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Vexillopedia

Flag of Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe
Ratio 1:2
Adoption 1980
Design Seven horizontal stripes of green, yellow, red, black, red, yellow and green with a black-edged white isosceles triangle base on the hoist side bearing a Zimbabwe bird superimposed on a red five-pointed star. [0]
Colors
#319208
#FFD200
#DE2010
#000000
#FFFFFF

History

The country now known as Zimbabwe was formally known as Southern Rhodesia from 1895 to 1980—the name Rhodesia was locally used from 1964 to June 1979, and Zimbabwe Rhodesia was thereafter in use until December 1979. Southern Rhodesia achieved responsible government in 1923, and thereby became a self-governing colony of Britain following three decades of rule by the British South Africa Company. It concurrently adopted its first flag: following standard British colonial practice, it was a Blue Ensign, defaced with the shield from the Southern Rhodesian coat of arms. This basic design remained until 1968 although a light blue ensign was introduced in April in 1964. On 11 November 1968, three years after the mostly white government unilaterally declared independence from Britain, a national flag based on a completely new design was adopted. This was a green-white-green vertical triband, charged centrally with the national coat of arms. This was the first national flag to contain the Zimbabwe Bird, which had been present in the coat of arms since 1924.

In 1979, when the country reconstituted itself as Zimbabwe Rhodesia following the Internal Settlement between the government and moderate black nationalists, a new flag was adopted to mark the transition. The flag of Zimbabwe Rhodesia was designed by Flight Lieutenant Cedric Herbert of the Rhodesian Air Force and a member of the Rhodesian Heraldry and Genealogy Society. The design incorporated the pan-African colours of yellow, black, green and red; the black stripe symbolised majority rule in the country and the red stood for the struggle to achieve this. The yellow and green respectively represented the nation's mineral wealth and its agricultural and natural resources. The thin vertical white stripe represented the white minority while the central horizontal white stripe represented peace.

This flag was superseded in December 1979, when Britain took interim control of the country following the Lancaster House Agreement, which ended the Rhodesian Bush War. The British Union Jack was used as the official flag of the country while fresh elections were held in early 1980, and at midnight between 17 and 18 April 1980, the country was granted independence by Britain under the name Zimbabwe. A new flag was concurrently adopted, the draft for which was handed to Minister of Public Works Richard Hove by an unspecified designer. It initially did not have the Zimbabwe Bird included in it; Cedric Herbert added it in later on. The final draft (the flag as it is now) went through the approval of the then-Prime Minister-elect Robert Mugabe. The adoption of the new flag coincided with the swearing-in of Canaan Banana as the country's new president. The Zimbabwe Bird, used on every flag since 1968, is based on a bird statue discovered from the ancient ruined city of Great Zimbabwe in the country's south-east. [0]

Meaning

Officially, the colours of the flag of Zimbabwe carry political, regional, and cultural meanings. Green represents the agriculture and rural areas of Zimbabwe. Yellow stands for the wealth of minerals in the country, predominantly gold. The red symbolises the blood shed during the first and second Chimurenga (wars) in the "struggle for independence". The black indicates the heritage, race, ethnicity and community of the Shona citizens of Zimbabwe, where the president has given many vocal speeches saying white citizens are not welcome.

The white triangle is a symbol for peace. The golden bird, known as the "Great Zimbabwe Bird" is the national symbol of Zimbabwe. A representation of most likely the bateleur eagle or the African fish eagle, it "exemplifies the strong bond that ancestral humans had with animals, nature and spirit guides" and it is treated with a high level of importance and respect. The red star represents Marxism as promoted by ZANU-PF, the ruling party of Zimbabwe, which has strong links to both North Korea and China, whose party flag was the basis for the flag of the nation. [0]