The national flag of Botswana consists of a light blue banner which is cut horizontally in the center by a black stripe that has a thin white outline. The flag is unique for an African flag because it does not use any Pan-African colors (red, yellow, green) and also the colors of the flag do not have any political connotations. This flag was officially adopted on 30 September 1966, the same day that the country gained her formal independence from Britain.

What Do the Flag's Colors and Symbols Mean?

The colors within the flag of Botswana are representative of cultural, regional, and political affiliations in the country. The light blue field represents rainwater, a most precious resource in the country due to frequent droughts. The color blue also has a similar meaning within the motto on the Coat of Arms of Botswana. The black band with the white frame represents the racial diversity and harmony between the people of different races who live in the nation. This stripe also represents the national animal, the zebra.

Who Designed the Flag?

The current flag was explicitly designed to contrast the flag of South Africa, a neighboring country under an oppressive apartheid regime. The black stripe with white framing epitomises the racial diversity and equality in Botswana between Africans and Europeans, something not present in South Africa at the time. Legislation on Botswana emblems and the specific design and colour of the flag was passed during 1966 in the National Assembly, located in Gaborone.

What Have Historical Versions of the Flag Looked Like?

Before the country gained independence in 1966, there was no national flag, and the nation used the flag of the United Kingdom as the de facto banner. The coat of arms of Botswana was adopted in January of 1966 and is another accepted national symbol. The shield also contains three blue waves and the head of a cattle, symbolizing water and farming. The motto "Pula", is associated with the good luck and life that rain brings. The zebra on the right-hand side holds an ear of sorghum which is an essential crop in the nation.

This page was last modified on March 14th, 2018