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Transkei (South African homeland)

Last modified: 2022-10-22 by bruce berry
Keywords: south africa | homeland | transkei |
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[Transkei] image by Mark Sensen, 01 Dec 1998

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Transkei - introduction

Within the "old" South Africa, 10 homelands were created, four of which were granted "independence" by South Africa (not recognised by any other country in the world). These former South African Homelands/bantustans ceased to exist on 27 April 1994. They have all (including the former so called independent Homelands) been reincorporated into South Africa.

The flags of the former Homelands are no longer in use (either officially or unofficially).
Bruce Berry, 25 April 1996

Transkei is quite a large territory in easternmost Cape Province (today's Eastern Cape), with a larger main part protruding slightly into Natal and bordering Lesotho, Natal and KwaZulu, and two smaller enclaves -- one in Natal, bordering KwaZulu, and another in the Cape Province, bordering Lesotho and Orange Free State.
Antonio Martins, 30 May 1999

The Great Kei River formed the eastern boundary of the Cape Province, north of which was the traditional territory of the Xhosa tribe. The United Transkeian Territories General Council was established in 1930 and was succeeded by a territorial authority in 1956. Transkei was the first homeland to achieve internal self-government in 1963 and followed by full "independence" on 26 October 1976.
Mike Oettle, 29 May 1999

Transkei flag

Section 4 of the Transkei Constitution Act of 1963, an Act of the South African Parliament, made provision for the adoption of a Transkeian national flag. The design of the Transkei flag is set out in section 2 of the Transkei Flag Act of 1966, which reads as follows:
  • "The Transkeian flag shall be a flag consisting of three horizontal stripes of equal width from top to bottom ochre-red, white and green. The width of the Transkeian flag shall be equal to two-thirds of the length".

The flag was adopted on 20 May 1966 and was officially hoisted for the first time on (South Africa's) Republic Day, 31 may 1966. It was retained unchanged when the Republic of Transkei came into being on 26 October 1976. The red-ochre in the flag is derived from the colour of the soil or "Im-bola" from which traditional huts are built. It is also the colour of traditional blankets, while white stands for peace and the green represents the rolling hills of the countryside, which provides important grazing for cattle which play an important role in Xhosa culture.

The adoption of this flag was not without opposition and The Flag Bulletin, XV, 5, September/October 1976, gives an interesting account of the debate. For the independence ceremonies held on 26 October 1976, special flags in the national colours were hoisted. These had the Transkei Arms in the centre of a plain field - in white on green and ochre bunting and in green on white bunting. These did not replace the flag in any way. Transkei was re-incorporated into South Africa on 27 April 1994 and is now part of the Eastern Cape province. Since then the flag is no longer in official use.
Bruce Berry, 01 Dec 1998

I noticed that you wrote "no longer in official use" (while other homeland flags are simply no more in use). Is it just for a change, or do you mean that the flag still has some kind of representativity? I had a feeling that Transkei was more individualized and "real" than most other homelands (especially after former dictator Kaiser Matanzima, if I remember his name correctly, turned his back to South African officials after a disagreement on boundary matters...).
Than Tam Le, 01 Dec 1998

Transkei Prime Minister's flag

The pennant of the prime minister was green with the Coat of Arms in the centre.
Source: Whitney Smith - All världens flaggor, 1980 (Flags and  Arms across the World)
Marcus Wendel, 09 Sep 1999

Transkei Defence Force flag

image by Jens Pattke, 09 Jan 2013

The flag of the Transkei Defence Force has a red field, presumably derived from the flag of the South African Army, with the Transkei national flag in the canton, occupying one quarter the length of the field, without any fimbriation. In the lower fly is a black Nguni ox-hide shield, superimposed on a spear and rifle with fixed bayonet in saltire, supported by two leopards standing on a gold ornamental ribbon folded back in white bearing the motto, DISCIPLINE LOYALTY DUTY.

image by Jens Pattke, 09 Jan 2013

Although the exact date is not known, it is presumed that this flag was adopted following the introduction of military rule by Major-General Bantu Holomisa on 30 November 1987. Following the reincorporation of Transkei into South Africa on 27 April 1994, this flag is no longer in use.
Bruce Berry, 09 Jan 2013

Transkei Army flag

image by Jens Pattke, 19 Jan 2013

An art-card for the flag of the Transkei Army was prepared by the Heraldic Section of the South African Defence Force (SADF) on 27 February 1976 and approved by Brigadier (later Major General) Philip Pretorius, Military Advisor to the Transkeian Defence Force, on 02 March 1976. It was counter signed by the State Herald of South Africa. Unlike the flags of the South African Defence Force and most of the other armed services in the Homelands, this flag does not contain the national flag of the Homeland in the canton, but has a plain malachite green field charged in the centre with the emblem of the Transkei Army, namely a yellow bull's head. It was also used as a car flag (15cm x 23cm) by the Commander of the Transkei Defence Force.  It is not known how extensively or for how long this flag was used, since in a subsequent development a separate flag was adopted for the Transkei Defence Force.

In any event, following the reincorporation of Transkei into South Africa on 27 April 1994, both the Transkei Army and Transkei Defence Force ceased to exist and were incorporated into the re-named South African National Defence Force and their flags are no longer used.
Bruce Berry, 19 Jan 2013

Transkei Police flag

image by Jens Pattke, 19 Jan 2013

he flag of the Transkei Police consists of three equal horizontal stripes of dark blue, white and dark blue, with the national flag of Transkei placed centrally on the white stripe. In the canton is the badge of the Transkei Police, namely a rayed five-pointed star shaded brown and white, charged in the centre, on a white roundel, with the coat of arms of Transkei in full colour within a white annulet edged in brown bearing the inscription AMAPOLISA ASE TRANSKEI above, and TRANSKEI POLICE below.

image by Jens Pattke, 19 Jan 2013

Following the reincorporation of Transkei into South Africa on 27 April 1994, the Transkei Police was absorbed into the South African Police Service and this flag is no longer in use.
Bruce Berry, 19 Jan 2013

Transkei Prisons flag

image by Jens Pattke, 13 Jan 2013

The flag of the Transkei Prisons Service has a red-ochre field with the national flag of the Transkei, fimbriated in white, in the canton, occupying one quarter the length of the field.  In the lower fly is the badge of the Transkei Prisons Service. The badge is a gold five-pointed rayed star with the shield from the Transkei Arms in colour in the centre, within a gold annulet bearing the words TRANSKEI PRISONS in black letters, all within a gold open laurel wreath. The design was certified as being heraldically correct by the South African State Herald on 28 October 1987.

image by Jens Pattke, 13 Jan 2013

Following the reincorporation of Transkei into South Africa on 27 April 1994, this flag is no longer in use as the new national flag of South Africa and the flag of the Department of Correctional Services is now flown at all prisons.
Bruce Berry, 13 Jan 2013

Transkei Coat of Arms

scan by Bruce Berry, 20 Dec 2006

The Transkei Official Gazette (Vol. 8 No. 2) of January 1971 notified the adoption of a coat of arms for Transkei that had been registered in terms the South African Heraldry Act (Act No. 18 of 1962) as approved in Government Notice 1319 of the Government Gazette (No. 2728 of 25 September 1970).  In terms of this notice, a Certificate of Registration (no. 410) was issued on 25 September 1970.

The official description of the Arms is given as:
Arms:               Per chevron Ochre and Vert, a chevron dovetailed between in chief dexter a mealie cob and sinister a cogwheel Argent, and in base a bull's head caboshed proper.
Crest:               On a mount Vert a wicker basket between two aloes proper.
Wreath:            Argent and Vert.
Supporters:      Two leopards proper.
Motto:              IMBUMBA YAMANYAMA   (Unity is Strength)

With the re-incorporation of Transkei into South Africa in April 1994, these Arms are no longer in use.
Bruce Berry, 20 Dec 2006