South Africa -
African National Flag was designed by the former South
African State Herald, Mr Fred Brownell, and was first used
on 27 April 1994. The design and colours are a synopsis of
principal elements of the country's flag history. Individual
colours, or colour combinations represent different meanings
for different people and therefore no universal symbolism
should be attached to any of the colours.
The central design of the
flag, beginning at the flagpost in a 'V' form and flowing
into a single horizontal band to the outer edge of the fly,
can be interpreted as the convergence of diverse elements
within South African society, taking the road ahead in
The theme of convergence
and unity ties in with the motto "Unity
is Strength" of
the previous South African Coat of Arms.
of Arms - Symbolism
A national Coat of Arms,
or state emblem, is the highest visual symbol of the State.
The Coat of Arms is also a
central part of the Great Seal, traditionally considered to
be the highest emblem of the State. Absolute authority is
given to every document with an impression of the Great Seal
on it, as this means that it has been approved by the
President of South Africa.
South Africa’s Coat of
Arms was launched on Freedom Day, 27 April 2000. The change
reflected government's aim to highlight the democratic
change in South Africa and a new sense of patriotism.
Symbolism and History of the South African Coat of Arms
Typical of this species is the pronk (jumping
display), which led to its common name. Both sexes have
horns but those of the ram are thicker and rougher. This
species has adapted to the dry, barren areas and open grass
plains and is thus found especially in the Free State, North
West province and in the Karoo up to the west coast.
They are herd animals and move in small
herds during winter, but often crowd together in bigger
herds in summer. They eat both grass and leaves and can go
without drinking-water, because they get enough moisture
from the succulent leaves. Where drinking-water is available
they will use it.
Springbuck stand 75 cm high and weigh
about 40 kg. They breed throughout the year and lambs are
born after a 6-month gestation period.
This elegant crane, that stands about one meter high, is
almost entirely restricted to South Africa in its
distribution. The blue crane is a light blue-grey, has a
long neck supporting a rather bulbous head, long legs and
elegant wing plumes which sweep to the ground. It eats
seeds, insects and reptiles. Blue cranes lay their eggs in
the bare veld, often close to water. They are quite common
in the Karoo, but are also seen in the grasslands of
KwaZulu-Natal and the highveld, usually in pairs or small
The blue crane has a distinctive rattling
croak, fairly high-pitched at call, which can be heard from
far away. It is, however, usually quiet.
The habitat of the blue crane is open
grass fields or Karoo-like plains with low shrubby bushes.
It likes wet parts and lays its eggs on the ground. It
grazes in the field and eats seeds, insects and small
Galjoen (Coracinus capensis)
The galjoen is found only along the South
African coast. It keeps to mostly shallow water, is often
found in rough surf and sometimes right next to the shore
and is known to every angler. Near rocks, the colour of the
galjoen is almost completely black, while in sandy areas the
colour is silver-bronze. It is also known in KwaZulu-Natal
as blackfish or black bream. The record size is over 55 cm
and 7 kg, however the average is much smaller. The galjoen
is a game fighter.
The diet of the galjoen
consists mainly of red bait (ascidians), small mussels and
barnacles. The scales are very firmly attached. The fins are
well-developed with prominent spines.
Giant or King Protea (Protea cynaroides)
The giant or king protea is widely
distributed in the south-western and southern areas of the
Western Cape, from the Cedarberg up to just east of
appearance of the flower-heads of the king protea lead to
the specific name ‘cynaroides’, which means ‘like cynara’
(the artichoke). The name does not do justice to the
beautiful flower-heads of this protea, which is the largest
in the genus. A number of varieties in colour and leaf
shapes are found, but the most beautiful is the pink
Real Yellowwood (Podocarpus latifolius)
The yellowwood family is primeval and has
been present in this part of Africa for more than 100
million years. The species is widespread and is found from
Table Mountain, along the southern and eastern Cape coast,
in the ravines of the Drakensberg up to the Soutpansberg and
the Blouberg in Limpopo.
In forests, they can grow
up to 40 metres in height with the base of the trunk
sometimes up to 3 metres in diameter. In contrast, trees
that grow in unsheltered places like mountain-slopes, are
often short, bushy and gnarled. The bark of the real
yellowwood is khaki-coloured to grey when it is old, deeply
split and peels off in strips. The crown is relatively small
in relation to its height and is often covered with grey
lichen. Male and female cones resemble pine cones and are
white, light green or pink. The female cone has a fleshy
podocarpium on which the seed, which takes on the shape and
colour of a cherry, develops.