Unfurling the OAU Flag: Proper Display and Folding Techniques


The OAU Flag is a significant symbol of pride and unity for many African nations. It represents the principles of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), which was founded to promote cooperation and development among African countries. Properly displaying and folding the flag is an important way to show respect for this symbol and the ideals it represents. In this article, we will explore the history and meaning of the OAU Flag, as well as provide detailed instructions for correctly displaying and folding it. Whether you are a member of an African nation, or simply interested in African history and culture, this guide will provide valuable insights into this important symbol of unity and cooperation.


Topic: Overview
Main Points:
  • Introduction to the article’s focus on the OAU flag
  • Explanation of the purpose of the article
  • An invitation to learn about the history, meaning, display, and folding of the OAU flag
Internal Link: OAU Flag History

The section sets the stage for the rest of the article by introducing the OAU flag as the subject of discussion. This section briefly outlines the contents of the article and what readers can expect to learn. It also includes an internal link to delve deeper into the history of the OAU flag.

Throughout the article, we will explore the history of the OAU flag, its colors and symbols, its design and dimensions, and proper etiquette for its display and folding. By the end of this article, you will have a thorough understanding of the OAU flag and be able to properly display and fold it. So, let’s unfurl the OAU flag and begin our journey of discovery.

History of the OAU Flag

The OAU (Organization of African Unity) was formed on May 25, 1963, with the main goal of promoting unity and solidarity among African nations while also addressing issues such as political independence, economic stability, and social progress. As a result of this, the OAU flag was born.

The OAU flag went through several design iterations before the final version was presented. The first draft had a red, gold, and green tricolor design with a single gold star in the center. The final design was chosen by a committee of nine African leaders and had a plain field of deep blue in the center, with 12 five-pointed gold stars arranged in a circle on the field and two crossed palm leaves beneath the field.

The gold stars represent the 12 African countries that were independent at that time. Additionally, the palm leaves symbolize peace, while the blue field signifies the water resources, commerce, and hope for a better future.

Over time, the OAU flag has undergone some changes primarily in symbolism, creating a new flag for the African Union(AU). However, the original OAU flag remains a symbol of African unity and pride.

Here are some other interesting facts about the history of the OAU flag:

The OAU flag was first raised on May 25, 1963, at the founding of the organization. (source)
The motto for the OAU is “Africa Unite,” which is inscribed below the circle of stars on the OAU flag. (source)
The colors and symbols of the OAU flag were chosen to represent the African continent and its people. (source)
The design process for the OAU flag involved a competition with over 120 entries. (source)
The OAU flag has been compared to the flags of other African countries and the Pan-African flag. (source)
The current African Union (AU) flag was adopted in 2004 and features similar colors and symbols as the OAU flag. (source)

Knowing the history of the OAU flag is essential for anyone who wants to understand the significance of this symbol of African unity and progress.

Understanding the OAU flag

The OAU flag is a symbol of African unity and was created to represent the Organization of African Unity. It features five horizontal stripes, colored in green, gold, red, black and blue respectively. Each color on the flag has a significant meaning, representing important values for the African continent. For example, green symbolizes hope and optimism for the future, gold represents wealth and prosperity, while red signifies the bloodshed during Africa’s struggles for liberation. The flag’s design is simple yet meaningful, reflecting the diverse and vibrant nature of the African culture and people. The OAU flag has a special place in the history of the African continent and remains an important symbol of unity and strength. To learn more about the OAU flag and its significance, you can check out our article on OAU flag and its connection to the African continent.

Symbols and Meaning

The OAU flag features several symbols that hold significant meaning. The main symbol showcased in the flag is the African continent. It is represented in the center of the flag by a stylized map of the continent in gold color. The golden color of the map represents the wealth and richness of Africa’s resources.

Around the map are 12 five-pointed stars that are arranged in a circle. These stars represent the 12 countries that came together to form the OAU in 1963. The stars were also meant to symbolize unity among African countries.

The dark green background of the flag is another important symbol. It represents the lush forests and fields found across the continent. This is a representation of the enormous agricultural potential of Africa.

The three stripes of the flag each hold a specific meaning. The top stripe is red, symbolizing the blood that was shed during Africa’s struggles for independence. The middle stripe is white, symbolizing peace and hope for the future. The bottom stripe is green, symbolizing Africa’s natural riches.

In combination, these symbols portray the OAU’s mission to promote unity, peace, and development on the African continent. The flag represents the collective aspirations of African countries. It’s a symbol of African pride and identity.

Design and Dimensions

The OAU (Organization of African Unity) flag is a simple but powerful representation of the unity and strength of Africa. The flag is comprised of three horizontal stripes, colored from top to bottom in red, black, and green, respectively. These colors hold significant symbolism in African history and pride.

More specifically, the red stripe represents the blood of those who fought for African liberation and independence. The black stripe represents the color of the African people, while the green stripe is a symbol of African growth and the abundant natural resources of the continent.

The dimensions of the flag are also significant. The exact dimensions of the flag are not specified, but it is supposed to be proportional to a width-to-length ratio of 2:3. This ratio is commonly used in flag design and is meant to ensure that the flag is easily recognizable and highly visible.

Another important aspect of the flag’s design is that it is simple and easily recognizable. This simplicity ensures that the flag is easy to reproduce and display, even in difficult circumstances. The OAU flag has been flown proudly at many historic moments in African history, including the independence movements of the 20th century.

The design and dimensions of the OAU flag hold significant symbolism and historical significance. The colors and proportions of the flag represent African pride, unity, and growth. Its simplicity ensures easy recognition and reproduction, making it a powerful symbol of African liberation, independence, and identity.

Displaying the OAU flag

Displaying The Oau Flag
When it comes to displaying the OAU flag, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind. First and foremost, it is important to ensure that the flagpole is at the proper height and positioned correctly. The flagpole should be tall enough that the flag is visible from a distance, but not so tall that it is difficult to handle when raising or lowering the flag. Additionally, the flag should be hoisted to the top of the flagpole slowly and ceremoniously, with care taken not to let it touch the ground. It is also important to choose the right location for displaying the OAU flag. The flag is most commonly flown at government offices, embassies, and other official buildings, as well as at events and conferences. Finally, when it comes time to take the flag down, it should be carefully lowered, folded according to the proper procedure, and stored in a safe and respectful manner.

Proper Flagpole Height and Positioning

When displaying the OAU flag, the height and positioning of the flagpole are important considerations. Here are some guidelines to follow:

Type of Flagpole Height of Flagpole Distance from Other Flags
In-ground flagpole 6ft – 10ft Minimum of 2ft away from other flags
Wall-mounted flagpole 6ft – 10ft Minimum of 2ft away from other flags
Parade flagpole 8ft – 9ft N/A

For in-ground and wall-mounted flagpoles, the height of the flagpole should be between 6ft and 10ft. The lower end of this range is suitable for residential areas, while the higher end of the range is more appropriate for commercial or government buildings with high ceilings.

Each flag should have a clear space around it. When flying the OAU flag with other flags, hang it separately and at equal or superior height.

If you are using an in-ground or wall-mounted flagpole, the flagpole should be positioned at a minimum of 2ft away from other flags. This ensures that the OAU flag has sufficient clearance and won’t become entangled with other flags.

For parade flagpoles, the height should be between 8ft and 9ft for maximum visibility. There’s no need to worry about the distance from other flags in a parade setting, as there should be ample space.

By following these guidelines for proper flagpole height and positioning, you can ensure that the OAU flag is displayed with the respect and dignity it deserves.

When and Where to Display the OAU Flag

OAU flag is an important symbol for the African states and, as such, deserves to be displayed properly and with great respect. The flag can be displayed on different occasions and in various locations, depending on the significance of the event or the place in question.

Public Buildings and Grounds

Public buildings and grounds are considered as appropriate locations for displaying the OAU flag. This includes government buildings, embassies, schools, and other public institutions.

National Holidays and Observances

Displaying the OAU flag during national holidays and observances is customary and shows pride in the African continent and its achievements. It can be raised alongside other national and regional flags during such occasions.

International Conferences and Events

OAU flag can also be displayed during international conferences, events, and meetings related to the African continent or its member states. This can help promote African unity and solidarity and showcase the OAU as an important organization that represents the interests of its members.

Sporting Events

Sporting events can also be an appropriate occasion to display the OAU flag. This includes international competitions and events where African teams or athletes are participating, as well as local and regional sports events that celebrate African culture and sport.

Funerals and State Burials

In some cases, the OAU flag can also be displayed during funerals and state burials of African leaders or other prominent figures. This can be a sign of respect and honor and can help commemorate their contributions to the African continent and its people.


Knowing when and where to display the OAU flag is important to show our respect for this important symbol of African unity and cooperation. By following the established rules and guidelines for flag etiquette, we can honor the OAU and the African continent that it represents.

Overnight Display Etiquette

When the OAU flag is intended for overnight display, certain etiquette must be observed to show respect and maintain its integrity. Failure to comply with overnight display etiquette can lead to damage to the flag, which will be disrespectful.

Firstly, when displaying the OAU flag overnight, it must be properly illuminated. The light source must be sufficient enough to clearly show the flag even at night. The light should be placed at a proper distance and angle so as not to impair the flag’s visual appeal. The flag must also be taken down at dawn, or when it gets too dark.

Secondly, if the flag is to be displayed for several days, it must be checked daily for damage or signs of wear and tear. Any damage must be noted and repaired immediately, or the flag should be replaced altogether. This is important so as not to allow the flag to be displayed in a damaged or defaced condition, which could be disrespectful and a violation of the flag’s integrity.

Thirdly, when taking down the OAU flag, it must be done respectfully. The flag should be lowered slowly and smoothly, ensuring that it does not touch the ground or any other object. The flag must be folded carefully and stored in a clean, dry, and safe place until the next use.

Lastly, when the OAU flag is displayed overnight, it must never be flown alone. The American flag should always be flown above it, and no other flags should be flown on the same flagpole. This is a sign of respect to the OAU flag and is consistent with proper flag etiquette.

Displaying the OAU flag overnight requires attention to detail and respect for the flag’s integrity. Proper illumination, daily inspection, respectful lowering, and careful storage are essential to maintaining the flag’s integrity. Any violation of overnight display etiquette could be considered disrespectful and may have negative consequences.

Folding the OAU flag

When it comes to folding the OAU flag, it is important to do it correctly to show respect for the organization it represents. The process involves several steps, and each of them is significant. First, hold the flag with the emblem facing up and parallel to the ground. Then, fold it in half horizontally, making sure that the top and bottom edges line up. Next, fold the flag in half again so that the edges with the emblem are on the outside, and carefully align the edges. Repeat this process, making each fold slightly smaller than the last, until the flag forms a triangle. Finally, tuck the remaining strip of fabric into the pocket that is formed by the last fold. It is crucial to treat the OAU flag with the utmost respect and to follow these steps correctly every time it is folded.

Step-by-Step Folding Instructions

Folding the OAU flag is an important step towards maintaining its integrity and longevity. Here are the step-by-step folding instructions:

1. Begin by holding the flag parallel to the ground with two people holding it at opposite corners.

2. Fold the flag in half lengthwise so that the top half covers the bottom half and the blue and gold stripes align.

3. Fold the flag in half lengthwise once more, with the blue stripe on the outside.

4. Starting at the bottom of the flag, begin making triangular folds from one end to the other, so that the folds form a triangle shape and the blue stripe is visible on the outside.

5. Continue making triangular folds until only a small portion of the blue stripe is visible.

6. Tuck the remaining portion of the flag into the folds to secure it in place.

7. Finally, use the excess fabric to create a triangle shape, folding it over the flag to create a neat bundle.

Remember to handle the flag with care while folding it, as rough handling may cause damage to the fabric or seams. Proper folding techniques will also make it easier to unfold the flag when it is next needed. By following these step-by-step instructions, you can ensure that your OAU flag remains in good condition and ready for display when required.


In conclusion, properly displaying and folding the OAU flag is an important sign of respect for the values and principles it represents. By understanding its symbols and meaning, as well as its design and dimensions, flag bearers can help promote unity and solidarity within the African continent. Remembering the proper flagpole height and positioning, knowing when and where to display the flag, and following overnight display etiquette are also crucial. Finally, following the step-by-step folding instructions will ensure the flag is neatly and respectfully put away. Let us all take pride in displaying and handling the OAU flag with honor and dignity.

Final Thoughts

After understanding the symbols and history of the OAU flag, as well as the correct way to display and fold it, it’s important to remember the significance of this flag. This flag represents the unity and strength of the African states that make up the OAU. It’s a symbol of the determination of the African people to overcome the challenges that they face, and to work together towards a better future.

It’s important to treat the OAU flag with the utmost respect when displaying and folding it. This is not just a piece of cloth, but a symbol of the hopes and dreams of millions of Africans. Follow the proper procedures for display and folding, and remember to handle the flag with care and consideration.

By displaying and honoring the OAU flag in the correct way, we pay tribute to the ideals that it represents. Let us all work towards a brighter future for Africa, guided by the shining example of the OAU.

Remember: The proper handling of the OAU flag is not just a matter of tradition and etiquette, but an important way to show respect for the people and ideals that it represents. By following the correct procedures for display and folding, we can honor the legacy of the OAU and work together towards a better world.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the OAU Flag?

The OAU Flag is the official banner of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), a continental body that aimed to promote cooperation and solidarity among African nations.

2. What are the symbols on the OAU Flag?

The symbols on the OAU Flag include a gold eagle, which represents Africa’s spirit of freedom, and interlocking rings, which signify African unity.

3. What are the dimensions of the OAU Flag?

The OAU Flag has a 2:3 aspect ratio and is typically 3 feet by 5 feet in size.

4. How do I properly display the OAU Flag?

To properly display the OAU Flag, it should be raised on a flagpole that is at least 6 feet in height, positioned in a prominent location, and illuminated at night if it is being displayed overnight.

5. When should I display the OAU Flag?

The OAU Flag should be displayed on special occasions such as African Unity Day (May 25) and during official events that promote African unity and cooperation.

6. Can the OAU Flag be flown with other flags?

Yes, the OAU Flag can be flown with other national or state flags. If flown with the flags of other nations, it should be raised at the same height as those flags and positioned on its own flagpole.

7. How should I fold the OAU Flag?

The OAU Flag should be folded into a triangular shape, starting from the bottom edge and folding towards the hoist or flagpole side.

8. Can the OAU Flag be washed?

Yes, the OAU Flag can be washed with mild soap and water and hung to dry. It should not be ironed or dry cleaned.

9. What is the history of the OAU Flag?

The OAU Flag was adopted in 1970 at the first OAU Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It was designed to represent African unity and solidarity.

10. What should I do if the OAU Flag needs to be retired?

The OAU Flag should be retired and disposed of in a respectful manner, such as burning it in a private ceremony. It should not be thrown in the trash or left to decay.


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