National symbols of South Africa

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Since unification in 1910, South Africa has used a range of national symbols to identify the country: coats of arms, official seals, flags, national anthems, and floral, bird, animal, and other emblems.

Coats of arms[edit]

Seals[edit]

  • Great Seal of the Union – authorised by King George V in 1910, and used until 1937 on state documents signed by the governor-general.[1]
  • Royal Great Seal of the Union – authorised by the Royal Executive Functions and Seals Act 1934, and used until 1961 on state documents signed by the monarch on the advice of the South African government.[3]
  • Royal Signet of the Union – authorised by the Royal Executive Functions and Seals Act 1934, and used until 1961 on state documents signed by the monarch on the advice of the South African government.[3]
  • Governor-General's Great Seal – authorised by King George VI in 1937, and used until 1961 on state documents signed by the governor-general.[4]
  • Seal of the Republic – authorised by the Republic of South Africa Constitution Act 1961, and used on state documents signed by the (state) president.[5] The use of the seal has not been a constitutional requirement since 1997,[6] but its use continues nevertheless.

Flags[edit]

National[edit]

  • National Flag of the Union – authorised by the Union Flags and Nationality Act 1927, and introduced in 1928. Renamed the "National Flag of the Republic" in 1961,[7] it was used until 1994.
  • National Flag – the current flag, introduced in 1994.

Merchant ensign[edit]

  • Red Ensign defaced with the shield of the coat of arms – authorised by the Admiralty in 1910, for use on South African-registered merchant ships, and also used as an unofficial "national flag". From 1912, the shield was placed on a white disc.[1] The ensign was discontinued in 1960.[8]
  • Since 1960, the national flag has been used as the merchant ensign.[8]

Civil ensign[edit]

  • Blue Ensign defaced with the shield of the coat of arms – authorised by the Admiralty in 1910, for use on South African government vessels. Superseded by the National Flag of the Union.[1]

Head of state's flag[edit]

  • Union Jack defaced with the full coat of arms surrounded by acacia leaves and flowers – flown by the governor-general until 1931.[1]
  • Governor-General's flag – blue, displaying the royal crest between two ribands bearing the name of the country. Used from 1931 to 1961.[1]
  • State President's flag (1) – blue, displaying the national coat of arms below the letters SP. Used from 1961 to 1984.[1]
  • State President's flag (2) – orange, white, and blue triangles, displaying the national coat of arms below the letters SP. Used from 1984 to 1994.[1]

National Anthem[edit]

Natural symbols[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Brownell, F.G. (1993). National and Provincial Symbols
  2. ^ Government Gazette no 21131 (28 April 2000)
  3. ^ a b Royal Executive Functions and Seals Act 1934
  4. ^ Government Gazette no 2533 (6 June 1938)
  5. ^ Republic of South Africa Constitution Acts 1961, 1983, 1993
  6. ^ Republic of South Africa Constitution 1996
  7. ^ Republic of South Africa Constitution Act 1961
  8. ^ a b Merchant Shipping Act 1951 w.e.f. 1 January 1960
  9. ^ Government Gazette no 18341 (10 October 1997)
  • Brownell, F.G. (1993). National and Provincial Symbols.
  • Burgers, A.P. (2008). The South African Flag Book.
  • Pama, C. (1965). Lions and Virgins.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]