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Last modified: 2004-12-22 by
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[Mali 1961 flag]  2:3 | stripes 1+1+1 |
by António Martins, 23 April 1999
Current flag adopted 1 March 1961, coat of arms adopted 1 March 1961.

Meaning of the Flag

An inquiry to the Mali Embassy in Washington, D.C. elicited the response that the colours for the Mali Flag have the following meanings:
- Green: Nature/Agriculture
- Yellow: Wealth (Gold)
- Red: Sacrifice made by our forefathers for independence.

Ray Ferster, 1 November 2000

History of the flag

The first flag of Mali was adopted on 4 April, 1959, when French Sudan and Senegal formed the Mali Federation. This federation became independent on 20 June, 1960. Senegal seceded on 22 August, 1960, and replaced the kanaga by a green star. Mali continued to use the tricolour with the kanaga, but abolished the black kanaga on 1 March, 1961, and has used the plain tricolour in pan-African colours since then.

Mark Sensen, 8 April 1996

1959-1960 flag

[Mali 1959 flag]
by Mark Sensen
[Mali 1959 flag]
by Zeljo Heimer based on [zna99]

The 'kanaga' symbol was used on the first Mali flag, until it was abolished on 1 March, 1961. It is a black human-like image and was removed because of pressure from Muslims who do not approve of making images of the human shape.

Željko Heimer, 6 April 1996

It is said that the kanaga symbol was included in the Federation flag on initiative by Léopold Sédar Senghor, later president of Senegal (1960-1980).

Željko Heimer, 19 November 2000

Znamierowski shows the symbols with rounded edges while most other sources show the stright edged symbol, but with something as unregulated the 'kanaga' was, there is actually hard to talk about a right and wrong way of illustrating it.

edited from Martin Grieve, Christopher Southworth and Ivan Sache, 12 October 2003

The flag in the national anthem

The Malian national anthem makes specific reference to the flag in its refrain:

Pour l'Afrique et pour toi Mali
Notre drapeau sera liberté
Pour l'Afrique et pour toi Mali
Notre combat sera unité
Ô Mali aujourd'hui
Ô Mali de demain
Les champs fleurissent d'espérance
Les coeurs vibrent de confiance.

My translation:

For Africa and for you, Mali
Our flag shall be liberty
For Africa and for you, Mali
Our fight shall be unity
O Mali today
O Mali tomorrow
The fields are blooming into hope
The hearts are vibrant with confidence.

Source: Mali Embassy in USA

Ivan Sache, 21 February 2001

Coat of arms

[Mali coat of arms]  by Santiago Tazon

The coat of arms of the Third Republic of Mali.

And this is the motto: "Un peuple, un but, une foi" ("One people, one goal, one faith")

According to the Mali Embassy.

Santiago Tazon, 1 May 2002

Aircraft Marking

Roundel of green-yellow-red according to Album 2000. Cochrane and Elliot (1998) gives it as red-yellow-green roundel. Which of the two is right? Cochrane and Elliot (1998) mentioned that the fin striping (presumably same as the flag) was "recently" replaced with a circular device on the fin equal in design to the roundel (red-yellow-green).

Željko Heimer, 31 May 2002

The source for the Album 2000 report is a newspaper photograph, dated 1999.

Armand du Payrat, 31 May 2002

I have a few books from the mid 80s with a/c markings. One shows Mali with the 'reverse' roundel the same as Album 2000. ( with the national flag as a fin flash ). Perhaps we can assume Cochrane and Elliot (1998) reversed its colors.

Dean McGee, 1 June 2002