What is a Coat of Arms?
"Traditionally, a national Coat of Arms comprises a number of elements or symbols that are reflective of a country, its culture and its peoples, for example: flora and fauna; cultural symbols or artefacts; natural phenomena; and a motto."
Dr Ben Ngubane - Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology
A Coat of Arms is not just a collection of visual representation of the different aspects of the country. It is more than just the sum of its parts. It assumes a greater significance - it becomes the mission statement of the country - a graphic illustration of the country's hopes and aspirations. This more abstract symbolism is explained in the official explanation of the design and symbolism of the new Coat of Arms of South Africa.
Other uses of the Coat of Arms
South Africa's Coat of Arms is also displayed at the entrances of Government buildings and embassies, on passports, identity documents and coinage. The Great Seal, when affixed to an important document, lends the approval of the State President to it and gives it absolute authority.
Our team want to focus attention on the more tangible symbols contained within the Coat of Arms. Along with the official explanation, we will explore each part and hope in so doing, to take you to the heart of South Africa - a country where diverse people unite.