Pan-African colours

Pan-African colours is a term that may refer to two different sets of colors:

  • Red, yellow, and green, the colours of the flag of Ethiopia, have come to represent the Pan-Africanist ideology. Numerous African countries have adopted the colors into their national flags, and they are similarly used as a symbol by many Pan-African organisations and the Rastafari movement.
The traditional flag of Ethiopia, the colors of which have been adopted by numerous Pan-African groups.
Unofficial pan-African or UNIA flag
  • Red, black, and green, first introduced by Marcus Garvey in 1920, have also come to represent Pan-Africanism, and are shown on the Pan-African flag. These colors have also been incorporated on national flags, and they have sometimes been used to represent black nationalism rather than Pan-Africanism.[1]

The Ethiopian coloursEdit

Green, gold and red are now found on the national flags of many African nations. The colour combination was borrowed from the flag of Ethiopia.[citation needed] The Ethiopian flag has influenced the flags of many Pan-African organizations and polities. Except for relative brief periods of influence and occupation by the Kingdom of Italy, Ethiopia remained outside European control during the colonial era by defeating the Italian army at the battle of Adwa, Ethiopia, in 1896, ending the Italian protectorate. As a result, the country drew the admiration of many newly independent states in Africa. The adoption of the Ethiopian national colours by many Pan-African entities is a consequence of this. The first African state to adopt a gold, red and green flag upon independence was Ghana in 1957, designed by Theodosia Okoh.[2][3]

The UNIA coloursEdit

The Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA) founded by Marcus Garvey has a constitution which defines red, black, and green as the Pan-African colours: "red representing the noble blood that unites all people of African ancestry, the colour black for the people, green for the rich land of Africa."[citation needed] The UNIA flag was designated the official colours of Black Africans by the UNIA at its convention in Madison Square Garden on August 13, 1920 in New York City, United States.

Current country flags with the Pan-African symbolismEdit

The following are countries and territories that use one or both sets of Pan-African colours in their official flags:

Non-national flagsEdit

Former flags with pan-African coloursEdit

Non Pan-African flags with Pan-African coloursEdit

Although the following flags contain a Pan-African colour scheme, they are not intended to symbolise Pan-Africanism. Rastafari colours also originate from the Ethiopian flag, but though RastafarI thought harbours Pan-African sympathies, its use of the Ethiopian flag is historically rooted in the veneration of former Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Shelby, Tommie (October 2003). "Two Conceptions of Black Nationalism". Political Theory. 31 (5): 664–692. doi:10.1177/0090591703252826. ISSN 0090-5917.
  2. ^ "Mrs Theodosia Okoh: The Woman Who Designed The Ghanaian Flag", African Celebs.
  3. ^ Mrs. Theodosia Salome Okoh Profile at GhanaWeb.
  • Znamierowski, Alfred (2001). The World Encyclopedia of Flags: The Definitive Guide to International Flags, Banners, Standards and Ensigns. London: Anness Publishing.