The flag bears striking similarities with those of Sudan (from whom Southern Sudan seceded in 2011), and Kenya. It shares the black, white, red, and green of the Sudanese flag (though different symbolism is given to the colours), in addition to having a triangle along the hoist. The horizontal black, white, red, and green bands, fimbriated white, are the same design as the Kenyan flag, and the Pan-African symbolism it conveys.
The Southern Sudanese government also specifies that the colours of the flag are to represent:
Black: Black African skin.
Red: Blood that was shed by the liberation struggle martyrs.
Green: The country's natural resources and verdant land.
White: Peace attained after many years of the liberation struggle.
Blue: Waters of the Nile River, a source of life for the country.
Yellow: The unity of the states making up South Sudan.