Every 25 April is National Flag Day in Swaziland. This holiday looks back to the raising of Swaziland’s flag and the lowering of the British flag in 1968, when Swaziland gained its independence. The flag itself, however, was introduced by King Sobhuza II in 1941.
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What is now Swaziland was long the home of native Africans, but it came under the domination of the Boer Republic and then of the British Empire in the 1800’s. An official British protectorate, however, was not declared over Swaziland until the early 1900’s. The independence movement sprang up in the 1960’s and managed to succeed by 1968.
The flag of Swaziland is very colourful and very unique. It has two blue stripes, standing for peace, a red stripe, standing for blood shed in the nation’s wars, and two thin yellow stripes, representing this small nation’s rich natural resources.
A shield appears in the middle of the flag, representing the protection of Swaziland’s people, while two spears stand for the power of Swaziland’s royal house. The fact that the shield is part black and part white symbolises black and white populations of Swaziland living together in peace.
Major Flag Day activities in Swaziland include official flag-raising ceremonies, parades, and patriotic speeches.