The Designer Of South Africa’s Flag, Fred Brownell, Dies At Age 79

The designer of South Africa's post-apartheid flag, Fred Brownell, died at his home in the capital, Pretoria, on Friday night at the age of 79.1 min

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He designed the flag in 1993 to herald the end of minority rule in South Africa. 

In a series of tweets, South Africa’s Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa described Brownell as one of South Africa’s “greatest patriots” and “national heroes”.

Brownell is survived by his wife Christine, three daughters and grandchildren.


On the night of 25 August 1993 Fred Brownell doodled an idea on the back of a congress program based on the idea of the convergence of South Africa’s peoples into one nation. This idea is what was to become the 1st flag of democratic South Africa.

In the same year a National Symbols Commission was appointed to invite public flag submissions to mark the new era of a democratic South Africa but because Fred Brownell was part of the commission, he could not submit his design, although he continued to refine it in secret.

The commission received over 7000 flag designs, but none of them made the cut. Under a very tight deadline, professional graphic designers were approached, but they all failed to execute. The commission eventually approached Fred Brownell, not knowing he already had a design.

Fred Brownell submitted his design to Roelf Meyer, the government’s Chief Negotiator who took it to his then MYANC counterpart & the now current president, President Cyril Ramaphosa who then consulted late President uTata Madiba for his approval of the flag.

When Roelf Meyer & President Cyril Ramaphosa presented the flag to the council, there was a long silence until all at once clapping broke out, the flag was a winner!

That is the story of South Africa’s national pride & the man who created the flag with 6 colours that united South Africa.

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