Lesotho adopted its current national flag on October 4th, 2006 which coincided with the celebrations of the country’s 40th anniversary as an independent nation. The introduction of the flag came after Lesotho’s parliament voted for the bill that provided for the changing of the flag in September 2006. The current flag replaced the earlier flag, which had been used in the country for nearly two decades since 1987. The design of the flag is a reflection of peace and stability, and its colors and symbols represent these virtues. The peaceful design contrasts the previous design which had traditional war emblems including a spear and a shield.
The flag of Lesotho has a rectangular design whose width and length proportions are 2:3 respectively. The design features a horizontal triband made up of three colors; blue (Pantone reflex blue), white, and green (Pantone green) arranged from top to bottom. The bands are of different widths where the blue and green bands are of equal widths but are slightly narrower than the middle white band. The official proportions of the widths of the three bands are 3:4:3. The middle white stripe features the black image of the mokorotlo, a traditional hat and national symbol of Lesotho.
The design of the Flag of Lesotho revolves around the theme of peace and stability. The top blue band is said to represent rain or the clear blue skies. The middle white band is said to stand for peace and indicates the country’s internal peace and its peaceful relationship with its sole international neighbor, South Africa. The traditional Basotho hat, the mokorotlo is said to represent the Basotho cultural heritage. The bottom green stripe is said to symbolize prosperity or the fertile land that is Lesotho.
Centered on the flag of Lesotho is the mokorotlo which is also the flag’s distinctive feature. The mokorotlo is a traditional Basotho hat which is made out of straws. The straw hat is also recognized as one of Lesotho’s national symbols and also features on license plates in the country. The Sotho people traditionally wore the hat during important ceremonies. People in Lesotho wear the mokorotlo as a reflection of their national identity. The original design of the flag featured a brown mokorotlo image, but this was later changed to the current black mokorotlo image.
History of the Flag
Lesotho adopted its first flag on October 4th, 1966 on the day the country gained independence. The design of the independence flag featured a vertical triband of green, red, and blue stripes with a white mokorotlo charged on the blue stripe. This flag was replaced with a new flag in January 1987 after a military coup deposed the Basotho National Party. Designed by Sergeant Matete, the new flag’s design was made up of three diagonal bands of white, blue, and green, and also featured traditional military emblems of a lance, a club, and a shield. The flag was Lesotho’s national flag between 1987 and 2006 when it was replaced by the current national flag.
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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