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Namibian Municipal flags and arms

Last modified: 2009-06-27 by bruce berry
Keywords: walvis bay | ongwediva | swakopmund |
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  • Ongwediva
  • Swakopmund
  • Walvis Bay
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    image by Jens Pattke, 18 Apr 2009


    Ongwediva is a town in Oshana Region of Namibia. It was developed in the 1960s by the occupying South African military forces during the Namibian War of Independence. Following the independence of Namibia and upon the passing of the new Local Authorities Act 1992, Ongwediva was proclaimed as a town with a Town Council. The Town Council was elected at the end of 1992 (

    Town flag has a white field with town emblem in the centre.
    Valentin Poposki, 18 Apr 2009




    image by Jens Pattke, 19 Apr 2009


    The Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper reports that the shield on the Coat of Arms of Swakopmund in Namibia has been changed.  The old Arms of Swakopmund has a shield in the former German Empire colours of black-white-red. This shield has been replaced with the present Namibian national flag. The three-thorn bush has also been changed to the Welwitschia plant which is also featured on the Namibian coat of arms.  The rest of the detail remains the same.

    image by Jens Pattke, 19 Apr 2009

    The Namibian newspaper reports:

    The Swakopmund Town Council has decided to give the town a new coat of arms "to keep up with the times".  Swakopmund Municipality CEO Eckart Demasius says the changes include replacing the three-thorn bush with a Welwitschia, while the black, white and red colours representing the German imperial flag will make place for the Namibian flag.  Although the council has approved the concept, it still needs refining and approval by the local heritage committee, according to Demasius.  "Hopefully we'll have it displayed publicly within this year, but it will take some time". 


    He said the three-thorn bush represented the three "colonial languages" - German, Afrikaans and English.  The Welwitschia, on the other hand, symbolises the beauty and uniqueness of Swakopmund - its two leaves depicting equal opportunity and equal rights. "It also shows the beauty and uniqueness of Namibia's and Swakopmund's diversity in tradition and culture, something the three-thorn bush fails to expound on," he said.


    What will not change is the German castle - an obvious landmark in town - the Swakopmund lighthouse and the slogan 'Providentiae Memor' (Mindful of Providence). Demasius said once the new design was approved by the heritage committee and that the mayoral chain and stationery would have to be replaced.
    Jens Pattke, 19 Apr 2009


    Walvis Bay


    [Walvis Bay CoA] image from this website, reported by Jarig Bakker, 23 May 2001

    I was looking for a flag of the Namibian town of Walvisbaai / Walvis Bay. This former South African town and seaport (part of Namibia since 1995), has no other flag flying at the municipality other than the Namibian national flag. (There are other symbols related to Walvisbaai as the logo of the Port, or the logo of the Economic Exclusive Zone, but these are commercial).
    Perhaps, there is no flag of Walvisbaai?
    You can find the name of the town written in two different ways: English: Walvis Bay - Afrikaans: Walvisbaai
    The most common form is in English. But probably it's only an hybrid, an incorrect way because the name in English should be Whale Bay (never used), as "walvis" is Dutch and not English.
    Santiago Tazon, 23 May 2001

    Walvis Bay does not fly a distinctive municipal flag. English is now the official language of Namibia and hence Walvisbaai is no longer used (officially anyway!).
    Walvis Bay is the principle port of Namibia located on the Atlantic Coast. Until March 1994 the town was part of South Africa and administered as part of the former Cape Province of South Africa. Municipal arms were originally granted by the then Administrator of South West Africa on 01 December 1964 and later registered with the South African Bureau of Heraldry on 30 October 1967.  The arms are described as:
    ARMS: Or, on a fess wavy Azure a barrulet way Argent, in chief a whale and in base a pelican, both proper
    CREST: An anchor cabled erect, Sable
    SUPPORTERS: Two flamingos proper
    MOTTO: IN UTRUMQUE PARATUS (Prepared for Either).
    Bruce Berry, 24 May 2001

    I have just read an article on Walvis Bay in Namibia, located to the west of Windhoek, that it was a very important navy port in the past. In 1966 it seems to have become part of the UN mandate on South West Africa but in 1977 South Africa incorporated Walvis Bay into the Cape Province and ignored the UN's resolution.  In  my "The Complete World Atlas " published in 2000 by Maes & Zeijlstra I learned that Walvis Bay is still part of South African territory. Even after independence of Namibia, does South Africa still control Walvis Bay? And if so what is the flag of Walvis Bay?
    Nozomi Kariyasu, 3 Dec 2001

    The situation with Walvis Bay is as follows:
    12 Mar 1878 - Walvis Bay becomes a British Protectorate
    7 Aug 1885 - Incorporated into the Cape Colony
    31 May 1910 - Becomes part of the Union of South Africa (along with Cape Colony)
    1922 - Administration of Walvis Bay assigned to South West Africa Mandate by League of Nations
    1977 - Walvis Bay re-integrated into South Africa (as part of the Province of the Cape of Good Hope) ignoring the UN mandate
    1 Mar 1994 - Walvis Bay ceded to Republic of Namibia by South Africa

    South Africa no longer administers Walvis Bay, having ceded it to Namibia in 1994. When administered as part of South Africa, Walvis Bay did not have its own flag. Walvis Bay is not considered a separate entity by Namibia and as such does not currently have a flag of its own. The town of Walvis Bay, however, does have municipal arms which are sometimes displayed on a flag.
    Bruce Berry, 3 Dec 2001

    The town's name is a hybrid, Walvis Bay in English. The Afrikaans name is Walvisbaai. The bay was named in its first annexation by the Dutch in the time of Jan van Riebeeck, but the annexation was a dead letter and the bay was never occupied by the Dutch. The bay quite possibly got its name from one of the ships in Van Riebeeck’s fleet, which was called Walvis. The name was also given to one of the four bastions of the Fort de Goede Hoop which Van Riebeeck built.

    The bay was annexed by Britain in 1878 and became part of the Cape Colony in 1884. The extent of the Walvis Bay territory was 1 124 km2 , much of it desert but including an important wetland south of the main bay at Sandwich Bay. It was intended that further territory in the vicinity would be annexed in due course, since the area fell into the British "sphere of influence". However Britain was out maneuvered by Germany, when in 1892 it acknowledged Lüderitz's treaties with local chiefs and made further annexations along the coast. German maps referred to the bay as "Walfischbucht", and since these were often seen in South Africa and South West Africa, it was often imagined that the German name was actually in use at some point in time. There are references to "Walfisch Bay" or even "Wallfish Bay", a totally spurious name.

    On 1 October 1922 Walvis Bay was – for all practical purposes – handed over to the administration of the Mandated Territory of South West Africa (formed in January ’21), although in terms of international law it remained part of South Africa and the Cape Province. On 30 August 1977 the Cape Province again became responsible for the administration of Walvis Bay. For parliamentary electoral purposes it was at first part of the constituency of Sea Point (in Cape Town), and later of Namaqualand. (The Sea Point constituency, when it included Walvis, also included the guano islands along the coast. Some of these are still part of South Africa, but several of them were off the coast of South West Africa/Namibia.)
    Following Namibian independence in 1990, agitation arose for Walvis Bay to be handed over to that country began. This was finally done by the National Party government in 1993. The guano islands north of the Orange River were handed over at the same time. The Namibian government also demanded that the Orange River boundary be shifted from the north bank to the middle of the river, as is usual in river boundaries. Pretoria made sympathetic noises but did nothing until early 2001, when the Department of Foreign Affairs announced that it would stick to the policy of the Organisation of African Unity and keep the boundary as it was. The unorthodox arrangement regarding the Orange River's north bank was originally made by Sir Harry Smith when he was Governor of the Cape in 1848. It also affects the Free State Province, which has, however, remained silent on the question.
    Mike Oettle, 18 Dec 2001