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Other Namibian historical flags

Last modified: 2014-02-15 by bruce berry
Keywords: namibia | herero | baster | upingtonia | damara | rehoboth |
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Hereroland - or Damara?

[proposed flag of Hereroland (Namibia)] image by Stuart Notholt, 04 Sept 1996, redrawn by Antonio Martins, 18 Nov 1998

In 1864 a flag was designed by a British artist, Thomas Baines. It was a red cross on a blue field with a large 4- pointed white star appearing behind it. Although there is no evidence that the flag was officially adopted, it would have looked much like the British Union Flag in practice.
From an article 'Other Flags of Namibia', by W. Smith in  The Flag Bulletin No 145 of January - April 1992
Stuart Notholt, 04 Sept 1996

From A.P. Burgers: Sovereign flags of South Africa (1997): [bur97]
"The Damara did indeed have a flag for a while. In 1864 Charles John Andersson, an Anglo-Swedish explorer, was elected Chief of the Damara. The flag they adopted at this time was probably, in part, inspired by the British Union Jack. This flag was designed for the Damara by Thomas Baines, the well-known Africana artist, explorer and traveler of the XIX th century, who was then painting in Damaraland. The flag was physically in use on 6 June 1864, when the Damara forces set out under Andersson's command to do battle with their southern neighbours, the Nama. It is also known that it was flown by them during the battle which took place between the two forces south of Windhoek on 22 June 1864. Andersson was seriously wounded, bringing his chieftainship to an end. There is no evidence that the flag was ever used after that date."
Ivan Sache, 20 November 1998

As for the "Herero" flag: this was a flag designed by Thomas Baines for Charles John Andersson in 1864 to use during the short war against Namaqua (another tribe of Bantu origin living in Namibia south of Damara land). Damara and Namaqua were in continuous friction each others. When relations between Damara and Namaqa brought to a war in 1864, the Damara people found that the Herero (the main tribe in the Damara territory) chief Maharero was not enough popular to lead Damara. So they offered chieftainship to Charles John Anderson, one of the traders living in Otjimingue, where a Rhenish mission station had been founded in 1849.
Andersson wrote in his diary (11 May 1864); "Baines suggested a National Flag. Thought of the same thing, only did not broach the subject as it seems almost premature... Sketch 3 or 4 different coloured flags. We must have an eye more to effect than prettiness, as a flag, as a rule, is rarely exposed full to view, the wind generally causing it more or less to fold, and consequently details are lost. We tried yellow but neither creates effect nor is it clearly visible at any distance. A red cross on a blue field, with a large star appearing just behind the cross, looks well and effective.
My wife must make a silken standard, if I become the chief of this country. In the meantime we ought to have something for use."
Damara won the war but with great damages and Andersson too was seriously wounded. The "disastrous victory" ended Andersson's rule as chief of the Damara confederation and no evidence shows his flag having been used after 22 June 1864.
It seems appropriate that the flag, incorrectly attributed to the Hereros in an article on Baines in the SWA Yearbook of 1972, be attributed to the Damara confederation.
Source: F.G. Brownell, "The Damara Flag of 1864" in The Flag Bulletin XXXIV:5/166
Mario Fabretto, 19 November 1998

Baster Gebiet (Rehoboth)

[proposed flag of Baster Gebiet (Namibia)] image by Stuart Notholt, 04 Sept 1996

The Basters ('Bastards') are a distinctive people who speak Afrikaans and are descended from the liaisons between Dutch speaking whites in the Cape Colony and African women. In 1868 they trekked to their current homeland south of Windhoek. In 1872 a national flag of German influence was adopted: it was black over white over red. Another, more distinctive variant comprised concentric squares of, from the inside, white, red, black. This flag continued in semi-official use until Namibian independence in 1990 - quite possibly it is still used. Until 29 July 1989 the Basters had their own autonomous government and some limited pressure for autonomy still continues.
from an article 'Other Flags of Namibia', by W. Smith in The Flag Bulletin No 145 of January - April 1992
Stuart Notholt, 04 Sept 1996

The book "Lost White Tribes" by Riccardo Orizio gives some further information on the Baster/Rehoboth flag, namely:
"The Free Republic of Rehoboth, recognised by the League of Nations no less. A rectangle with three concentric bands. The outer band is black, like the unknown future of our forefathers when they left the Cape in 1868 to look for an uncertain Promised Land. The middle band is red, for the blood shed defending us from all enemies, of whatever nationality, German, South African, Ovambo, Herero, Nama. The inside one is white, signifying our desire for peace."

The article on the FOTW says that the flag may still be in use. Orizio writes that the flag is still flown outside the Rehoboth parliament building.
Zane Whitehorn, 21 Aug 2004

sent by Jens Pattke, 17 Feb 2007

A new flag is shown on their website together with a at as well as in Wikipedia.
Valentin Poposki, 17 Feb 2007

image by Jens Pattke, 17 Feb 2007

I have redrawn the flag of the Rehoboth Basters based on the photographic evidence.
Jens Pattke, 17 Feb 2007

Recent messages concerning the flag of the Rehoboth Basters prompted me to look up this item in FOTW, where I found a rather misleading indication of the origin of these people.

The first quotation cited states that the Basters are ". . . descended from the liaisons between Dutch speaking whites in the Cape Colony and African women." (from an article 'Other Flags of Namibia', by W. Smith in The Flag Bulletin No. 145 of January - April 1992 submitted by Stuart Notholt on 04 Sept 1996).

The word "African" can be interpreted in various ways, but it usually indicates black Africans. This was not the case here. The women in question were mostly Khoikhoi or Bushmen in other words the brown-skinned indigenous peoples of Southern Africa, as opposed to the Bantu-speaking peoples who arrived within the borders of present-day South Africa during the past 600 years. In a few instances the women were slaves, and it is entirely uncertain what their ethnic origin was. It is, however, unlikely that they were African, and they were more likely Indian.

I could add that the Basters are proud of their origins and of the name Baster, and regard themselves as being superior to Khoikhoi, Bushmen and black Africans.
There are other Baster groupings found in other parts of Namibia, and in the Northern Cape and Western Cape provinces, but those at Rehoboth make up the majority of the Baster people.
Mike Oettle, 20 Feb 2007


What is known about the Upingtonia flag, a Boer state in current Namibia?
Jaume Ollé, 22 Aug 2001

Upingtonia/Lijdensrust - 1886 - Jun 1887?
20 Oct 1885  -  "Republic Upingtonia" settler polity founded.
1886 - Name changed to Lijdensrust; accepts German protection.
Jun 1887 - Republic dissolved.
President: 20 Oct 1885 - Jun 1887  George Diederik P. Prinsloo
Source: this site.
Jarig Bakker, 23 Aug 2001

"German West Africa" flag

image sent by Olivier Touzeau, 28 Oct 2002

From a series of Cigarette Silks Iron-on Transfers, the subject of which is: Nation Animals & Flags, the fanciful flag of German West Africa, accompanied by a zebra. 
Olivier Touzeau, 28 Oct 2002

The deviser of the cards made a double error with "German West Africa" since there was no such colony - West Africa included the German colonies of Togo and Cameroon - but the country intended was no doubt German South West Africa (Deutsch-Südwestafrika - now Namibia), since various kinds of zebra are indigenous there. The colours of the flag are certainly German imperial, but it's not authentic.
Mike Oettle, 15 Oct 2002