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Cape Town (South Africa)

Western Cape Province

Last modified: 2004-04-17 by
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[Cape Town flag] by Jorge Candeias, 11 Apr 2001

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Cape Town flag

It seems that the modernization arrived to South African flags too. Flag of Cape Town is from this site.
Dov Gutterman, 26 Mar 1999

You have a flag of that ghastly squiggle logo that represents Table Mountain. I saw two examples of different squiggles (both representing the mountain) when I was down in Cape Town about 2 years ago. I saw neither on a flag - both were on boardings. One of the two logos was for the Greater Cape Town Metropolitan Council (covering the entire Cape Peninsula except for the nature reserve at the southern tip, the Cape Flats, Somerset West, Strand, Gordon's Bay, the Tygerberg area and the areas on the north shore of Table Bay) and the other for the Cape Town Municipality (a sub-metropolitan regional council covering the so-called City Bowl, the southern suburbs near the mountain down as far as Wynberg, and the Atlantic seaboard, I think including Hout Bay).
I can't recall which logo was which - the drawbacks of trendy design!
But my reason for writing is that in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s there was a navy blue or royal blue flag bearing the arms of Cape Town: a gold shield bearing an anchor, with a red inescutcheon bearing three annulets. I couldn't quote you the dimensions off-hand, but it was regularly flown at municipal congresses. The Coat of Arms can be found on this site.
Mike Oettle, 18 Dec 2001

Mike Oettle is correct.  The old flag of the City of Cape Town had a blue field in the centre of which was the municipal arms.
The shield of the municipal arms was originally granted as part of a seal by the then Commissioner-General in June 1804 under authority from the Batavian Government.  It was only in February 1899 that the full arms were granted under Letters Patent from the College of Arms in London following the addition of a crest, mantling and supporters.  These were registered, unchanged, by the South African Bureau of Heraldry on 16 January 1972 and are described as follows:
ARMS: Or, an anchor erect Sable, stock proper, from the ring a riband flowing Azure and suspended therefrom am escutcheon Gules charged with three annulets Or
CREST: On the battlements of a tower proper, a trident in bend Or, surmounted by an anchor and cable in bend sinister, Sable
SUPPORTERS: On a compartment below the shield consisting of rocky mounds, dexter, a female figure proper vested Argent, mantle and sandals Azure, on her head an estoile irradiated Or, supporting with her dexter hand an anchor proper; sinister, a lion rampant guardant Gules

It was some years after the granting of the arms by the College of Arms that the City Council also adopted a municipal flag that had a blue field with the original arms (seal), as granted by Commissioner-General De Mist, in the centre. (There is an illustration of this flag in Lions and Virgins by Dr. C Pama). This flag was used until a new flag was adopted by the new Cape Town Metropolitan Council following the re-organisation of local government in South Africa in 1997.  With the introduction of the new flag, Cape Town is unique in South Africa in that no new arms have yet been adopted although those described above are no longer used.

The new flag for the Cape Metropolitan Council was adopted in 1996.  This flag was designed by a graphic artist and has the Council emblem in the centre of a white field.  The emblem is in the form of a stylised table mountain with an outline of a map of the Cape Metro area below.  The colours of the badge blend from dark green, lighter green, white through to purple and green.  Six purple horizontal lines bisect the lower half of the badge. This flag has not been registered with the Bureau of Heraldry.

The City of Cape Town has also adopted a new flag to replace that described earlier.  The new flag has a stylised image of Table Mountain in white on a background of blue in the top left half and green on the top right hand corners.  Below the Table Mountain image is a yellow "paint brush" horizontal stripe under which is a red stripe at the bottom of the flag.  Like the flag of the Cape Metropolitan Council, the flag was designed by a graphic artist.   Uniquely in Southern Africa, the flag is the now main symbol used by the municipality since no new arms for the city have yet been adopted.  Like the flag of the Cape Town Metropolitan Council, this flag has also not been registered with the Bureau of Heraldry.
Bruce Berry, 20 Dec 2001

Old Cape Town banner

[Old Cape Town banner] image sent by Mike Oettle, 7 Oct 2002

Going through some old papers I came across a clipping from the front page of  The Argus newspaper in Cape Town, dated 24 April 1975. The attached image reduces the colour photograph to something like a 17th-century Dutch painting, I think, but the essential flag elements the main banner and the trumpet and drum banners can be made out clearly. (Were drum banners used in former times? It seems out of place.)

The caption reads:
WITH THE AUTUMNAL SUN glinting on the City Hall portals, four men in colourful period costume set off on a march through the city's streets carrying the Cape Town Festival armorial bearings. This daily Festival ritual starts at 9 am. Helmut Otto (standard bearer), Peter Hamblin (drummer), Rainie Strydom (trumpeter on left) and Graham Coote (trumpeter) descend the City Hall steps.
The banner was specially devised for the festival of that year and was also hung from street poles. It takes the lion supporter from the city arms and makes it a banner bearer within the banner; the small banner being the contents of the shield in the arms granted to the city in 1899 by the College of Arms. (See http://uk.geocitie
I don't yet have an image of the flag used by Cape Town in that period, but it was principally blue, and if I recall correctly it had a shield of the arms offset to the hoist. The blue in the city flag was darker than the blue this banner, though.
The lion's tongue is a much paler blue, and the claws, which in the armorial achievement should also be blue, are shown as white, no doubt because of the blue background behind the red lion, a clear breach of the colour rule. The edging is in black and yellow the black taken from the colour of the anchor. The anchor was the common feature (as a single supporter) in the civic arms granted in 1804 by Commissioner-General Jacob Abraham Uitenhage de Mist (see
Mike Oettle, 7 Oct 2002

Hout Bay

by Michel Lupant, 04 Mar 2004

Continuing the intermittent series on maps on flags provided by Mason Kaye, we have the self-proclaimed "state" of Hout Bay, to the south of the city of Cape Town. The flag shows a green map of the Cape Peninsula with blue water.
Michel Lupant, 04 Mar 2004

The so-called "Republic of Hout Bay" was nothing else but a publicity gimmick for attracting tourists to the village in the 1980's and early 1990's. It even issued and sold its own passports as evidence of citizenship. One fellow claimed to have travelled on this passport through Africa as far as Egypt, but it had its origins in the fertile brain of a local Public Relations person and did not pretend to any official standing.

The idea tickled the imagination of Capetonians, however, and succeeded in its primary aim of attracting tourists to the village. The chief tourists attractions being an interesting and large bird park, the fishing harbour
with a wharf with a fish market and sea food restaurants, a lovely beach, although the Atlantic is a bit chilly there, and a weekend craft market. The success of this tourist ploy led some other suburbs of Cape Town wanting to declare themselves "republics" also, for example Muizenberg on the False Bay coast, but nothing came of it. Nothing much has been heard about the Hout Bay republic of late. I think the person who was the driving force behind the idea must have left or retired and the area falls under the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Council of the City of Cape Town.
Andre Burgers, 04 Mar 2004