Pan-African colours

The Pan-African colors are red, yellow and green. They are used in many African flags and press the feeling of togetherness of these nations. Often black is used, according to the classic colors of the back-to -Africa movement of Marcus Garvey (red, black and green). Even the emblem of the African Union uses the pan-African colors ( with gold instead of yellow).


Model for the pan-African colors were the colors of Ethiopia, the only independent country in Africa, which were used in the 19th century and were probably formed by the assembling of three pennants, and the flag of Ghana, at the Pan-African thought for the first time consciously was expressed.

Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa. Between 1894 and 1898, the popular folk art in the Coptic colors green, yellow and red were combined in a horizontally striped tricolor on the European model. The official interpretation of the colors is:

  • Green represents the fertility of the native soil.
  • Yellow stands for the love of the fatherland.
  • Red represents the blood that was shed for the home country.

During the Italian occupation, this flag became the banner of freedom. There is some evidence that the Ethiopian flag has been the model for the pan-African colors. Their relatively great age, its role as a symbol of the oldest political system on African soil, their catchy of meaning that could be transferred to other countries, may have facilitated this acquisition.

With the attainment of independence in 1957, Ghana took over a newly created national flag with the reverse order, which was a conversion of the party flag of the " Convention People's Party " ( CPP ) of Kwame Nkrumah president. These colors also recurred in the unit flag, the agreements between Ghana and Guinea in 1958, Union of African states.

The flag of the Central African Republic and South Africa show the pan-African colors along with the classic European colors red, white and blue. The Central African Republic, thus pointing to the tricolor of the colonial power France, in South Africa wants you so to wear next to the black so the white population group in its flag accounting.

African American popular culture and folklore

When African-American Kwanzaa celebration, a candle is lit in the Kinara candle holder called on each of the seven days. These are on the one hand for the seven Kwanzaamottos, on the other hand, for Africa. It is ideally to three red, three green and one black (instead of yellow ).


The Pan-African colors are also the colors of the Rastafarian religion, the worship of the last Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie as Savior.

Trigger for the development was the prophecy of Marcus Garvey in the 1920s of a powerful black king in Africa. Haile Selassie The coronation, after a coup by the Orthodox Christian aristocracy to the Emperor of Ethiopia in 1930, was seen as a fulfillment of the prophecy.

The term derives from the Rastafari Haile Selassie's birth name, Tafari Makonnen Ras namely.

The three colors symbolize:

  • "Mother" of Africa (green),
  • The richness of the African population, which was exploited by the imperialists (yellow)
  • And the blood of the people, which was shed by (red).

Flags with pan-African colors

The following flags indicate the Pan-African colors (some with other colors combined):

Also, some historical flags used the pan-African colors:

People's Republic of Congo (1970-1991)

Mali Federation (1959-1961)

Rwanda (1961-2001)

Zaire (1971-1997)

Other green, yellow and red

Different countries use the colors green, yellow and red without, that they go back to a connection with Africa. In part, the meanings " vegetation, wealth and blood " identical, partly there are local reasons for the choice of color.

Flag of Dominica

Flag of Grenada

Flag of Guyana

Flag of Lithuania

Flag of Myanmar

Flag of Portugal

Flag of Saint Kitts and Nevis

Flag of Suriname

Flag of Tajikistan

Flag of Vanuatu

Flag of Jamaica

Flag of Kurdistan