The current Rwanda flag was officially adopted in 2001 on October 25th. Its design was created by a local artist, Alphonse Kirimobenecyo, and as most flags, it features a 2:3 ratio. The flag of Rwanda is comprised of three horizontal stripes. The top stripe is blue, and takes up the top half of the flag, while the bottom half is shared equally by the yellow and green stripes. The top right corner of the flag features a striking yellow sun with a total of 24 rays. However, the sun emblem is always made from a different shade of yellow than the one showcased by the flag’s yellow strip. The Pantone system refers to this particular shade as “sun yellow,” which is likely why it was chosen for that emblem.
The new Rwanda flag represents a variety of national characteristics, including confidence in the future, heroism and national unity. The blue stripe symbolizes peace and happiness and the yellow, mineral wealth and economic development. Finally, the green symbolizes the general prosperity of the nation and the unification of its people. The sun emblem and its rays represent enlightenment, hope for the future and respect for the country’s heroes.
The previous flag of Rwanda featured a red-yellow-green pattern of stripes, as well as a large black “R” for the purpose of distinguishing it from the flag of Guinea, which would otherwise be identical. The tricolors represented peace and the country’s hope for its future development and the pattern was derived from Ethiopia’s flag. However, the colors were closely associated with Pan-African colors and it was for this reason that the flag was changed. Rwanda was concerned about its flag becoming associated with the 1994 African genocide.
The “New Times,” a newspaper published in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda, reported in 2006 that residents of Rwanda were still flying the old national flag with the black R at international events, despite the fact that it was superseded by the current flag. For instance, a Rwanda cultural group that won first prize in an Italian folklore competition, raised the old flag in 2005. However, other Rwandans quickly raised the current flag, possibly to avoid embarrassment, as the folklore competition was an international event. Nevertheless, throughout Rwanda, it is the country’s current flag that is most often flown, which no one can deny features a beautiful and striking combination of bold colors, as well as a creative design.