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Bophutatswana (South African homeland)

Last modified: 2005-02-06 by
Keywords: south africa | homeland | bophutatswana | leopard's face | bop |
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[Bophutatswana] by Mark Sensen See also:

Bophuthatswana - introduction

Within the "old" South Africa, 10 homelands were created, four of which were granted "independence" by South Africa (not recognised by any other country in the world).  Bophuthatswana was one of the four so-called "independent" homelands having been granted independence by South Africa on 06 December 1977. All the former South African Homelands/bantustans ceased to exist as political entities on 27 April 1994. They have all (including the former so called independent Homelands) been reincorporated into South Africa.
The flags of the former Homelands are no longer in use (either officially or unofficially).
Bruce Berry, 25 April 1996

Bophuthatswana was a relatively large territory, vastely dispersed across the central to western Transvaal and into the north-eastern Cape Province (today's northwestern-most Mpumalanga and North-West Province). Six main parts, three of which, smaller, in Transvaal (with the easternmost one briefly bordering KwaNdebele), and two other (one of which quite large) in the Cape Province; the sixth, very uncompact shaped unlike the others, stretching between the two provinces and extensively bordering Botswana.
Antonio Martins, 30 May 1999

There was a portion of Bophuthatswana in Orange Free State at Thaba Nchu - about 50 km east of Bloemfontein (today in the Free State province).
Bruce Berry, 31 May 1999


Bophuthatswana flag

The design of the flag of Bophuthatswana was originally set out in section 2 of the Boputhatswana Flag Act of 1972, which reads as follows:
"The Bophuthatswana flag shall be Azure with a bar sinister Tenne, in Dexter chief a roundel Argent charged with a leopard's face Sable pied Argent.
The width of the flag shall be equal to two-thirds of its length.
The width of the bar shall be one-twelfth of the length of the flag.
The diameter of the roundel shall be one-quarter of the length of the flag".
The blue symbolises the infinity of the sky and the striving for progress and development. The orange bar refers to the golden path which must be taken by the Tswana people in order to bring this development to fruition. The leopard's face is symbolic of the authority necessary to lead the people to the development of their potential. Leopards are traditional symbols of authority for the Tswana people.
The flag was taken into use on 19 April 1973 after the homeland achieved internal self-government on 1 June 1972.
The flag remained unchanged when the homeland became "independent" on 6 December 1977 and a description of this flag was incorporated into section 2 of the Republic of Boputhatswana Constitution Act.
Bophuthatswana was re-incorporated into South Africa on 27 April 1994 and ceased to exist as a separate political entity and the flag is no longer in use.
Bruce Berry, 1 Dec 1998

In the Bophutatswana flags the leopard's head seems to be the one really used. Perhaps it was taken from the first design adopted by the Legislative Assembly in 19 April 1972, that was red over green horizontal with white circle in center and within it a leopard's head and rejected November 1973 when the well know flag was adopted.
Jaume Ollé, 12 Apr 2001

Bophuthatswana CoA can be seen on Mike Oettle's pages. (ed.)


Flag variant

[Bophutatswana other flag] by António Martins-Tuválkin, 9 Aug 2001

Here is another one from the South African government page - the diagonal red stripe is narrower and the leopard's head is more realistic.
Jarig Bakker, 13 Apr 2001


Car flag

According to Flaggenmitteilung 102 there is a distinctive car-flag: black flag bordered yellow, with a white circle in centre containing the arms.
Jaume Ollé, 12 Apr 2001

Presidential flag

Flaggenmitteilung 102 also mentions an orange presidential flag with narrow border of blue and white stripes in four sides, with arms in center.
Jaume Ollé, 12 Apr 2001

Bophuthatswana Police

Bophuthatswana Police flag registered with the South African Bureau of Heraldry on 20 February 1984 with the following description:
A rectangular flag, proportions three by two, consisting of two horizontal bands of equal width, maroon over green, charged in the centre with the badge of the Bophuthatswana Police (to wit: a facetted nine-pointed star Or, charged with an annulet Murry bearing the name BOPHUTHATSWANA POLICE in letters Or, there-within on a plate the arms of the Republic of Bophuthatswana, proper).
Source: Data of the Bureau of Heraldry on registered heraldic representations.
Mark Sensen, 19 May 2002

Bophuthatswana Internal Intelligence Service

Bophuthatswana Internal Intelligence Service flag registered with the South African Bureau of Heraldry on 19 April 1985 with the following description:
On a blue flag, proportions three by two, an old gold pile reversed charged with a ratel statant proper, in the canton a demi-leopard gardant also proper, holding in its forepaws a gold Tswana battle-axe erect.
Source: Data of the Bureau of Heraldry on registered heraldic representations.
Mark Sensen, 19 May 2002
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