Changes to Fiji’s Flag in 2016 Will Leave Behind Its Colonialist Past

A sovereign state located right outside of Australia, Fiji has a population of 887,027 people who inhabit the 7,054 square mile island.

Fiji gained its independence from Britain in 1970. Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, a former coup leader elected in Fiji’s first election in eight years, announced in 2014 that it was “time to dispense with the colonial symbols.” The Prime Minister argued that the existing flag did not reflect Fiji's current situation because it includes symbols representative of its colonial past. He wanted the new flag to “reflect Fiji's position in the world today as a modern and truly independent nation state.”

The present Fiji flag is a light shade of blue and sports images of bananas, sugar cane, a dove of peace, and a palm tree. It also features a shield with the cross of Saint George and a lion with the Union Jack, also known as the Union Flag. The Union Jack looks like a small version of the British flag, with red and white crosses on a blue background. It is commonly featured on flags of countries formerly colonized by Great Britain.

After holding a national competition, a design was chosen to be the new Fiji flag. The new design will become public on October 10, 2016, the 45th anniversary of Fiji's independence.

Three sovereign states, once British colonies, still include the Union Jack on their flags as a national symbol: Tuvalu, Australia, and New Zealand. Hopefully, they too can follow Fiji in its footsteps.

[Source: ABC News]