The unveiling of the Coat of Arms
On South Africa's national day called Freedom Day, the 27th April, 2000 the President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, unveiled the newly commissioned Coat of Arms, to replace the previous one which existed since September, 1910.
This is a transcript of the President's speech:
"Thus do we pledge to respect the obligation which human evolution has imposed on us - to honour the fact that in this country that we have inherited together is to be found one of the birthplaces of humanity itself.
Here in the language of our ancient past, we speak to present generations and those who are still to come about the importance of human solidarity and unity.
We say that in the heart of every individual resides an inner necessity, an essential humanity that compels each person, each people, to unite with another. This impulse and this conscious action makes us who we are and tells us where we as a South African people want to go.
The design carries within it images of the egg, symbolising the eternal reproduction of life. It is this forward movement that must take us to the African Century and the victory of the African Renaissance.
I ask you all who are gathered here today to embrace this Coat of arms as your won, to own it as a common possession, representing the aspirations of a winning nation that is conscious of the challenges that lie ahead and is confident of its capacity to overcome its difficulties.
We thank the Ministry and Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology for leading us in the search for the new Coat of Arms. We extend special thanks to Mr Iaan Bekker, the designer of this Coat of Arms, whose creativity and patriotism have given all of us a priceless and everlasting gift.
As our flag flies proudly on its mast, evoking an intense spirit of an inclusive national identity, so must this Coat of Arms, which exemplifies the extraordinary creativity of our people through the ages, inspire our united and diverse nation to strive to shine as brightly as the sun.
I thank you."