Last modified: 2008-03-22 by bruce berry
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on the flag correspond to those on the national coat of arms.
The blue represents water (the motto on the national arms is
The blue colour a symbol of
rain, how lovely!
I returned today after ten
The colour shade for the
blue used on the national flag is being discussed by the Cabinet. There
has been a problem with standardisation and so flags with various shades of
blue (from different manufacturers) are seen and the government wants to change
this. As soon as I get the confirmed details, I will share them with you.
Bruce Berry, 10 May 2001
I just came across the following account of the origins of the Botswana flag and coat of arms in George Winstanley’s book, Under Two Flags in Africa: Recollections of a British Administrator in the Bechuanaland Protectorate and Botswana 1954 to 1972 (Colchester: Blackwater Books, 2000). George Winstanley arrived in the Bechuanaland Protectorate in1954. After being a District Administrator at several stations, he was transferred to Headquarters in 1962. He was a Clerk to the Legislative and Executive Councils and later Clerk to the Cabinet where he worked closely with Sir Seretse Khama where he helped to organise the first general election in 1965 and the second in 1969. On his retirement in 1972 he was Permanent Secretary for Agriculture.
Regarding the Botswana
flag, he states:
"...But I became much involved in selecting a national anthem and in the design of the coat of arms and the flag... It was decided to hold competitions for all three to try and involve the population at large. I issued the necessary notices and received several entries for each category...” (p.235). "The entries received in the flag competition were hopeless so I designed the flag myself. I wanted to make it easy to draw hence the all the straight horizontal lines. The blue background of the flag represents water – vital to the country's agriculture - and the black central strip bordered with two white strips represents racial harmony" (p.236).
Regarding the coat of arms:
"The coat of arms proved more difficult. We received two good entries, one from Lady Fawcus (spouse of Sir Robert Peter Fawcus, HM Commissioner between 1963 and 1965) and one form Lady England (spouse of the then Director of Agriculture). However, the Cabinet decided that neither was suitable as it stood and asked me to arrange for the best in both to be combined. My wife made the sketch as directed and after Cabinet approval this was submitted to the College of Heralds in the UK who made more alterations and produced a final design. The two zebra symbolise the abundant wildlife in the country as well as alluding to black/white co-operation, the ivory tusk also refers to the wildlife, the ox head and the stalk of sorghum refer to agricultural resources, the interlocking cogwheels suggest the mineral potential and the wavy blue lines emphasise the importance of water in an arid country such as Botswana. The supporting word "PULA" - the Setswana word for 'rain' - suggests happiness and optimism" (p.236).
Gerald Noeske, 11 Sept 2004
PART I Blazon of the Arms or Ensigns Armorial of
Argent three barrulets wavy
in fesse azure between in chief three cog-wheels, one above engaged with two
below and in base a bull's head caboshed proper, and for the supporters on
either side a zebra the dexter supporting an elephant's tusk the sinister a
stalk of sorghum proper. Motto "
PART II Design of the
National Flag of
Five horizontal stripes
having colour and width as follows, that is to say taken from the top:
1st Stripe - azure blue having a width equal to 9/24ths of the total depth of the flag.
2nd Stripe - white having a width equal to 1/24th of such depth.
3rd Stripe - black having a width equal to 4/24ths of such depth.
4th Stripe - white having a width equal to 1/24th of such depth.
5th Stripe - azure blue having a width equal to 9/24ths of such depth.
PART III Design of
the Standard of the President of
An azure blue flag with a
black circular disk (having a diameter equal to 12/24ths of the depth of the
flag) superimposed on the centre of the flag, a white circular disk (having a
diameter equal to 10/24ths of the depth of the flag) superimposed on the centre
of the black disk and the coat of arms superimposed on the white disk.
This agrees with what I
posted recently based on Album 2000 information. However, I drew the white disk
on presidential flag sized 11/24 (as I had no numbers there).
image by Željko Heimer, 18 Mar 2001
The construction sheet is
provided along the edges of the figure so (9+1+4+1+9):36. The image at FOTW
agrees with this, either Mark Sensen was aware of this data or he had a good
Who was "El Negro
Ca. 1830, two French adventurers-naturalists living in Cape Town, Jules and Edouard Verreaux, unearthed the corpse of a tribal chief shortly after his funeral and stuffed it using taxidermy methods. In 1888, the Catalan veterinarian Francisco Darder, then curator of the zoo of Barcelona, bought the stuffed corpse, known as "the Bechuana", and exhibited it later in the Darder Museum he founded in 1916 in Banyoles (province of Gerona) to display his naturalist's collections. "El Negro" became a source of fascination and legends for the inhabitants of the city.
In 1991, the physician Alphonse Arcelin, of Haitian origin, asked the municipality to remove the corpse from the Museum. The corpse was removed from the Museum during the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games to avoid a risk of boycott by African countries.
In 1996, the Spanish government decided to avoid an international crisis and asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to find a solution. Since the warrior had lived in
In September 2000, the corpse was removed one night from the Museum and sent to
Botswana offers but one example of an actual Flag on
Stamp, namely the commemorative issue for the tenth anniversary of the
University of Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland; this features the flags of all
three of the countries (I believe that the university has subsequently split
into its component parts, but I may be wrong on
this). There are a few issues which show the Botswana state arms, and while
these are not specifically flag related I have included them for the benefit of
those of us who might be interested in political or state heraldry; these issues
are identified with an (H) after the topic.
NUMBER SUBJECT DATE TOPIC
241 Human Rights Year 1968 Arms of Botswana & Human Rights Emblem (H)
242/43 " " As above, but with different arrangements and positioning of symbols
284 Fifth Anniversary 1971 Arms & map of Botswana (H) of independence
317 Tenth Anniversary 1974 Map & flags of the three of University of countries Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland.
Ron Lahav, 28 Jun 2005