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Caprivi (Namibia)

Last modified: 2012-01-21 by bruce berry
Keywords: namibia | caprivi | south africa | africa | unita | elephants: 2 | whisks:2 |
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[flag of Caprivi] image by Mark Sensen, 10 Oct 1995

This was the flag of East-Caprivi adopted in 1977.
Mark Sensen, 10 Oct 1995

See also:

Design of Caprivi's flag

The design of the flag of Caprivi is set out in section 2 of the Caprivi Flag Act, 1977 which reads as follows:
"The Caprivi Flag shall be a flag consisting of four horizontal stripes of equal width from top to bottom of black, white, green and blue, on which there shall appear, in the centre of the flag on the white and green stripes, two black elephants of equal size facing each other with their trunk raised, the front halves entwined once around each other with only the tips thereof raised above the height of their heads.
The height of the elephants shall be two-thirds of the width of the two stripes.
The width of the Caprivi Flag shall be equal to two thirds of its length"
The two elephants represent the two principal tribes of the Caprivi area, the Mafwe and the Basubia. The black and white stripes on the flag are said to represent the people of the area, the green for agriculture and the blue for the waters surrounding this area, namely the Zambezi, Chobe, Linyandi and Kwando rivers as well as Lake Liambezi.

An original design for a flag of Caprivi consisted of blue, white and blue horizontal stripes, charged in the centre with two crossed black whisks. This design was not adopted, presumably because of the similarity with the flag of the Gazankulu in South Africa.

Caprivi was re-incorporated into Namibia at independence on 21 March 1990 and this flag is no longer in use.
Bruce Berry, 25 November 1998

History of Caprivi

In 1893 the Germans, who ruled what is now Namibia, decided it would be nice to have access to the Zambezi River, some 250 km to the east. The British ceded a strip of land which was extruded from the North East corner of Namibia to Kazungula on the Zambezi at on what is now the Zambia/Botswana border. Unfortunately when the Germans got round to actually visiting the site they found that the Zambezi isn't navigable at that point!  The strip became of geopolitical importance during the 1980s when it was used as a jumping off point and re-supply route for South African support for the UNITA movement in Angola.
Stuart Notholt, 08 Oct 1995

In terms of the League of Nations' mandate for what was then South West Africa, responsibility for the well-being and development of the indigenous population was vested in the Administrator of South West Africa, who represented the Government of South Africa in the territory.  Initially tribal authorities had been created and these played an increasing role in the administration of their own affairs.  After 1948 the South African Government viewed the creation of self-governing states based on the boundaries of the major ethnic groups - both within South Africa and in the territory of South West Africa for which it was responsible in terms of the League of Nations mandate - as a means of fulfilling the political aspirations of the indigenous population. 

Legislation in the form of the Development of Self-Government for Native Nations in South West Africa Act was passed in 1968 which allowed for the creation of " or areas ... be reserved and set apart for the exclusive use and occupation by an native nation ...".  Over the next 10 years Legislative Councils were established in terms of the Act which also allowed for the creation of coats of arms and flags for these "homelands".  These coats of arms were for use on official correspondence, documents and publications in place of the South African or South West African arms while section 3 of each of the Flag Acts specified that the respective Homeland flag "shall be flown side by side with the National Flag of the Republic (of South Africa) at the buildings where the Legislative Council holds its sessions, at the principal administrative office and all main district offices of the Government of ... and at such places ... as the Government may determine".   Thus, as with the Homelands in South Africa, a dual flag arrangement would apply.

Homeland Symbols were designed for the Owambo (Arms and flag), Kavango (Arms and flag), Caprivi (Arms and flag), Damaraland (Arms and proposed flag), Administration for Tswanas (Arms only), and the Administration for Namas (Arms only).

Following the independence of Namibia in 1990, the ethnically based Homeland system was dismantled and these symbols are no longer used.
Bruce Berry, 25 Nov 1998

Pre-1977 flag of Caprivi

[pre-1977 flag of Caprivi] image by Jaume Ollé, 28 November 1998.

Prior to 1977 another flag design was used in Caprivi, being horizontal blue-white-blue (1:2:1) stripes with a symbol of two crossed black spoons being found in the centre of the white stripe. This was very similar to the flag of the South African homeland Gazankulu, but with the latter having equal bands and a chain between the spoons on the white stripe. The western part of the Caprivi strip was part of the Okavango homeland which used a green flag with a small triband of orange-white-blue in the centre.
Mark Sensen, 10 Oct 1995

I post an image of the version shown in the Flag Bulletin XVI:5. In other Bulletins it is shown with stripes 1:2:1
Jaume Ollé, 28 November 1998.