THE KOGYERE MAURE: ORIGINS AND SYMBOLISM OF BUSONGORA'S FLAG
The flag of Busongora Kingdom is called the "Kogyere Maure". It consists of a rectangular white field with a charge in the centre consisting of the black female head in profile, facing to the its right. The charge represents the Empress Kogyere Rusija-Miryango who founded the kingdom around the year 1090 AD. The head is adorned with a band of white beads, and a pendant necklace also of white. These are typically worn by Songora women, although the head beads were also worn by Songora kings instead of - or in addition to - crowns.
Since the 11th century, the heraldic term Maure refers to the symbol of an African head, or more specifically any blackened image of an African, or a part of an African, or an item associated with or representing Africans. The oldest existing representations of African heads pictorially, in literature, and in statue date back tens of thousands of years. From the prehistoric petroglyphs, to more recent temples of ancient Africa we find images made by ancient Africans, with detailed emphasis on heads as forming the central feature of the identity of the depicted subjects.
That imagery and symbolism of the head is found in all African communities, with a wide variety of representations in language or image. The African masks are one popular form, but there are many others. The significance of the head as a symbol of justice is what is crucial when used on a flag. The black head Maure symbolizes the triumph of reason over the senses.
The use of the Maure flags in Africa is old. The use of Maure head figures as symbols of state date back before even the founding of the first Egyptian Dynasty in 3299 BCE. The Maure was used as the flag of Carthage 300 years before the birth of Christ.
The white flag with the black profile became the flag of several separate Orders named for of St. Maurice, that sprung up all over Europe in the 12th century. From 1281 to 1387 the Maure was used on the seals of the kings of Aragon. In Corsica beginning in 1281, and later during the struggle for independence in 1736, the Maure was used as the flag of the Corsican nationalists. It was later adopted as the flag of Corsica. The Corsican Maure was female.
In heraldic tradition that has grown out of this rich past, the Maure - also known as the "Moor's Head" - refers to "a black's head, generally in profile, and frequently banded". There are various kinds of medieval descriptions of the Maure that include "Argent, three moor's heads couped at the shoulders proper filleted or and gules (1732-35), or, in referance to a Blackmore blazon, "on a fesse between three Moor's heads erased sable as many crescents argent"; "...a blackamoor's head couped sable"; "a cross gules between four blackamoor's heads affrontee, couped at the shoulders proper, wreathed about the temples gold (1633); "Per fesse argent and sable, a pale counterchanged three negro's heads proper".
The escutcheons (coat of arms) of the blackamoor proliferated in both private and civic European Orders throughout the 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th centuries. Heraldic descriptions such as "Argent, three blackamoors' heads couped sable, capped or, fretty gules" on coats of arms became common shortly after 1096. Even today, Sardinia's coat of arms bears four African heads each displayed in one of the four quarters created by the cross on the white shield.
The white ground Maure was also the original flag of the Africans during the successful slave revolt in Haiti (San Domingo) in 1799 AD.