South African Defence Force Ensign

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South African Defence Force Ensign
Ensign of the South African Defence Force (1981-1994).svg
Use Military
Proportion 2:3
Adopted 1981
Design Ensign
Designed by SADF

The South African Defence Force Ensign was the flag used by the South African Defence Force as a unified flag for all of the South African Defence Forces after they had previously only used their own individual flags. It consisted of a green ensign with the flag of South Africa (known as the "Oranje, Blanje, Blou" in canton with a crest consisting of three symbols of the SADF forces inside an outline of the Castle of Good Hope. The flag was adopted in 1981 but was replaced in 1994 following the adoption of a new flag and the reorganization of the armed forces in South Africa as the South African National Defence Force but was still used for a few months after.


From 1951, the individual branches of the South African Defence Forces had their own flags and ensigns but there was no unified flag to symbolise the whole of the SADF.[1] On 21 March 1981, the Chief of the South African Defence Force approved a design for the forces' unified ensign. The official description of it was "A rectangular green flag in the proportion of two to three; within the upper hoist quarter the national flag of South Africa, with a white fimbriation; and in the lower fly quarter the emblem of the South African Defence Force, to wit: On a white ground plan of the Castle of Good Hope, a dark blue erect anchor surmounted by a horizontal pair of steel blue wings and overall, a pair of orange swords in saltire; the whole within a border, the inner half of which is dark green and the outer half gold".[1][2]

The SANDF replacement ensign

In 1994 following the fall of apartheid and election of Nelson Mandela as President of South Africa, the SADF was reorganised merging them with the African National Congress's Umkhonto we Sizwe, the Pan Africanist Congress's Azanian People's Liberation Army and the Self-Protection Units of the Inkatha Freedom Party to create the South African National Defence Force on 27 April 1994.[3] The ensign, following the election of Nelson Mandela in March, initially remained the same with the Oranje, Blanje, Blou in the ensign but was viewed as obsolete.[1][4] It wasn't until July of 1994 that a new ensign was designed which retained much of the original ensign except for substituting the new flag of South Africa in place of the Oranje, Blanje, Blou. Despite this, the new ensign did not replace the old one until its first parade in Pietersburg on 11 November 1994.[4]


  1. ^ a b c Burgers, A.P. (2008). The South African flag book: the history of South African flags from Dias to Mandela. Protea Book house. p. 168. ISBN 1869191129. 
  2. ^ "South African Defence Force ensign (1981 - 1994)". Retrieved 2017-03-07. 
  3. ^ Le Roux, Len. "The post-apartheid South African military: Transforming with the nation" (PDF). ISS Africa. Retrieved 2017-03-07. 
  4. ^ a b Watson, Berry. "Flags of the South African Department of Defence - 1994 and Beyond" (PDF). International Congresses of Vexillology. Retrieved 2017-03-07.