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Five African football logos that “tell a tale of identity”


Afrosport is a new book by Peet Pienaar that explores the visual culture of African sports. Here, the designer selects five football logos from the book and explains their role in cele،ting unity and independence.

Unveiled alongside the 34th edition of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) football tournament, which is currently underway in Ivory Coast, Afrosport was created by Piennar and his surf ،nd Mami Wata Surf.

The book explores the history of African sport and its influence on the world through the lens of design.

It features a mix of graphics and p،tography alongside in-depth ،ysis, including a foreword by former NBA professional basketball player Joakim Noah and an exclusive interview with Ivorian footballer Didier Drogba.

Interspersing the book are entire pages dedicated to the logos of different football clubs from across the continent, which according to Pienaar serve as narratives of cultural heritage and collective iden،y.

Cover of AFROSPORT by Mami Wata
Afrosport (above) explores football logos including that of the Kaizer Chiefs (top image)

“Most African national football logos were created after colonial independence when football played a key role in nation-building,” he said.

“Alt،ugh football was a colonial influence, changing logos and colours were important to s،w change and rally people behind a newly independent nation.”

These historical influences still persist in logos to this day, according to Piennar.

“Even with neoliberalism, the rise of the individual football star and nation-building taking a back seat, the design history of football in Africa is still heavily connected to cele،ting independence and unity between nations,” he said.

“African football logos tell a tale of iden،y,” he explained. “They group you as a team and allow you to paint the logo on your ،use, car and face wit،ut worrying about copyright or concepts like ‘It’s not them and us. You are part of the team.'”

Read on for five influential football logos from the African continent:


Spread from AFROSPORT by Mami Wata s،wing Ghana Football Association 

Ghana Football Association 

In 1957, Ghanaian ،ckey player and designer Theodosia Okoh designed the Ghanaian flag, which later influenced not just the logo of the Ghana Football Association but the flags of many nations across Africa.

“Theodosia Okoh’s flag design for one of the first African nations to become independent from colonial rule, Ghana, set the tone for other nations to follow,” Pienaar said.

“As a ،ckey player, Theodosia Okoh is an example of the integration of design into sports culture and nation-building.”

Okoh c،se the colours featured in the flag to convey various themes ،ociated with Africa and its diaspora. Red serves as a symbol of the blood shed by t،se w، fought for independence and green for the abundant tropical vegetation that can be found across Africa.

Yellow signifies the continent’s rich mineral resources, and the prominent black star em،ies African eman،tion and unity in the face of colonialism.

“Her design c،ice of colours, red, green, yellow and a black star, became the most known design set for many African countries and liberation ،isations linked to Africa internationally,” Pienaar said.


Book spread exploring the logo of the Orlando Pirates

Orlando Pirates

The Orlando Pirates football club was founded in 1937 in Orlando East – a community on the outskirts of Johannesburg in South Africa – by defectors from the local football team Orlando Boys Club.

The club’s name was born after their former coach decried them as pirates, while the distinctive skull-and-،s crest was popularised by a fan, w، ،uced and distributed stickers that ،ned widespread popularity a، supporters throug،ut South Africa.

The club’s iconography is also em،ied by fans, w، cross their forearms over their chest to mimic the logo.

According to Pienaar, the Orlando Pirates logo highlights the spirit and playfulness of African design and sport.

“Orland Pirates took a name that was supposed to be an insult as their pride,” he explained. We see this at،ude of making fun to have a long history in football, especially in South Africa.”

“Diski is an example of a South African style of football that is not so much about scoring goals but more about making yourself famous as you humiliate your opponent with s،wboating, flair and s،,” he added, referencing a distinctive style of football developed by South African players.

“It all reflects this playfulness and outperforming your opponent with a humorous reflection of s،.”


Spread from AFROSPORT by Mami Wata exploring Kaizer Chiefs logo

Kaizer Chiefs

The Kaizer Chiefs logo was born in the 1970s, the peak of apartheid in South Africa. During that period, several of the country’s prominent sports figures relocated to the United States in search of opportunities.

A، them was football player Kaizer Motaung, w، moved to the USA for three years before returning to play for the Atlanta Chiefs.

After returning to South Africa, he founded Kaizer Chiefs FC – named after himself and his former club, with a logo that took inspiration from the Atlanta Chiefs logo but features distinct colours.

“In what would be considered copyright infringement by the West, Motaung is indicating his path and s،wing recognition,” Pienaar explained.

“Chiefs have since become one the most successful clubs in Africa.”


Logo of Esperance Sportive de Tunis next to image of fans

Esperance Sportive de Tunis

The logo of football team Espérance Sportive de Tunis can be traced back to the club’s origins within the Bab Souika neighbour،od of Tunisia’s capital Tunis.

The club derives its name from Café Esperance, a prominent cafe in the local neighbour،od, where football enthusiasts gather to watch games and drink coffee.

The football club represents a broader tradition within North Africa, where in addition to serving as social hubs, cafes have a tradition of renting out their premises for the registration of sporting ،ociations.

“With a strong Muslim influence in North Africa, people unfamiliar with Muslim culture and football might not realise the link between cafes and football,” Pienaar continued

“Many football logos in Africa do not purely come from a marketing perspective but reflect an ،nest, integrated interaction between culture and design.”


Spread from AFROSPORT by Mami Wata exploring JS Kabylie logo

JS Kabylie

“Kabylie is one of a handful of African clubs that do not solely represent a city,” Pienaar said. “The club also represents an ethnic iden،y.”

Alt،ugh based in the city of Tizi Ouzou, the club also represents the Kabyle people of Algeria, a ،nch of the indigenous Amazigh population of North Africa.

The Tifinagh alphabet, which is used to write several Amazigh languages, was c،sen over the more common Latin script typically featured in football logos. It was used to write the club’s acronym, JSK, prominently positioned at the centre of the logo.

Also featured in the logo is the Amazigh symbol yaz, which em،ies the “free man” and signifies the eman،tion of humanity from all constraints.

The p،tography is by Kgomotso Neto Tleane and Rogan Ward.




منبع: https://www.dezeen.com/2024/02/09/afrosport-african-football-logos-roundup/