The flag of Mali is a tricolor with three equal vertical stripes. From the hoist,(or the place where the flagpole meets the flag) the colours are green, gold, and red, the pan-African colors.
The current flag was adopted on March 1, 1961. The original flag was adopted on April 4, 1959, when Mali joined the Mali Federation. This flag was the same, except the golden stripe had a human stick figure, a kanaga, in black, with arms raised to the sky. The figure was removed because of Islamic aniconism, the belief against making pictures of the human figure. (Mali is about 90% Muslim). The flag adopted in 1959 for the Confederation was an imitation of the flag of Ghana, but following the style of the French Tricolore. It was changed with a black emblem known as a kanaga, a stylized human figure. The colors were intended to reflect a unity with other African nations. After the two countries split up in 1960, the flag was kept for use in Mali until March 1, 1961, when the kanaga emblem was dropped.