Old South African flag flag must be banned

June 1, 2009 § 20 Comments

As I celebrated the emphatic victory of the Blue Bulls over the Chiefs on Saturday, a bad taste was left in my mouth when I saw an old South African flag waving in stadium. That flag is right up there with the use of the word Kaffir as far as I’m concerned. If you wave that flag in front of me that’s what you are calling me. Having said that, I also know that not everyone who was there was glad that happened.

Did I enjoy the victory still? Yes. Did I celebrate? Yes. Was I proud of a South African team? Yes. But that does not take away from the fact that the flag dampened the mood over the occasion. In one second, it took us to the past. It has no future in the new South Africa.

The only place that flag must be in is a museum. I know that it still flies over the Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town, that is understandable, it is history. We cannot pretend that flag never existed, but we cannot hide the waving of the flag behind Freedom of Expression. Like any freedom we enjoy, Freedom of Expression has limits. A freedom with no limits leads to anarchy.

Chapter 2, section 16 on our Bill of Rights says the following about the Freedom of Expression:

1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, which includes ­
1. freedom of the press and other media;
2. freedom to receive or impart information or ideas;
3. freedom of artistic creativity; and
4. academic freedom and freedom of scientific research.

2. The right in subsection (1) does not extend to ­
1. propaganda for war;
2. incitement of imminent violence; or
3. advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that constitutes incitement to cause harm.

That flag will incite violence in the right place and at the right time. It also advocates hatred based on race and ethnicity. Banning that flag does not only protect those who are subjected to what it advocates, but those who advocate the hate it symbolizes too. Imagine what would happen to that guy if he were to wave that flag in a Kaiser Chiefs VS Orlando Pirates match. I am all for Freedom of Expression, but it can’t go unchecked. It must have limits.

I believed then just as I do now that the people who were around the flag carrier should have removed it from whoever was waving it by force. Remaining silent and doing nothing about the flag might be viewed as an endorsement of what it represents even if those who were around the flag carrier were repulsed by the man’s actions. In the words of Martin Luther King Junior, “In order for evil to triumph, good people do nothing.” We all know what it stands for. It stands for the subhumanising of people of colour, racism, oppression, torture and everything that was wrong and immoral about the previous regime.

We could make the mistake of reacting out of emotion and claim that all white rugby supporters are racist and therefore supported the flag waver. The truth is we know better than that.

If the Germans can ban the waving of the Nazi flag I don’t understand why we cannot do the same.

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§ 20 Responses to Old South African flag flag must be banned

  • Bishop says:

    You raise an interesting question here Khayav. Just how far can freedom of expression go before it crosses the line?

    As in the case you’ve pointed out, we’ve seen the concept abused by groups who use it to create disorder, foster hatred, or intimidate others. And when free speech is used to foster feelings of hate and anger, those sentiments usually boil over into violence.

    One must wonder why waving that flag is permitted when the desired result of such an action is clearly just to rile up others.

  • Emil says:

    I place my commentary from Commentary here. Sorry, I noticed too late you posted the same article here, too.

    “A person gets from a symbol the meaning he puts into it, and what is one man’s comfort and inspiration, is another’s jest and scorn,” said Justice Jackson.

    A symbol is a token which carries meaning, often an entire world of meaning, not necessarily because it resembles or portrays the thing symbolized, but because of the associations it raises in the mind of anyone who grasps its conventional significance. They have the unfortunate power to acquire the importance of what they symbolize. They become objects of veneration or hatred in their own right, and it becomes a sin (or, for enemies, a virtue) to mistreat them. Worst is that symbols live on in their own right long after what they symbolizes has long been forgotten.

    Sadly, the one symbol whose meaning is too often forgotten or ignored, is the white dove, icon of peace.

    Where do we draw the line? Banning this archaic symbol of oppression, to my mind, would be much the same as banning the image of Che Guiverra on T-shirts. Why not ban the hammer and sickle images too, as a symbol equally fiercely emotional, considering the countless millions whose liberty were brutally oppressed under it? In the same token, perhaps we should also consider banning the Union Jack from out stadiums, a symbol representing the discursive practices and the grim realities of imperialism.

    Waiving that flag is certainly insensitive and shouts ignorance. But incitement?

    What are you saying about Kaiser Chiefs & Orlando Pirates fans?

  • graeme says:

    Nice post Khaya! and also cool to see it picked up by the papers. In Germany they were forced in the West to confront their history and young Germans are some of the nicest most progressive people you can meet. The East of Germany never had to look at their history and even now most neo-nazi activity is in the Eastern part of the New Germany. The Germans banned the Nazi symbology for a really good reason, it is a virus and spreads in peoples heads and unto the next generation unless it is confronted. Way too many of the white folk in our country think that apartheid had noting to do with them, this is why they get so tetchy when the subject is raised. Because they know the truth but are too skarm to face up to facts and are indulging in the apartheid sponsored idea of willful ignorance and received wisdom. These fools are the ones who fly that execrable rag at sports matches, what a bunch of wankers. These are the people who need to be re-educated as to their roles and responsibilities in our shared South African history. But until they face up to facts they will remain in a state of perpetual denialism. I can’t see them confronting their own responsibility unless this is legislated for. It should be compulsory for all school children to study apartheid and its effects, this is the only way that a generation down the line we can actually have a less hate based society to build from. All of these symbols should be studied including their symbology, what the symbol means, and what it is taken to mean. Now I guess that most of the folk that this comment is targeted at don’t read this blog due to the willfully ignorant assumptions mentioned earlier, but white people catch a wake up! Your version of history is corrupt. Last time I came across that piece of shit flag was on Facebook, I contacted the person displaying it and explained (nicely) that it was offensive. After a long and vitriolic conversation where this ‘dude’ couldn’t get what I was talking about he removed it. In his mind that rag does not represent fascism, intolerance, racism and apartheid but was just a nice thing he remembers from being a kid. Wankers like him are the problem and if he had not removed it I would have felt incited to violence against him. And no-body wants to go back to the cold-civil war we had from 1976-1993, but these fools need to go wave their flags at home while engaging in suspicious and dodgy activities in the privacy of their own homes in front of fuckwits just like them. In public we should be activised and against any and all displays of the old flag.

    • Jan says:

      Greame, I’m one of the White fools you refer to. I actually did the trouble to Google This blog after I picked up the story on the Beeld website. I certainly don’t support the display or waving of the old flag {useless rag you refer to}, and don’t support the Idea that it should be seen in public meetings and gatherings like Loftus. I’m just amazed how quickly you guys can politicize this. You refer to the period ’76 to ’93. Here we are in the period ’94 to ‘2009, and still you carry this baggage with you.When will you let go? We have to tolerate everything you guys fuck up from municipal governance to SABC, model c schools,Police force, Metro police,Scorpions, ag, to much to mention. The corruption and general lack of discipline in the name of freedom. But we tolerate this shit to make things better for our children. I will definitely not teach my children apartheid history, but I will encourage him to embrace the future and the hope that we all have for this nation. When I see him play with his black mate from next door, and they play playstation together and share a bottle of coke in my house I’m not going to complicate things with a remembrance from the past that you can’t shake off.
      You guys life a good life now. I drive in admiration on the N3 everyday. I admire your cars, your clothing style. I go to Nandos and KFC, and find it packed with Africans. I shake my head in amazement when I see you pay R120.00 for a baby chicken.
      I hear your children denying their culture and laugh inside when I hear them talking English to one another. I think to myself, there’s whitty’s that was rich for a long time, but you don’t see them as extravagant as this. Embrace the changes my Friend. MR. Mandela has, and look how well his aging. He lost the baggage and travels through life light-footed. You probably don’t read the Bible, but even there we are taught to forget and forgive and to loose the baggage.
      To carry on like this you and your likes will probably be the wankers to incite violence and hatred. I think fuckwits like you should be activised against in public. You remind me of one of Melema’s product of stupidity!

      • Chalice says:

        you talk about the bible jan but look at your wording here. it has nothing to do with colour but purely people, because people are cruel and with out THE LOVE OF CHRIST you cannot live a happy life.

        You just blamed who right now an why.

        if only you were put in his shoes for a while and lived his everyday life, you would be saying sorry to God.

        let God deal with bad people. If you want to mention the bible act like a christian who walks the walk and talks the talk.

        dont blame colour blame Satan for the chaos in this world he is the one instigator, you should know that.

  • […] South African political commentator Khaya Dlanga has called for the old apartheid-era national flag to be banned, echoing the ban on swastikas in […]

    • hennie says:

      I am sorry, but wow i think it is a overreaction on your side,i dont think it should be banned simply because it is no threat to anyone.This flag is part of history,and that history was fought hard for against the British, so some people do feel that they still love the flag, i love the new flag too, but i do also love our old flag.

  • Olivier says:

    Dlanga, when were you born?


  • Olivier says:

    Dlanga, the whole day and no answer?
    Dodo, when were you born? What was your contribution to the struggle? Dodo, tell us about your scars, show us your scars, we would like to share in your pain. We would like to experience your anguish; we would like to feel one with a poor sod like you! Give facts.

    • Chalice says:


      I bet you will never know what it is like to live in his shoes hey???????????

      thats a struggle on its own. so i would not talk if i were you.

  • graeme says:

    @Jan dear deluded assumer…I am such a pale male that if I stand in the sun I go red then peel then I go back to sushi colour…so your assumption of who I am just re-inforces what I said about ‘catch a wake up’…you have an implicit us and them mentality and until you can sort that out your son will still pick up on the fact that you have not dealt with your ideological baggage, and continue to see himself and his mate as different, As you assume you and I to be different. This is normally where I would start swearing at you, but ag well no shame I won’t cos you probably just misinterpret it again!

  • Chalice says:

    hello Khaya my name is Chalice and I just want to say I understand how you feel.

    humans are the cruelest people on earth and all I can say to you is with out Jesus in your life these things are going to burden you because you cannot take on all problems in your own strength.
    so ignore nasty comments in this article.

    unfortunately there will always be people like this in the world. All I can advise you and others is rely on the Lord to heal hurts and help with everyday situations.

    people dont want to move on in they want to live in the past. they are trying to prove something to themselves.

    for greater is He that is in me than HE that is in the world – my friend. I hope this message helps you.

    Your friend Chalice

  • Steve Adams,author of MORGAN V says:

    Dlanga,I guess I get the drift of how it feels to live with this kind of symbolism and reminder of cruel apatheid.My book,MORGAN V[Raider Publishing,New York]deals,in part,with the realization that the kind of prejudices and attitude that sustained apartheid cannot be legislated against,though the institutional structures of racism may be obliterated,completely as is the case with your country.You can only defeat racism if you realize that you could refuse to hate those who spitefully mistreat you or your sensibility.Be strong,brother.

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  • Army Mom of One says:

    Actually, that is not a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it was from the late 1700s by a statesman by the name of Edmund Burke.

  • Russell Walker says:

    you will either have freedom of expression or you will have tyranny. the kaffirs never produced any civilization in their entire non-history. They are afraid of any competition of ideas and ideals. I live in the US and I proudly have an Old SA flag on my wall. It sure is better than the witchcraft ugly black colored flag presently in use.

  • Russ says:

    Flag was chosen in 1928 – 2 decades before apartheid was introduced. On the other hand, it is quite beautiful (I don’t say the current flag is not). Although I completely agree that freedom of expression must have limits (Holocaust, Armenian genocide denial, racist rhetoric etc), I don’t think this flag is symbol of hatred or discrimination.

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