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Venda (South African homeland)

Last modified: 2022-10-22 by bruce berry
Keywords: south africa | homeland | venda | v |
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[Venda] image by Martin Grieve, 17 Sept 2006 See also:

Venda - 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

Venda was located in the northeastern of the former Transvaal (today's Limpopo Province), with a main part and one main enclave, not very compactly shaped. It bordered on the northern part of Gazankulu.
Antonio Martins - 30 May 1999

Venda means "world" or "land" and as such refers to the traditional home of the BaVenda tribe. Venda was granted internal self-government on 01 February 1973 and achieved full "independence" from South Africa on 13 September 1979.
Bruce Berry, 01 Dec 1998

Venda flag - description

The design of the Venda flag was originally set out in section 2 of the Venda Flag Act of 1973, which reads as follows:

"The Venda Flag shall be a flag consisting of three horizontal stripes of equal width from top to bottom of green, yellow and brown and towards the pole a vertical blue stripe appear, in the centre of the yellow stripe the letter V in brown.
The width of the Venda flag shall be equal to two-thirds of its length.
The length of the letter V shall be five-sevenths and the width of the letter V shall be five-sevenths of the width of a stripe".

A description of this flag, with amended wording, was subsequently incorporated into Schedule 3 of the Republic of Venda Constitution Act of 1979 and read as follows:

"Description of the National Flag of the Republic of Venda
Three horizontal stripes of equal width from top to bottom green, yellow and brown and towards the pole a vertical blue stripe equal in width to a horizontal stripe on which there shall appear, in the centre of the yellow stripes the letter V in brown. The width shall be equal to two-thirds of the length. The length of the letter V shall be five-sevenths of the width of a stripe and the width of the letter V shall be five-sevenths of the width of a stripe".
The colours of the flag of Venda are those used in traditional BaVenda beadwork. The design of the flag is reminiscent of that of the former Transvaal Republic, with three horizontal stripes and a hoist panel.

This design was also used briefly in the flag of neighbouring Zimbabwe Rhodesia between September 1979 and April 1980.

The brown symbolises the Venda soil, while the beauty of the countryside is reflected by the yellow and blue stands for heaven. The beads have a deeply religious significance and are passed down from generation to generation.

With the advent of democracy in South Africa, Venda was re-incorporated on 27 April 1994 and is now part of the Northern Province. The flag is no longer used.
Bruce Berry, 01 Dec 1998

While playing with my flags today, I pulled out and examined my full-sized flag of Venda.  It was made in South Africa and does not exactly match the specifications shown on FOTW. Specifically, on my flag the "V" and the lower stripe are more nearly black than brown. Was this an oft-seen variant?
Devereaux Cannon, 09 Feb 2003

Yes, some Venda flags were made by National Flag using a very dark shade of brown. Others made by CI Canvas had a much lighter shade, similar to that shown on image on FOTW.  Official documentation shows the flag using the lighter shade.
Bruce Berry, 10 Feb 2003

Regarding the former flags of the South African homelands;
- how much did the actual flags of the homelands differ from the original specifications, and why?
- how much variation was in between different specimens of the same flag?
- what is the reason for the widely differing representations in flag publications?
Marcus Schmöger, 28 Jan 2007

The simple answer to the questions is manufacturer's licence. There was some variation in the flags made by the various manufacturers, most notably the
detail for the leopard's head in the flag of Bophuthatswana and the Blue Crane in the flag of Ciskei. As reported on FOTW, despite the specifications of the
Ciskei flag as described in the Ciskei Flag Act not conforming to the official artcard, the proportions of the blue and white stripes were followed as per the
artcard and not as per the specifications. This could possibly explain the variations in various flag publications (which was actually the official
specification???). However, one manufacturer produced flags showing the twig in the beak of the Blue Crane (as was the case in the Coat of Arms) although this
was never specified for the flag. This manufacturer subsequently won a Ciskei Government contract to supply flags and despite the error being pointed out (by
me actually!!!), the flags were made and the contract honoured!

The majority of the variations were with the Ciskei flag, while the others were quite minor being mainly different colour shades and in the case of Venda, different fonts were used for the "V".
Bruce Berry, 08 Feb 2007

Coat of Arms

By Government Notice No. 1599, published in the South African Government Gazette (Number 3644 of 8 September 1972) it was notified that a coat of arms had been registered for the Venda Legislative Assembly in terms of the South African Heraldry Act (Act No. 18 of 1962).  Although application and registration was made in terms of the Heraldry Act (Government Notice 1599 in Government Gazette 3644 of 08 September 1972), the State Herald did not issue a formal certificate of registration in respect of these arms as they had been devised without consultation of the Bureau of Heraldry

The blazon for these Arms read as follows:

Arms:     Vert, an elephant statant within a bordure Or.
Crest:     Or and vert.
Motto:    SHUMELA VENDA   (Always Aspire for Venda)

image by Martin Grieve, 22 Dec 2006

Immediately prior to independence, amended Arms with supporters were approved for the Venda Legislative Assembly.  These Arms were registered with the South African Bureau of Heraldry in terms of Government Notice 151 in Government Gazette 6294 of 02 February 1979.  These Arms were formally taken into use at the independence on 13 September 1979.  A certificate of registration (number 2007) was, however, only issued on 21 October 1988, in response
to a formal request from the Republic of Venda.

The blazon of the amended Arms is as follows:

Arms:           Vert, an elephant's head caboshed Or, tusked Argent, the whole within a bordure Or.
Crest:           A Venda tribal drum proper.
Supporters:   Two elephants proper.
Motto:          SHUMELA VENDA  (Always Aspire for Venda)

Following the re-incorporation of Venda into South Africa on 27 April 1994, these Arms are no longer used.
Bruce Berry, 22 Dec 2006


Venda Defence Force flag

image by Miles Li, 11 Dec 2011

In common with the other so called "independent" Homelands, the Venda Defence Force had a distinctive flag of its own, having a chilli red background (similar to that used by the South African Army), with the Venda national flag, fimbriated in white, in the canton and the emblem of the Venda Defence Force  in the lower fly.  The emblem comprised a stylised elephant's head in gold, taken from the Venda coat of arms.  Following the re-incorporation of Venda into South Africa on 27 April 1994, the Venda Defence Force was incorporated into the South African National Defence Force and this flag is no longer in use.
Bruce Berry, 08 Jan 2012

Venda Police flag

image by Martin Grieve, 20 Dec 2006

The flag of the Venda Police was designed in the South African Bureau of Heraldry.  It has a light blue field with a horizontal yellow stripe one seventh of the width of the flag across the centre.  In the canton, adjoining the horizontal stripe, is the national flag of Venda, with a white fimbriation along its fly edge and in the lower fly is the badge of the Venda Police. 

  image by Martin Grieve, 20 Dec 2006

This is a facetted six-pointed white star charged in the centre with a gold roundel bearing the Venda Arms in colour, within a black annulet bearing the words MAPHOLISA A VENDA above, and VENDA POLICE below.
Bruce Berry, 22 Dec 2006