Poll: Should The Old South African Flag Be Banned?

old south african flag

The flag on the right, the old South African flag, has been the subject of a lot of controversy since it was replaced in 1994.

The controversy usually seems to be stirred up at rugby matches where one or two spectators wave the old flag among a sea of people waving the new flag.

If the old flag is displayed at a prominent rugby match where it can also be seen on TV (like the recent Super 14 Final), the controversy is even bigger and politicians love to jump on the condemnation-wagon.

Until now, display of the flag was merely condemned, but after the recent incident at the Super 14 Final, there have been calls (by politicians) for the flag to be banned.

While banning the flag might not imply that it would be illegal to own the old flag, it would imply that it would be illegal to publicly display the old flag in South Africa.

Generally, those who support banning the flag say it is a symbol of oppression to them, and those who are against banning the flag say it was simply the flag that they grew up with.

The question now is:

Should the old South African flag be banned?

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Other than voting yes or no, also tell us what you think about this. (Keep in mind that this is a sensitive subject to many, so let’s keep it civil.)

 

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  • Well, I have left South Africa almost 10 years ago. I grew up with the old flag and in my heart and soul that will always be 'my flag'. I feel NO loyalty towards the new flag. Loyalty cannot be enforced … it is earned. I learned to repsect and love the old flag as a child and have a feeling of 'disconnection' from the new flag. We cannot ignore/deny the past of South Africa. Good and bad things happen in the history of a country. By banning the old flag, they wil NOT make people who loved and cherished the old flag, more loyal to the new flag. Let us not deny the past … live and let live … admit the old flag meant the world to many South Africans who grew up with it. By banning it, they will create a feeling to 'protect' it and people will 'fight' it more fiercely. I agree that South Africa had to change, but the WAY in which the change was implimented, is horrible. I am a proud American now (have dual citizenship) and go back to SA once a year. I sometimes want to cry if I see how neglected places are that have been and always will be, dear to South Africans who grew up there during the 'old era'.

    • I used to visit South Africa every year and as a young man I used to think how attractive the old South African flag was.But I could never understand why the British flag was included, as Britain started the Boer war. The british were traitors and bully to the Afrikaner people. i live in britain now for something like 30 years and was born and grew up in the former Rhodesia.
      Be proud to be part of the Afrikaner volk.
      Raymond.

  • Sure —then you MUST also ban the Union Jack and the The Durch flag (Parts of our old Flag) at the 2010 World Cup. The German Wehrmacht flag and the Confederate flag I guess is also NO-NO! Lets Ban the song – De Le Ray. Lets burn Books. You ban things when you are so insecure about your OWN shaky roots or have no sense of your own history — or you are a society that cannot read or write – let alone explain their flag to you. So you must take away from those of us who do have roots – a history and a culture. Richardscholtz@gmail.com – So Flame away….Charcoal needs a light.

  • Certainly an intresting topic!

    It is interesting that the old flag is ALWAYS associated with the Nationalist government's policy of apartheid when infact the flag was created long before APARTHEID was instituted.

    For many of us who have either fought or had family and friends killed in the two world wars and the bush wars in the late 70's and early 80's the old flag of South Africa represents our collective sacrifices for FREEDOM.

    And yet now in the supposedly FREE DEMOCRATIC South Africa the useless politicians want to BAN displaying the flag. Is this FREEDOM or just another communist ploy to take away basic and inalienable rights? Rights that come from God and not the government.

    The truth is if the present regime was not so useless in handling crime, if the present politicians were not so corrupt, if there were not the present malaise that the majority continually shows towards the minority then ALL South Africans would embrace the new flag while honoring the old.

    You are correct Marie."Loyalty cannot be enforced……it is earned"

  • Whenever this old flag pops up my memories of the far off land that I grew up in come alive. The best lessons in my life I learned under this old flag that guides and directs my path to this very day. It's the flag of our ancestors. It means a lot to us who grew up under it who have concluded that apartheid was wrong sometime or other in our lives. Those who wave it at Rugby games do so in remembrance of the old glory days. Let our old flag be.

  • A flag is a flag is a flag —- it is indeed a shame and a pity that the "New South Africa's regime" is afraid of the flag. They can burn it, ban it and use it for toilet paper – it will not take away our love for the old flag, what it represented and onse volk that fought and died – with pride – bearing the old flag. All I can say is – Ons vir jou Suid Afrika. The fact that I live in the USA does not detract from my love for the old flag or South Africa. I read and weep in silence at what destruction had been done in every nook and cranny of South Africa. I still have family in South AFrica who hold the flag dear and close to their hearts and we will do so until our dying day. Enough said.

  • I suppose since I started the poll, it's time that I weigh in too… 🙂

    As Fritz pointed out, the old flag was in use since long before Apartheid was ever instituted. The flag was adopted in 1928, a full 20 years before Apartheid started in 1948. So even though it was in use during Apartheid, it can't symbolize Apartheid because it came from a previous era. That's the historical side…

    As all of you pointed out, that flag holds some special meaning to many South Africans that has absolutely nothing to do with Apartheid. Many South Africans fought and died in World War 2 under that flag. Many of us have happy memories growing up in South Africa under that flag. Yes, many South Africans didn't have a good time under that flag, but many others did.

    The old flag is an indelible part of South Africa's history. To try and ban it, is to deny a part of South Africa's history, and that simply is not reality. Living in Texas, I often see the old Confederate flag. It isn't banned because it is part of US history.

    I like South Africa's new flag. I think it is a very nice design. Nevertheless, I am definitely against banning the old flag!

  • Hi John,

    As you know I am an American, with a fond interest in S. Africa. I personally thought that the old RSA flag was a good representative of the history of RSA. I also believe that so many have died for the old RSA flag, that to ban it would be an affront to those White and Black that fought under it.

    I live in Louisiana, and pass by Confederate flags daily. Our City Court house has one flown next to and below the American flag. My city is 60% black and the current mayor is black. We still fly the old Confederate flag for 2 reasons. The first, is to honor those who died for it, whether right or wrong. The second, because it is a part of our heritage and history.

    I have no stake at all in what happens to the Old RSA flag, but I personally think that both have a place and should be flown. No matter what you do, no one can change the past. You can only use it to make a better future. Like the United States, S.Africa's past is already written, and the future is yet to be.

  • Let's also not forget that it was under this great flag that Apartheid was officialy demolished, that allowed for the "freedom" as it stands today. I thought a democracy allowed for different points of view……guess I was wrong.

  • One might even say that those who wish to display the flag for whatever reason are being opressed in their own right.

  • driving through the former transkie a few months ago i saw the old flag tallest flag pole surrounded by huts. The story goes that the NATS cared more for them! anyway the old flag looked good

  • Personally, I feel that the flag shouldn’t be banned. I am NOT for oppression of peoples regardless of blood, but it’s a nice flag and has NOTHING to do with apartheid. I agree that the ANC politicians are terrible (imo, ANC is nor was it ever communist, socialist, or marxist since some of you guys think it is, and its a pity that CPSA works with them when it is only defeating its own purpose, if the CPSA was REALLY communist, it would NOT have worked with the ANC)

  • Echo, Well I left South Africa almost 6 years ago and never looked back, I miss the beauty, the culture the togetherness we once had, but all that is gone under this new government, people are ashamed to be South African, if you are white you are to afraid to speak, so you speak in fear, lucky I don't live there anymore. People talk about the sins of the past being linked to the old flag, well I see even more sins being linked to the new flag. I drive around with the old flag proudly on my car, I fly the old flag from my flagpole in the UK as remembrance to the country I have lost, to my friends who died defending what they believed in and to the sacrifices we made to keep our country strong.
    Now there is a new era, a new flag, and already a new South Africa linked to a new flag. I look at the next generation touting this new flag with no idea, expecting to be accepted as South African…you never are. Proud of what? The Crime? The Pollution? The wave of racism? You made your bed, now sleep in it, keep your new flag and I will always cherish the memories of my old flag.
    Ban my flag in South Africa, I care, it will just make more people fly the old flag…in your face!

  • I think the flag for many peoples stod for a lot bad things and unfair things. People might say its an evil flag. Now i did'nt personally liked the old regim! But though i must say its a really beautiful flag. But dont bann it. I think its belong to the past and its the history of South Africa. Im from sweden and we are very awere of our democratic rights. We are allowed to speak, think, do things freely. even if it is good or bad. We treat the minority equaly. If they bann the flag you're about to leave the democracy. The old regim are in minority, leave them. Let them also have some human rights.

  • How sad isn't it ? Just by reading all the comments, i can sense people decided to leave SA but are still hurt, now if you fight for a flag just imagine how the blacks had to fight for their lifes. In the past blacks didnt do anything "wrong" -but was just the wrong colour.

    The old flag will never be banned,but displaying it shows that treating people unfair is right. The old SA had the their wrong doings and NOW the NEW SA sees running a country is not a joke.

    And people cant act like toddlers throwing their toys out of the cot when they cant get what they want. I wonder what you guys teach your children. My children dont know you judge people by their colour – they look for all good qualities in people to cement friendships. I would love to go back,BUT i wont allow anybody to judge my kids, when they do not even know them.

    What I hate is when whites feel-wherever they go they are still the chosen ones, they dont want to wait,stand in line, demanding attention,when everybody else do not give a s…..t

    if you love the flag -go visit SA or go live there and display it where ever you go !!!!!
    ENJOY THE OLD SA FLAG IN THE COMFORT OF YOUR OWN SICK LIFE'S

    • "It is interesting that the old flag is ALWAYS associated with the Nationalist government's policy of apartheid when infact the flag was created long before APARTHEID was instituted.' You go ahead and enjoy your rainbow cloth – it means nothing, our old flag has a rich history. Maybe you should enjoy your pathetic "sick" life- GROW UP, HISTORY CAN'T BE ERASED – BUILD YOUR OWN FUTURE…

  • I GREW UP WITH THIS FLAG – IT IS MY HERITAGE AND HAS “MY” HISTORY – WHO MY ANCESTORS WERE ETC ETC – THEY CAN KEEP THE NEW FLAG AS IT DOES’NT SHOW ANY HISTORY – ITS JUST A COLOURFUL PIECE OF CLOTH – I WILL KEEP ON DISPLAYING IT (THE OLD FLAG) IN MY HOME

  • After the the killing of Eugene Terreblanche, why not take up the old flag? If you still live in SA you may be next. Support the old or the new. The killings have only got worse! What was better???????

  • THE FLAG SHOULD BE BANNED. TODAY IN SOUTH AFRICA WE HAVE A PROBLEM BECAUSE OF SOME OF THE ANC MEMBERS WHO ARE SINGING THE OLD SONGS OF STRUGGLE. THOSE SONGS ARE THE WAY IN WHICH WE REMIND OURSELVES WHERE WE COME FROM AND THE FLAG IS A SYMBOL OF OPPRESSION TO ME

    • All that i can say is the 3rd Anglo Boer war is coming remember Seer van Rensburg go read his books watch the prophecies come true

  • democracy indeed allowed for different views aven singing tge songs of struggle. i dont understanding how people think because people were re4cently crying for the songs sang by the youth league president and now after the death of terreblanche there are people who are raising the old flag of s.a. If thats how you people reminds yourselves of your forefathers who oppressed our(blacks)forefathers then you reminding us of the slvery days. The flag should be banned now we have a new flag in the new s.a which is the rainbow colours

  • though not beeing a south african, I've been to SA many times in the 90s.. and so I still feel attached to the oranje-blanje-blou..

  • I grew up in South Africa and associate the old flag with my country. The old flag has prestige while the new one is ugly and looks similar to so many other flags, just with other colours. Changing the flag has not helped to change the country. There is more crime than ever and the present government is going to ruin what was a wonderful country in which to grow up. I live in Canada and miss South Africa very, very much! I also love the old anthem – "Die Stem" while the new one is not tuneful and and hard to pronounce properly. I hope South Africa never changes its name because I will certainly never call it by any other name.

  • As horrifying as Apartheid was (I myself visited some of the "Black Homelands" and was harassed by BOSS a few times, and I by no possibility got anywhere near the worst of it), it is generally a mistake to circumscribe any given symbol, no matter the circumstances save for briefly in a time of war. By focusing laws on symbols rather than on people- who are the only ones who can stand trial for their actions- one makes the same mistake many in Europe have made in believing Neo-Nazis would all be crushed if they just banned the Hakenkruz. Which turned out to be not the case: like viruses, the Neo-Nazis just evolved and adapted to survive by changing their symbols and rhetoric more quickly than the shakey legal bureaucracy could ever keep up. This would doubtless wind up the same.

  • And besides, iif you criminalize this flag, where do you stop? Hate speech laws and the like are a very slippery slope that even the most well intended force a democracy into walking a careful tightrope on the issue. Nobody is that sad when Neo-Nazi scum are criminalized, but when they are criminalized for things like showing a given symbol, what would stop the government from potentially expanding it to criminal anything else? Only well-intenioned people. Who are not always the ones in power. And since any and every free nation and especially its citizens must guard for the possibility that an unscrupulous power could one day be voted in and thus the balances of power and the sanctity of legal rights must be shored up, it is generally not worth the risk to dangle over that slippery slope, regardless of the quality of one's rope or one's skill in balancing.

  • In addition, I must note that the flag is not merely a symbol of apartheid in the same vein as the Nazi one was. For one, the white supremacists this ban is supposed to target often hate it due to "Boer pride" and its association with Britain, while Blacks and others who support closer ties with the Commonwealth often do carry it or various "purified" variations (which again brings upon the question of where would this ban legally stop). To say nothing of the fact that several Blacks died honorably in combat as volunteers under this flag in WWII and the Korean War, the former before the advent of apartheid at all and the latter when it was slightly worse than the American South's Jim Crow Laws.

  • This is not a defense of Apartheid nor several of the parties that fly this flag, nor a condemnation of those who suffered and often perished under the jackboot of oppression. To those people, their trauma and suffering can never be fully repaid, nor can the pain they endured be scratched from the history books. But this is a defense of one of the fundamentals of a free society: Freedom of Speech, The best safeguard for South African liberty is not fighting flags as the Europeans have done but confronting and discrediting the very ideas behind them. And as one Holocaust Survivor (a Romanian Freemason) told me when supporting the legality of the Swastika, "It always helps when your enemies show their allegience openly without codes or camoflague."

  • And, finally, to quote a Holocaust survivor (a Romanian Orthodox Christian of German and Russian descent) when he spoke in favor of the continued legalization of the Swastika, "It always helps when your enemy display their allegiences in the open without camoflague or codes." And so there is even a benefit to allowly the continued usage of racist symbology even more unambiguously vile than the old flag.

    In short, attempting to sanitize the public sphere of "improper" or "hateful" insignea like the Europeans have tried to and the proposition to ban the flag would is both ineffective and rather counterproductive. This is not a defense of the crimes of Apartheid, only my opinion on how South Africa can continue on the road to leaving the events of those terrible years behind it.

  • I fly the old flag when I display my South African Land Rover Series III LWB in the UK where permitted as this is the correct flag for the era it was built (1971) , I don't believe banning it would stop people from remembering the history from 1928 till 1994 and respecting the flag that there forefathers served under, you cannot change history by banning a flag and the world would be a different place without all the then commonwealth soldiers sacrifices during World War 2 and conflicts after that.

  • I am in England and a zulu dancer told me the main problem in SA wasn’t the Afrikaners but the Xhosa but I didn’t really understand.

  • greetings to everyone, i am fineartist doing research on the old and new South African flag anyway i just want to ask before Afrikaans or Dutch speaking came down to South African, were there any flags flaying around? as for me this fume about this flag that flag hold no grounds in this country according to me because be the Dutch speaking people. The was no flag to be associated with the history of the Land or the Country thats just my view, other than that, its stupid to fight each other as humen beings cause we made from dust that simply means we recycled- Grace and peace.

  • i was born in 1990 and yeh the old flag hans proudly in my room so the old flag meens alot to me and the people who wants to ban the old flag has nothing better to do so i ask you let it be and leave our flag alone

  • Its ironic to notice that most of the comments come from people who do not live in South Africa anymore. I do and I am proud of my country, good and bad. There's not a country out there that does not have that in some degree. The old flag should stay and comfort those few who honour it and the new flag, which I love, should also be flown high. I am making a difference in my country. Stay where you are because you dont.

    • Deserona, since this website is titled "South Africans in Austin", it just might suggest that many of its visitors do not live in South Africa anymore. To me it's not ironic at all… it's completely expected. Your last sentence also seems to say that you have a problem with expats. You may enjoy this article: https://www.sa-austin.com/blog/2010/12/the-expat-h

      I agree with you about the old and new flag.

  • I think while alot of us(whites) see no problem with the old flag – we need to understand that 90% of the previously oppressed population feels that is a symbol of oppression – and rightly so – I understand there point of view – so – as a white south african – i would support a ban of public display of the flag.

    The fact is it does offend some people, so many we can show some respect by not waving it around.

  • Some ANC honchos and their supporters dont see a problem with singing struggle songs, so I dont see a problem waving an old flag. These songs are offensive to 90% of the the current generation of minorities and create more of an intimidation factor than waving a flag from almost 20 years ago.

    Understanding points of view swing both ways, and it seems the current regime is looking for any excuse to lay racism claims. Why should I feel guilty, as some do, for growing up under circumstances? To me, at least the old government delivered more than the current terrorists in power have ever done.

  • Yes it is the flag that I grew up with. But I can’t help feeling like I want to walk up to people here in Auckland, New Zealand, who have the old flag as a sticker on the back of their car, and say: “Hey man, catch a wake-up and look at where you are and the times you’re living in.” There is no place for sentiment if we are to move with the times. Sure, it’s part of history; let’s remember it, but let’s move on and build a society where all people are treated fairly and equally instead of getting maudlin over a symbol of 40 years of Nationalist rule.

  • Someone made an interesting short Youtube video about the South African flags – old & new. Also, the concept of flying the old flag upside down, as a sign of distress iw brought in, which I think is an interesting idea, with all that has happened to

    so many of the people who identify with the old flag since.

    Please see:

    South African flags – old & new
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huU5cJvbzjM

    Peace be upon and within you.

  • Ek is nie 'n Afrikaner of Zuid-Afrikaanse, maar ek daar gewoon het as 'n kind.

    Old Flag = Apartheid = Very low crime, order, national pride, protection of person and property. recognition of personal contribution to the state. Control of immigration.

    New Flag = Democracy = High crime, gang wars, mass unemployment, political unrest, political corruption, mass illegal immigration, drug use epidemic.

    People associate the Old ZA flag with Eugene Terreblanche and his movement, but they marched and protested under a red, black & white nazi like flag and not the old ZA flag. Many people will always feel a loyalty to this flag and many died for it. In a democracy they should be allowed to fly it.

    The old flag represents a proud history and even though I am not South African I spent some of my childhood there in the 70's and I will never forget the love I had for the country and it's flag. (And I fly it at home in the UK)

  • I agree with some of what Antonio says. the swastika, the confederate flag, and the old south african and rhodesian flags mean such terrible and despicable things to so many people that if you fly it, you you should expect a very large number of people to consider you racist, and oppressive, and to despise you for it. NO matter what you feel about the flag, or what your reason is for flying it, it still represents oppression, and racism , and you will wear that label along with it.

    If i see an old south african flag at a football match, i think," there sit the racists."

    dont ban it, fly it if you want, but be prepared to take the heat, and be identified as a racist oppressor if you do.

  • The old south African Flag has nothing to do with Apartheid, What it did signify was history of colonisation. If the banning of such things as flags were introduced because some idiot decided that they should be on the grounds that they represent a bad time in history then all flags in the world would have to be banned using the same principle because all countries have had their fair share of periods with dark history.
    I fly a the old flag with pride in the UK after spending 25 years there and if they ever do ban it there, they cannot ban it here or any other country. The current South African politicians in government are like little children that have taken a once self sufficient , prosperous, rich country that had law and order, employment for everyone and turned it into a third world living on handouts country much like the rest of Africa where majority rule has destroyed everything that was once achieved..

  • on a final note, The real meaning of the old South African Flag. The old South African flag was actually four flags, and the incorporated flags were themselves made of several flags.
    The background was three stripes of orange, white and blue. This is a reference to the Dutch flag, and the House of Orange, a major merchant house which played a big part in the colonisation of the Cape. Within the central white stripe are three smaller flags arranged together. The Union Jack, of the UK, the Vierkleur of the Transvaal Republic and the flag of the Orange Free State.
    The Union Jack is the flags of St Andrew – white diagonal cross on blue, St George – red cross on white and St Patrick – red diagonal cross on white.
    The Vierkleur (Four-Colour) of the Transvaal is a red white and blue flag, identical to the Dutch flag, with a vertical green strip at the flagpole side.
    😀

  • Of course not. It is a part of our wonderful history. Yes, I said "wonderful-" That Flag was designed long before Apartheid was every introduced –and the 4 Flags of it's different periods reveal it's short but interesting history or people mainly from Holland and Britain, and then immigrants from Italy, Greece, etc., along with its indigenous African population is what that Flag represents; NOT racism or anything stupid like so many morons OUTSIDE of SA are saying.

    Please, in a Democracy, nothing is banned. Or outlawed. It's a part of our history–Keep that Flag.

    In fact, I sort of like the new one, but feel nothing for it. It's not my flag; this one is.

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