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Nelson Mandela city (South Africa)

Eastern Cape Province

Last modified: 2015-05-26 by bruce berry
Keywords: nmmm | port elizabeth |
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[Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality flag] image by Mike Oettle, 21 Jun 2002 See also:

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality flag

Today, 20 June 2002, saw the official launch of the coat of arms and flag of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa.  The metropolitan municipality covers the area of the former Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage and Despatch local councils.  In addition to the new flag there is also a banner.
At the launch this morning there were two flags, one already hoisted on a flagpole on the City Hall roof (on the flagpole where the old Port Elizabeth flag used to be hoisted), and one on a pole in the entrance porch, but the only device formally unfurled was the banner, which was specially rigged up on a horizontal pole above the entrance.
No proportions are specified for either flag or banner, and the flag image follows the proportions of the miniature flags handed out at the launch.

I’m not sure when the Port Elizabeth flag was taken into use, but the Arms on it are those granted in 1952 – see my page . The flag could be seen flying on the City Hall from at least 1979 onwards, but ceased to have official status at the end of 2000 following the re-organisation of local government in South Africa. Following the December 2000 municipal elections, all the existing municipalities in the country were merged into new ones. There had, since 1995, been four metropoles: Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban. (These four had boundary adjustments, and I think Pretoria, at least, was enlarged. The Pretoria metro also changed its name to Tshwane.) In 2000 Port Elizabeth became part of the new Nelson Mandela Metropole comprising Port Elizabeth, Despatch and Uitenhage. 

As far as I know, neither Despatch nor Uitenhage had flags, but to see their arms follow the links from the Port Elizabeth page on Armoria.
Mike Oettle, 21 Jun 2002

The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality comprises the former municipal areas of Port Elizabeth, Despatch and Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape Province.  A new coat-of-arms and flag for the metro council were officially adopted on 20 June 2002.  The metropolitan flag is white with the new arms placed in the centre with a light blue outline and words “Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality” written vertically on the hoist side.  The arms were graphically designed with the symbolism explained as follows:
The elephant tusks and beadwork allude to the diverse cultural heritage of the region;
The blue wavy lines represent water, both the rivers within the metropolitan area and the sea;
The repetitive pattern down the centre of the arms represents a backbone;
The three silhouetted human figures represent a family and also the values of nurturing a new generation;
The cogwheel, hammer and ship symbolise industry, commerce and trade in the metropole and progress in all these fields of activity;
The elephant is part of the indigenous wildlife of the area. The world famous Addo Elephant Park is located adjacent to the metropole and house descendants of the elephants which once roamed freely in the area.  In traditional folklore the elephant, with its strong family ties, has come to symbolise leadership, intelligence and wisdom;
The natural environment of the metro is jointly represented by the elephant and the aloe;
The rising sun, in both African and Western traditions, represents the birth or dawn of a new era; and
The combination of the knobkerrie and spear represents authority, as well as protection of all the people and assets in the region.  The fact that they are more horizontal rather than vertical is a sign of peace.
The motto is “Working together for Ubuntu”.

Neither the coat-of-arms nor flag have been registered with the Bureau of Heraldry. 
Bruce Berry, 22 Jun 2002

The slogan says, " WORKING TOGETHER FOR UBUNTU".  Can anyone tell me what Ubuntu is?
Dean McGee, 22 Jun 2002

I found quite a few pages on the web. Here is a summary:
"Ubuntu is a Zulu word that means 'people working together for a common cause.' "
"Ubuntu" means "we are because of those who went before us."
"Ubuntu in the Xhosa language is generally defined as community solidarity."
"Ubuntu refers to the African tradition of working together, caring and sharing"
"Ubuntu" is a word found in several African languages, which means "humanity" and "generosity" at the same time."
All in all, it seems to be a quite complex term, encompassing sharing, humanity and working together, but 'solidarity' seems to be central.
Ole Andersen, 22 Jun 2002

I have given an answer on my page, which tries to cover a broad field of meaning. But the answers you have there are all more or less correct. I should just add that I have used the term isiNguni, because that covers isiXhosa and isiZulu (as well as the Swazi language [isiSwazi/Seswati] and the three distinct languages called isiNdebele). I am not certain as to whether it occurs in all of those, but it's highly likely that it does. It certainly crops up in both isiXhosa and isiZulu. The main language spoken in Nelson Mandela Metropole is isiXhosa.
I have heard the saying put in the plural, but apparently it's mainly used in the singular, and one has to be consistent in one's use of either singular or plural for some reason. But you can see in that sentence the connection between mntu ("a person") and abantu ("people"). It's from the word abantu that the Bantu language group is named.
Mike Oettle, 26 Jun 2002

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality banner

[Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality banner] image sent by Mike Oettle, 21 Jun 2002

Port Elizabeth flag

[Port Elizabeth flag] image sent by Mike Oettle, 21 Jun 2002

The arms of Port Elizabeth were based closely on those of Sir Rufane Donkin, the Acting Governor of the Cape Colony in 1820 – 1821.  The whole of the shield is taken from the Donkin family arms except for the two anchors, which were added as a necessary difference and as reference to the port.  These arms were formally approved by the City Council in May 1958 and formally granted by Letters Patent from the College of Arms in August 1958.   The arms were subsequently registered, unchanged, with the South African Bureau of Heraldry in April 1986 and are described as follows:
ARMS: Gules on a chevron Argent between two Cinquefoils in chief and a Bugle Horn stringed in base Or three Buckles Sable a Chief embattled of the second thereon an elephant statant between two anchors proper
CREST: Issuant from a Mural Crown Gules charged with three annulets Or a three masted ship in full sail proper flying from the main mast a Pennon of the first
MOTTO: TU MELIORA SPERA (Hope thou for better Things).


The arms were placed in the centre of a white field on the municipal flag of Port Elizabeth.  This flag is no longer used following the reorganisation of local government in South Africa in December 2000 when Port Elizabeth became part of the Nelson Mandela Metropole.
Bruce Berry, 22 Jun 2002