on December 3, 1959

Kenya

Description: the Keyan flag is unique in its colors and design. It has three horizontal bands, black red and green. The middle band is bordered with two white stripes. At the centre lies a Masai Shield and two spears.

Meaning: The black represnts the ethnicity and culture of the people of Kenya. The red is a memory of the people who died during the struggle for freedom. The white means peace and honesty. The green represents the country’s vast landscape. The shield and spears highlight the country’s commitment to defending their nation and their freedom.

The flag of Kenya was adopted on December 12, 1963

Lesotho

Description: The flag of Lesotho is very unique and interesting. uncharacteristically, it has cool colors: blue, white and green. The symbol at the center is a Mokorotlo, a traditional Basotho hat.

Meaning: The blue represents the sky and rain. the white represents peace and the green represents prosperity. The Mokorotlo replaced the previous symbol, which was a shield, as a sign of peace.

The flag of Lesotho was adopted on September 18, 2006

Morocco

Description: The flag of Morocco is made of a red field with a black-bordered green pentagram star.

Meaning: Both Red and Green clors are associated with Islam. The green pentagram is drawn with five straight lines; each line represents one of the five pillars of Islam, Morocco’s relgion. the green is also often associated with Islam.

The flag of Morocco was adopted on November 17, 1915

South Africa

Description: The South African flag has combined several different influences. A thick green Y shape runs along the centre of the flag, seperating two parts of red and blue. The green Y is bordered with narrow white stripes. On the left of the flag, the Y shape encloses a black triangle, bordered with gold. This is one of the only flags in the world that has 6 colors.

Meaning: Officially, South Africans don’t attach any special meaning to the individual colors of their flag, beyond the general idea of peace and unity for all people. According to other reports the colors have the following meanings: The black represents the African people. The gold represents the natural resources of South Africa, the most important comodity being ‘gold’ itself. The green represents unity and nature. The red represents the blood of the people who died in the struggle against Apartheid. The blue represents the sky and the two oceans, The Athlantic and Indian Oceans. Finally, the white is a symbol of peace.

The flag of South Africa was adopted on April 27, 1994

Togo

Meaning: Togo’s five stripes represent the 5 administrative regions. The green represents the vegetation while the yellow symbolizes labour. The red square is a sign of love, while the white represents purity.

The flag of Togo was adopted on April 28, 1960

Tunisia

Meaning: Some say that the Tunisian flag is one of the oldest flags in the world, being made in the 1830s. The red background is a symbol of Islam, the dominant religion and way of life in Tunisia. The crescent is also a strong symbol of Islam, which was inherited from their Ottoman influence and history. The white circle represents peace. The five-pointed star represnts the five pillars of Islam.

The flag of Tunisia was adopted on October 20, 1959

Uganda

Meaning: The flag of Uganda looks a bit like the German flag, but has more stripes. The black stripes symbolize African heritage and the fertile soil of Uganda. The yellow stripes represent the sunny days, which are common in Uganda.Red symbolizes the blood of the people and of all of mankind. The crested crane is the national symbol of Uganda.

The flag of Uganda was adopted on October 9, 1962

Zambia

Meaning: Zambia’s colorful flag has an interesting meaning and symbolism. The dominant green background symbolises the country’s rich vegetation and agricultural wealth.The red stripe represents the struggle and bloodshed during the fight for the country’s liberation from colonial rule. The black stripe is a symbol of the original people of the land. The bright orange is a symbol of Zambia’s wealth in copper which is the most important industry. The orange bird is an African Fish-eagle is a symbol of freedom, as well as a representation of the people’s ability to rise above whatever challenges that they may face as a nation.

The flag of Zambia was adopted on Otober 24, 1964

Good to know: By law, the Zambian flag can only be flown between sunrise and sunset, and on government-approved vessels and institutions.

Zimbabwe

Description: The Zimbabwean flag is characterised by many colours that represent the country’s difficult past and bright future. 

Meaning: The green stripes represent vegetation and agriculture. The yellow/gold represent the country’s rich mineral wealth. The red stripes represent the blood shed during the war of liberation and independence. The black represents the black majority in Zimbabwe, as a sense of pride and African identity. The white triangle represents peace. The Zimbabwe Bird represents the National Emblem.Finally, the red star represents the nation’s aspirations. 

The flag of Zimbabwe was adopted on April 18, 1980

Leave a Comment

You may also like

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. Accept Read More