January 5, 2009

The Adoption of the Vierkleur Flag.

The renown Transvaal Vierkleur flag of the old Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek - also called the Transvaal Republic - was adopted on this date Jan 6 1857. The same date as the birth of the ZAR itself which was then just composed out of the former Potchefstroom Republic joined with the Rustenburg district as the Zoutpansberg Republic & the Lydenburg Republic [ despite a prior agreement] were yet to join. Note: The Lydenburg Republic joined the ZAR in 1860 & the Zoutpansberg Republic joined the ZAR in 1863. Marthinus Pretorius [ the son of the famous Andries Pretorius & for which the later capital of the ZAR was named ] was sworn in as the first President of the ZAR on this date as well.

The Transvaal Vierkleur [ four colour ] flag was designed by a Dutch Reverend named Dirk van der Hoff & its red / white & blue horizontal tri colour motif recalls the first Boer Republican flag used at Swellendam & Graaff-Reinet in 1795 - during the time of the first Boer Republics - as well as the flag of van der Hoff's homeland of Holland. The ZAR Vierkleur flag was first raised at Potchefstroom. The Vierkleur was temporarily discontinued as the national flag of the ZAR from October 1874 until May of 1875 when Thomas Francois Burgers was President due to his dislike of the Vierkleur. The flag of the old Potchefstroom Republic was used instead during this brief time frame - but the Vierkleur was restored as the national flag of the ZAR by the Volksraad when President Burgers was abroad.

The Potchefstroom Republic flag was based on the Saltire flag used by the Voortrekkers who followed Hendrik Potgieter & was also used at the Winburg Republic as well as the later Zoutpansberg Republic. The main difference being that the Potchefstroom Republic flag [ as well as the one briefly used by the ZAR ] had a white border around the red saltire on the dark blue background thus adhering more to heraldic customs. This flag though was retained as the Presidential flag.

The Vierkleur flag was once again discontinued when Britain annexed the Transvaal Republic in 1877 but made a comeback again in 1880 when the local Boers rebelled against British rule thus starting the first Anglo-Boer War of which the Boers won & regained the independence of the ZAR in 1881 with the Pretoria Convention. Though Britain retained control of its foreign policy but that too later changed when the ZAR regained its full independence in 1884 with the signing of the London Convention.

The Transvaal Vierkleur [ as well as the OVS Vierkleur pictured at right ] became a very
important symbol to the Boerevolk during the second Anglo-Boer War as a symbol of resistance to British Colonial oppression in which close to 50 % of the Boer child population died in the concentration camps. Due to those circumstances the flag has taken on added significance other than just an old Boer Republican flag & is still flown by many today representing a nation which was almost wiped out but flies as proof of the continued existence of the Boer Nation.


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