South Africa (naval ensign), 1951-1952
As if the apartheid-era flag didn’t have enough flags on it already! In 1951 a new South African naval ensign was created by placing a smaller tricolour within the top stripe of the existing national tricolour. On the smaller white stripe was the red lion crest from the former coat of arms, holding four bound staves for the four original provinces.
Neither heralds nor naval types had any love for the flag, so it was replaced the next year by a white ensign with a green cross. That cross remains on the naval ensign to this day.
(designer: Commodore Frederick Dean)
So here’s a curious little flag from some obscure corner of the internet. It’s purported to be the flag of Seychellois people living in the European Union. I guess the Cross of Lorraine and fleur-de-lis represent the French heritage of the islands, but why in god’s name is it based on the South African flag? I have no idea if this flag has ever existed in the real world, but it sure is weird.
The name of this former Bantustan (which somewhat ironically translates to “whiter than white”) comes from the white sandstone cliffs in the region. Its flag is decidedly not white. In fact, it has a rather dark green-orange-black colour scheme.
Use 2–3 Basic Colours: that is limit of the number of colors on the flag to three, which contrast well and come from the standard color set.
Not altogether sure I personally agree with this one. While some colour schemes can be done to make the flag look a mess, especially some local and county flags - whereas one of my favourite flags, the flag of The Seychelles, manages to incorporate five colours and still make it look classy.
I agree that this is probably the shakiest of the canonical flag design rules. The flags of Namibia and Comoros look great with their five colours, while the flag of South Africa (my vote for the world’s best flag) and the rainbow flag look even better with six.
It began as a way to pass the time in Tripoli, a challenge to learn all the flags of Africa. It has travelled with me everywhere I’ve been since. And now, at long last, it is approaching completion. When it’s finished, it will be by far and away the best thing I’ve ever made. It will be a blanket big enough for two. I’m sure it will be unique. Who else has ever made a crocheted Africa-shape formed of its flags and surrounded by the sea?