The National symbols of South Africa represent the country’s history, culture and traditions. The symbols exemplify the spirit and essence of the Republic of South Africa and everything relating to the nation. The various National symbols of South Africa are:
• National Flag
• National Anthem
• National Coat of Arms
• National Bird
• National Fish
• National Flower
• National Tree
• National Animal
The National Flag of the Republic of South Africa was designed by Mr. Fred Brownell, a former state herald of South Africa. The flag was adopted on 27 April, 1994, celebrated as the Freedom Day of South Africa. It is one of the youngest flags and symbolizes the unity and progress of the nation. The flag was first flown on 10 May, 1994, the day Nelson Mandela became the first Black president of South Africa.
Following a proclamation of the Government Gazette No. 18341 dated 10 October 1997, the official National Anthem of South Africa is a combined version of Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika and Die Stem van Suid-Afrika or The Call of South Africa.
Nkosi Sekelel’ iAfrika composed by Enoch Sontonga was regarded as the National anthem for decades by the indigenous people of South Africa and was usually sung as an act of defiance against the apartheid regime. The lyrics of Die Stem van Suid-Afrika were written by CJ Langenhoven and music composed by Reverend ML de Villiers.
National Coat of Arms
The National Coat of Arms is traditionally regarded as the highest emblem of the state. Every document with the impression of the state emblem seal is given absolute authority as it indicates that it has undergone government approval.
The National Coat of Arms of South Africa was inaugurated on 27 April 2000; the country’s Freedom Day and is one of the leading National symbols of South Africa.
The blue crane (Anthropoides paradisea) is the National bird of South Africa and is also known as Stanley crane and the Paradise crane. This species of bird is almost entirely restricted to South Africa alone. The bird is light grey in color and stands at a height of about one meter. The blue crane has a long neck which supports a bulbous head, long legs, and graceful wing plumes.
The National fish of South Africa is galjoen ( Coracinus capensis ). This species of marine fish can only be found along the coast of South Africa. The galjoen that are found near rocks are black in color while the ones near sandy areas are silver- bronze. This marine fish generally stay in shallow water and is frequently seen near rough surfs.
The National flower of South Africa is The King Protea, (Protea cynaroides). This species of flower is the largest in the genus Protea and is extensively distributed in the south-western and southern areas of the Western Cape, from Cedarberg to just east of Grahamstown. This flower is also known as Giant Protea, Honeypot or King Sugar Bush.
The real yellowwood ( Podocarpus latifolius ) is the National tree of South Africa and has been growing in this country for over 100 million years. This species extends from Table Mountain along the eastern and southern Cape coast, in the ravines of the Drakensberg up to the Soutpansberg and Blouberg mountains in Limpopo.
The Springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis) is the National animal of South Africa. This animal is a small brown and white colored gazelle which stands at a height of about 75 cm and weighs around 40 kg. Both the sexes of the Springbok have horns. A characteristic feature of this National animal is the pronk (jumping display).