South Africa: National Symbols                                         

  • The coat of arms, or state emblem, is the highest visual symbol of the state.
  • Its central image is a bird with uplifted wings with a sun rising above it.
  • Below the bird is the protea, an indigenous South African flower, representing the aesthetic harmony of all cultures and the country flowering as a nation.
  • The ears of wheat are emblems of the fertility of the land, while the tusks of the African elephant symbolize wisdom, steadfastness and strength.
  • At the center stands a shield signifying the protection of South Africans, above which are a spear and knobkierie (a fighting stick usually with a knob on the end). These assert the defense of peace rather than a posture of war.
  • The national animal is the springbok, which is also the name of the South African rugby team—fondly known as "the Boks".
  • The national bird is the blue crane, which is almost entirely restricted to the country of South Africa. Standing about a meter tall, the bird is a light blue-grey, with a long neck supporting a round head, long legs and elegant wing plumes which sweep the ground.
  • The national flower is the giant or king protea which is widely distributed in the south-western and southern areas of the Western Cape, from the Cedarberg up to just east of Grahamstown. South Africa's national flower is the largest of the proteas, which make up an important part of the Cape Floral Region, a major global biodiversity hotspot and a Unesco World Heritage site. The proteas also give their name to South Africa's national cricket team.
  • The national fish is the galjoen. It is found along the coast from Namibia to Durban, and nowhere else in the world. It keeps to mostly shallow water, is often found in rough surf, sometimes right next to the shore, and is known to anglers as a game fighter. Near rocks, the color of the galjoen is almost completely black, while in sandy areas the color is silver-bronze.
  • The national tree, the real yellowwood, has grown in this part of Africa for over 100-million years. The real yellowwood 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, the trees can grow up to 40m in height with the base of the trunk sometimes up to 3m in diameter. 



South Africa: Flag                                                           

  • According to the South African government, the South African flag contains elements of the country's history. Although no universal symbolism can be attached to the colors, there are some connections that can be made.

o Black, green, and yellow are found in the flag of the  African  National Congress.

o The other three colors—red, white and blue—are used in the modern  flag of the Netherlands and the  flag of the United  Kingdom.

o White and blue were also found in the old flag of  South Africa.

  • The V or Y shape can be interpreted as the convergence of diverse elements and unity within the South African culture.