Jul 28, 2014


How many persons in the world had the luck of designing not one, but two national flags, from two different countries? Frederick Brownwell, that served for almost twenty years as South African state herald, had this privilege and used it to create two of the most awesome national flags around the world.

Apart from being the chairman of the committee that chose Namibian national flag (the public submitted hundreds of entries), Brownwell designed the current South African flag. Clicking here, you can see my review about it.

Here is the current Namibian national flag:

At first sight, you can see some similarities with South African flag that Brownwell designed years after. One is use of many colors, all of them very contrasting with the neighbors. Other, more subtle, is that it incorporates colors from the flags of political parties, what's not uncommon in African continent: its basis is the flag of SWAPO, the main liberation party and that have ruled the country since its independence, but it's visible the similarities with the logo of a traditional opposition party, the DTA.

The colors can also be associated with common symbolism: red for the heroic people, white for peace and unity, blue for the sky and the waters, including Atlantic Ocean, green for the forests and agriculture. The yellow sun represents life and energy.

Long live Brownwell!

Comments are welcome!

Jul 19, 2014

Bonaire (Netherlands)

The island of Bonaire is a special municipality of Netherlands located in the Caribbean Sea. Its flag is possibly, one of the most successful created by a committee, that included, among others, the famous vexillologist Whitney Smith.

The final proposal of the committee, however, was other:

The compass rose represents the inhabitants of Bonaire, that came from the four corners of the world, and its navigators. The six-pointed star represents the its six "vicinities": Antriol, Nikiboko, Noord Salina, Playa (also known as Kralendijk), Rincon and Tera Cora. The top stripe was originally red, like the flag of the Kingdom of Netherlands but, because even the earlier proposals had a red emblem in the middle, it was substituted by yellow for avoid repeating colors, by a suggestion of committee leader, Franz Booi. This helped to fix the symbolism of the stripes: yellow for the sun and the nature (it's the color of many local flowers), white for peace and tranquility, and blue for the sea.

That flag, however, wasn't accepted by the government. Then, Whitney Smith suggested a public contest. More than a thousand entries were received. Neither one of the three finalists nor a combination of them was accepted by governement. But, when the original committee was reformed, the white-blue diagonal stripes, present in one of the finalists, was used to design the flag as we know today:

Even though yellow and white don't use to live well together on a flag, it's clearly a very appealing flag, with a very tropical look. I like the way that, despite the diagonal layout, the compass rose and star have a nice size and position, transforming them in a remarkable symbol.

And it's the way a committee, with a little help from the public, made this great flag!

Comments are welcome.