An expert in South Africa’s transition to democracy says that it is possible that the old South African flag may be used again as certain South Africans grow nostalgic for the past.
The old apartheid South African flag was in the spotlight again recently after 21-year-old American citizen Dylann Roof shot and killed the nine African Americans at the Emanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston.
Photos appeared online of Roof wearing a jacket with the old South African and Rhodesian flag on it.
Author and scholar, Jonny Steinberg, who is also an associate professor at the University of Oxford African Studies Centre, told CNN this week that despite the flag all but disappearing from public display, it is possible – and even likely – that it will rise again as South Africans grow nostalgic for the past.
“It will no doubt appear again; there is so much attention at the moment on the symbols of the South African past,” he told CNN.
“I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before the old flag is used again as a form of aggressive mourning for the old order.”
ANC secretary general, Gwede Mantashe told the news group that the old flag is mainly celebrated by those with “misdirected anger”.
“You will never find it on government property. But you can see it being flown in the meetings of ultra right wing groups, but not in public,” Mantashe told CNN. “It is not something that is socially widespread here.”
The old South Africa flag was abolished in 1994, when South Africa was reconstituted as a democratic state, with equal rights for men and women of all races.
The old flag was associated with the apartheid era, making it unacceptable for the new era, and a new flag was therefore designed.