(or let the people's voice be heard)
As with anything that appeals to people's feelings and emotions, it is to be expected that there would be a wide range of reactions to the new Coat of Arms. A local newspaper, The Mercury, conducted a survey of people's reactions on the 2 May, 2000 and the responses were varied. They ranged from those who felt the expense involved was a waste of money and that the money could have been spent on more urgent needs, like education, to those who were pleased that it had captured and African essence. While some liked the neutrality of the rock art San figures, women felt that perhaps one of the figures could have been a female.
The use of the extinct /Xam language for the motto, drew a lot of criticism, as many felt it was unpronounceable. This prompted the Government to undertake a massive publicity campaign over the airways, to familiarise people with the pronunciation.
The Sunday Tribune of 14 May, 2000 reported a controversy over the meaning of the words of the motto. The confusion arose from the fact that /Xam, the extinct language used for the motto, is also a word in another Khoisan language, namely Nama. The meaning of the word /Xam in Nama is "to urinate"!
The team differed in their views of this interesting and thought-provoking topic and to get the views of others, we decided to conduct a survey amongst peers, using four questions.
THESE WERE THE RESULTS:
Conclusion: While the majority of respondents (58%) agreed that there was need for change, it seems as if the new Coat of Arms has not met their expectations, since 53% felt it did not describe South Africa correctly.
This is a predictable reaction. Similar sentiments were expressed by the public when the new flag was introduced in 1994. Now, six years later, people have accepted it and are quite passionate about it.