The Hearts of Reformers

Wikipedia.

A well-known symbol of Lutheranism is the so-called Luther Rose, which features a black cross on a red heart at the center. It was devised for Luther in 1530 and features multivalent symbolism. Luther claimed that:

my seal is a symbol of my theology. The first should be a black cross in a heart, so that I myself would be reminded that faith in the Crucified saves us. Although it is indeed a black cross, which mortifies and which should also cause pain, it leaves the heart in its natural color. Such a heart should stand in the middle of a white rose, to show that faith gives joy, comfort, and peace. Such a rose should stand in a sky-blue field, symbolizing that such joy in spirit and faith is a beginning of the heavenly future joy, which begins already, but is grasped in hope, not yet revealed. And around this field is a golden ring, symbolizing that such blessedness in Heaven lasts forever and has no end. 

“I wonder what symbol Calvin used?” I mused to my wife at dinner last night. “Probably a tulip,” she replied with eminent good sense. TULIP, of course, is an acronym for the five points of Calvinist theology, viz:

Total depravity
Unconditional election
Limited atonement
Irresistible grace
Perseverance of the saints

The problem is that this acronym doesn’t work in French or Latin, the two languages that Calvin operated in. Plus, the tulip may not have been introduced into Europe before Calvin’s death in 1564. 

Instead, as it turns out, Calvin did not use a flower, but a heart, held in a hand, illustrating the motto “Cor meum tibi offero, Domine, prompte et sincere,” that is, “My heart I offer to you, O Lord, promptly and sincerely.” 

The Josh Link

I’m not sure who drew this but I found it at The Josh Link

Calvin University.

This seventeenth-century medal was struck in memory of Calvin, and the image can be found at the Calvin University (Grand Rapids) website

Calvin University.

Calvin University itself uses a version of the emblem and motto. 

The more you know! Personal emblems, especially if properly heraldic, ought to make a comeback.

Some State Flags and Logos

Most states in the United States have seals depicting a composite or symbolic scene. Many states then proceed to use these seals as the basis of their flags. A good example would be the state of Minnesota:

Manifest Destiny for the win! Wikipedia.

But you call that a flag?! Wikipedia.

Unfortunately, more than half of all the states in the Union have flags of this nature. I need hardly point out that this is poor flag design. A flag should not be ornate – it should be simple and recognizable. If it is, a useful side effect is that it can inspire any number of logos based on it, all of which instantly suggest the state in question. What happy states are these!

Wikipedia.

Nashville Predators NHL team shoulder patch. icethetics.co

Tennessee Titans NFL team. Wikipedia.

1. The Tennessee flag features three stars in a circle. This beautiful and simple device has inspired a number of logos.

Wikipedia.

Baltimore Ravens NFL team logo. My Logo Pictures.

Wikipedia.

2. The Maryland flag is very distinctive, featuring the quartered Calvert-Crossland arms, which appear all over the place in that state. 

Wikipedia.

easternscheritage.com

discoversouthcarolina.com

3. South Carolina is instantly recognizable by its palmetto and crescent, which appear in many things associated with the state. 

Wikipedia.

4. Then there’s the three pillars and an arch of the state of Georgia. People don’t make nearly as much use of this as they ought to.

Wikipedia.

Arizona Coyotes NHL team secondary logo. Sportslogos.net.

Employeenetwork.com

5. Arizona’s starburst is very distinctive and has inspired a number of logos. 

Wikipedia.

Dallas Cowboys NFL team logo. Wikipedia.

Houston Texans NFL team logo. Wikipedia.

6. Texas is the Lone Star state, which makes Texan logos all too easy.

Wikipedia.

Columbus Blue Jackets NHL team logo. Wikipedia.

7. Another flag that deserves more use is that of Ohio, the only one in the Union that is not rectangular. 

Wikipedia.

logolynx.com

Bear Flag Museum.

8. California’s bear and star make for a nice combination.

Wikipedia.

9. Some folks like Rhode Island’s anchor, which is adaptable for all sorts of situations.

Wikipedia.

10. New Mexico’s flag, featuring the red sun symbol of the Zia people, can be employed to a certain effect. 

Wikipedia.

11. Indiana’s torch and stars device enjoys a certain popularity.

Wikipedia.

Colorado Rockies NHL team logo. Wikipedia.

12. Finally, there’s the stylized “C” of Colorado’s flag. This design dates from 1911 and seems quite ahead of its time.

Of course, many states still have recognizable logos or images, even though their flags aren’t that well designed. Wyoming and Pennsylvania (the Keystone State) come to mind:

Wikipedia.

“Bucking Horse and Rider,” a registered trademark of the state of Wyoming. Wikipedia.

Wikipedia.

And as the logos reproduced above for Indiana and Arizona show, a state’s outline provides a ready-made image for the state in question. Americans love these jigsaw-puzzle pieces. I think what makes American state outlines so memorable is the combination of straight with squiggly lines. Whereas it would take effort to distinguish between the shapes of (say) Staffordshire and Wiltshire, apart from Hawaii all US states have at least one straight border, “anchoring” their shapes so to speak in one’s memory (although the shapes of Colorado and Wyoming, both square quadrilaterals, suffer the opposite problem).

But the fact remains that the overall standard for US state flags is rather low.

University of Wyoming Athletics logo. Wikipedia.

UPDATE: You could read Wyoming’s bucking horse rider as either male or female, but the rendition above looks male to me, and I would be not be against inventing a variant that presents as female, perhaps through the addition of a ponytail. I’m surprised that the University of Wyoming, whose teams are the “Cowboys” and “Cowgirls,” does not do this already. Governmental usage could then alternate between the two renditions, which would be especially appropriate for the Equality State

And now, the Griffin

From Rebel News (Toronto):

A police department in Iowa is accepting submissions to change its logo because it allegedly “heavily resembles the KKK dragon.”

The Waterloo Police Griffin logo was adopted in 1964, and reportedly “leaves many citizens and residents feeling uncomfortable and distrustful when dealing with the Waterloo Police Department.”

The City’s Commission on Human Rights has launched a petition calling for the unreserved retirement of the eagle-lion mythical hybrid Griffin by tying it to the history of the KKK through its dragon logo:

“Although Black Americans have typically been the Klan’s primary target, it also has attacked Jews, immigrants, members of the LGBTQ community and, until recently, Catholics.

“In addition, the undersigned absolutely resist any alteration of the Griffin and remain committed to organize until any trace of this Griffin is removed from any active paraphernalia utilized by Waterloo law enforcement.”

Griffins and dragons do share a superficial resemblance, in that both have wings and neither exist.

Wikipedia.

Here is an image of the Waterloo Police Department shoulder flash, taken from Wikipedia. The Department’s website says that:

In 1964 Former Police Chief Robert Wright conducted research in an effort to devise a patch to replace the old triangular patch that displayed only the lettering “Waterloo Police Department”. Chief Wright wanted to find a patch that would be unique and symbolic of police work.

During his search, Chief Wright came across the Griffin, an animal with the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion. The Griffin is a Greek Mythological animal symbolizing vigilance, which means to act as a guardian to our priceless possessions.

Chief Wright enlisted the aid of Waterloo Daily Courier Artist Jack Bender in designing the patch to include the Griffin. The design was a bright gold background to set off a green eyed red Griffin with black lettering and border. That same patch has been part of the Waterloo Police Department uniform ever since.

I had never heard of the KKK Dragon but apparently the original iteration of that loathsome group really did have a dragon banner:

Flags of the World.

Flags of the World claims that “in the Klan’s Prescripts of 1867 the official banner of the KKK was carefully described. It was a triangular shaped flag (3×5 feet). It was made of yellow material with a red scalloped border about three inches in width. A black European flying dragon (dracovolans) was hand-painted on it along with the motto Quod Semper, Quod Ubique, Quod Ab Omnibus in Latin. (What always, what everywhere, what by all is held to be true.)”

My comments:

• There does seem to be a disquieting graphical similarity between the KKK banner and the Waterloo police badge, largely due to the gold background and the heraldic pose of the animal (“passant” in the lingo). It’s true that dragons and griffins are different animals, but they appear similar here.

• But I do hope that dragons (and/or griffins) have not been canceled, even passant creatures on a gold field. I would say the same thing about the fleur-de-lys, the mounted knight, and the Thor’s Hammer. If extremists decide to appropriate some symbol, the proper response is to take it back! Not allow them to ruin it for all time. 

• And does anyone really know about the dragon pennant? Hooded robes, burning crosses, and that blood-drop cross are all much better known symbols of the KKK. It seems a little pedantic to bring up this rather obscure item.

• It’s a shame that something so striking and unique should come under attack. One hopes that any secondary patch (which is what the department is soliciting) will be just as striking, although some of the proposals thus far aren’t very promising…

Murdoch Mysteries

I was pleased to note a historically accurate Canadian red ensign flag in Season 11, Episode 16 of the Canadian television series Murdoch Mysteries, in contrast to an earlier appearance. The plot of this episode (“Game of Kings”) revolves around an international chess tournament taking place in Toronto in 1905. The players’ nationalities are represented by little tabletop flags. 

Constable George Crabtree has gone undercover as a Canadian entrant. His flag shows the original four-provinces shield devised for the Dominion of Canada in 1868, featuring the arms of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. It is true that Canada had nine provinces by 1905 (Alberta and Saskatchewan had been admitted on September 1 of that year, and Crabtree makes a reference to this in Episode 13 when, thinking he’s dying, exclaims “I’ll never see Egypt or any of those new provinces we have now!”). A nine-quartered shield for Canada was devised in the wake of this, but the original shield was still in widespread use until 1921. 

An American competitor is represented by a US flag with 45 stars on the canton (count them!), for the number of states in the union at the time – Utah having been admitted in 1896. Oklahoma (1908), Arizona (1912) and New Mexico (1912) would soon raise the total to 48.

Poland did not exist as an independent country in 1905, but a Polish player has entered the tournament and is represented by the flag of the Polish National Government 1863-64, which had been proclaimed following the January Uprising (although the bottom stripe, according to Wikipedia, should be blue).

Wikipedia.

The coat of arms is for “a proposed Polish–Lithuanian–Ruthenian Commonwealth which never came into being. It consists of the Polish White Eagle, the Lithuanian Pahonia and the Ruthenian Archangel Michael.”

Wikipedia.

Other Polish references in this episode include the Szczerbiec (the traditional Polish coronation sword) and the Husaria (Polish knights who wore decorative wings while mounted). 

Heraldic Seal for Dartmouth – A Proposal

Earlier this summer I wrote a letter to the president of Dartmouth College, which I reproduce below, with added links. (No reply as of yet.)

***

Dear Sir,

When I was a student at Dartmouth in the early 1990s, some Indian figures remained in the official symbolism of the College, most notably on the Dartmouth seal, the Dartmouth shield, and the Baker Library weathervane. Two years ago, the College deprecated the shield in favor of the new “D-Pine” logo, and I heard the announcement this week that the Baker weathervane is to be taken down as soon as possible.

That leaves the seal:

Please know that I am not writing to defend it. There are, indeed, a number of problems with it. Like the Dartmouth shield, the seal depicts Native people being drawn out of the woods to receive the light of the Gospel, or at the very least a European-style education. Such a scene now strikes us as offensive, and in fact was all false propaganda to begin with, being an aspect of Eleazar Wheelock’s PR efforts to keep donations coming. Wheelock designed a seal of Dartmouth College that specifically references the seal of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, a missionary society founded in 1701 in London:

Similarities between the Dartmouth seal and the SPG seal include the natives on the one side, the larger European technology on the other, writing in the air, and an irradiated object over the whole thing.

The Dartmouth seal is also religious in other ways. One of the supporters carries a Christian cross:

And the Hebrew at the top reads “El Shaddai,” meaning “God Almighty”:

Note that it’s on a triangle, referencing the Christian concept of the Holy Trinity (as though to say: “We know Hebrew! But please don’t confuse us with the original Hebrews.”)

Such details are not appropriate for a secular college.

I do not know if there has been a movement on campus against the Dartmouth seal. Given recent trends I can certainly understand if people might want to devise a new seal that accurately reflects Dartmouth’s history and is more in accord with its current values. If it is to be changed, allow me to propose that Dartmouth adopt a seal featuring a properly heraldic coat of arms. An example might look like this:

When well-designed, a heraldic shield is simple and recognizable, and neatly encapsulates an organization’s identity. In this case, the coat of arms says “I am an academic foundation (building, books) named after the Earl of Dartmouth (stag’s head) and located in rural New Hampshire (also stag’s head)” – with no references to Natives or Christianity. Heraldry places a university in a long tradition stretching back to the thirteenth century and suggests that it is dignified and deserves to be taken seriously. One does not need to use a coat of arms on a daily basis to express one’s identity (the D-Pine logo, as far as I’m concerned, does this quite well), but it is nice to have a coat of arms should the need arise – for instance, on those occasions when all the Ivy League coats of arms are displayed together.

I repeat that I am unfamiliar with the campus climate. I do not know whether anyone has said anything about the seal. I can understand why people might want it changed, but I can also understand why they might want to retain it too, for historic or sentimental reasons. If it is to be deprecated, however, please consider replacing it with an appropriate, well-designed, and dignified coat of arms.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Good ’94

National Logos

Note: This post was originally published in July. When I corrected an error that I noticed, WordPress somehow considered it a new post, thus its appearance here. 

Two examples of national-level rebranding have been recently announced. I thought that one was decidedly better than the other. 

1. In Australia, something called the Nation Brand Advisory Council has urged the adoption of a logo featuring a stylized wattle, Australia’s national flower, with “AU” superimposed over it. 

Brand New.

Other variants of this logo may be seen at Brand New, where we also read the Council’s statement:

We love our kangaroo – it is currently the most internationally recognized shortcut to Australia. But we considered whether it would shift perception of our nation, or simply reinforce what people already knew about us.

Further, to adopt a kangaroo as our national symbol would require agreement on a new single ‘roo’ (by all agencies currently using kangaroos) as dual-branding situations of multiple kangaroos sitting side by side will not work. Therefore, with consideration for the mark to co-exist with existing national symbols, this led to a recommendation against the kangaroo.

New Brand Mark: The council’s preference for the Nation Brand mark was the wattle – it’s our national flower and while not immediately recognizable internationally, it will become so over time.

Our proposed Nation Brand mark balances a literal and abstract interpretation of a wattle flower. It’s an optimistic burst of gold positivity. Co-created with our indigenous design partners Balarinji, the mark is embedded with a cultural richness and graphic voice that speaks distinctively of Australia.  

I don’t really know what’s going on here. What body is this new wattle mark supposed to represent, exactly? Is the idea that it will replace the kangaroo eventually as a top-level national “brand” for all things Australian?

australianmade.com.au; Wikipedia.

Here are two such kangaroo logos, one for the Australian Made Campaign, the other for sports fans. The rendition on the left seems somewhat dated (like it’s representing a brand of tennis shoe c. 1985), and obviously boxing is appropriate for sports but not necessarily for trade. But it would be easy enough to come up with a new kangaroo logo, methinks, which would probably be more appealing than the proposed wattle. I like plants, but animals have personality. Moreover, this particular wattle looks like a “complex data visualization” or the results of a particle accelerator experiment – or even a coronavirus! (I also wonder if it isn’t Australia’s equivalent of favoring the protea over the springbok – the idea being that the kangaroo represents the bad old days?) 

Wikipedia.

A better rendition of the flower can be seen in the Golden Wattle Flag, one in a long list of proposed Australian flags. The seven petals (representing the six states plus the Northern Territory) form a seven-pointed Commonwealth Star, familiar from the current flag and from the crest in the national coat of arms. If a wattle is absolutely required, this one is probably a better choice!

2. The Icelandic Football Association (Knattspyrnusamband Íslands) has unveiled a new logo. Previously it was this, which was used both by the Association itself and by the national teams:

Logos-download.com.

I like the stylized rendition of Iceland’s flag, but sports teams don’t actually need allusions to the sport itself in their logos. Thus I like the KSI’s new, ball-less wordmark it adopted earlier this year, and I especially like the logo it has just prescribed for its teams:

Brand New.

This is perhaps a little too complex for a team logo, but it is certainly aesthetically appealing in its way, and is most appropriate to Iceland: it’s a stylized rendition of the four supporters that surround Iceland’s coat of arms.

Wikipedia.

At first glance these supporters are the four living beings of Revelation 4:7, later used to identify the authors of the each of four gospels, but note that the coat of arms has a dragon instead of St. Mark’s lion. That is because the four supporters are in fact the (pagan) Landvættir, i.e. the four traditional protectors of Iceland. According to Wikipedia:

The bull (Griðungur) is the protector of northwestern Iceland, the eagle or griffin (Gammur) protects northeastern Iceland, the dragon (Dreki) protects the southeastern part, and the rock-giant (Bergrisi) is the protector of southwestern Iceland. 

One small problem with the logo is noted by an Icelandic-expert friend, who comments:

I love this new logo, though they’ve got the wights out of order. The only one that is appropriately placed is dreki – the rest don’t map onto the areas that they are supposed to protect.

A good point, but forgivable, I think, if it means that the Landvættir can all fit together in such an awesome way. Well done, Iceland!

Murdoch Mysteries

The Canadian television series Murdoch Mysteries (2009-present) is set in Toronto, starting in the 1890s. It’s a lot of fun; we’re currently up to season seven in our binge-watching. The characters are compelling, the plots not too convoluted, the art direction appealing, and the “future foreshadowing” (references to Area 51, the CN Tower, or Twitter, for instance) most amusing. I especially like hearing place names that I remember from my southern Ontario youth, like “Coboconk,” “Peterborough,” or “Grafton,” or seeing buildings like Victoria Hall, Parkwood Estate, or Boulden House (at Trinity College School) in various scenes. 

Through season six, the only flag on display in the show has been the Royal Union Flag, a.k.a. the Union Jack. 

To my puzzlement, these flags are often shown flying upside-down. But I reckon this subtly erroneous usage has always been a problem with this flag and the producers are in fact being historically accurate! 

Although I do wonder whether the Canadian Red Ensign wouldn’t have been flown more in the 1890s. A red flag with the Union Jack in the canton is at heart a naval ensign; throughout the British Empire it was often differenced with something in the fly, and some of these local variants achieved widespread use indeed, far beyond identifying ships. Canada’s flag was one such. It dates from the 1870s, was promoted for government buildings in 1891 by Governor-General Lord Stanley, and became Canada’s “civil ensign” in 1892. So you would think it would appear more than it has in the show. However, as far as I can tell, its first appearance is in season seven, episode one (set in 1901 as the portrait of Queen Victoria is being taken down in Station House Four, and Inspector Brackenreid proclaims “God save the King,” i.e. Victoria’s successor Edward VII).

The trouble with the Canadian red ensign is that the local signifier was the Canadian coat of arms. This means that one must watch for anachronisms, as Canada’s coat of arms itself changed as more provinces were accepted into Confederation. In 1901 there were seven provinces, although the original four-provinces shield also remained in common use. Flourishes like wreaths, crowns, and beavers could also be added at the manufacturer’s whim. But no one would have flown a red ensign with the coat of arms that was granted in 1921, or the version that was prescribed after 1957 (with red leaves, as in the image). 

This anachronism is especially glaring in season six, episode twelve, in which Julia Ogden is on trial for killing her husband. The Canadian coat of arms on display on the wall behind the judge was drawn by Allan Beddoe and dates from 1957. It’s far more likely that the arms on display in a courtroom in 1900 would be the royal arms of the United Kingdom. (And I wonder whether flags would actually be displayed in this context – it seems an American custom.) 

Royal arms. Wikipedia.

Royal arms in Osgoode Hall, Toronto. Wikipedia.

People just don’t know heraldry anymore. 

Heraldic Bookplates

To amuse myself during this time of lockdown, I created a bookplate based on my coat of arms (granted in 2006 through the Canadian Heraldic Authority). It’s somewhat Germanic in style, with the crest becoming the mantling. 

This is one of the things that I’ve always loved about heraldry: as long as you follow the blazon, you can depict a coat of arms in any style you wish, the whole thing or only part of it, and with any number of other decorative features. I admit that this is not my first heraldic bookplate! 

This one was drawn for me by Daniel Mitsui in 2014. I love his birch tree, and his mastery of detail in general. 

He also did this drawing for me, which I’ve had put on a stamp, for those paperbacks that don’t quite merit a full bookplate. It consists of the charges from my arms removed and shown on their own, as though they compose a heraldic badge.

Mr. Mitsui also did bookplates for my two daughters, with the shield moved to the side of the tree, and a cadency mark placed on the other side for balance. In Canadian heraldry, a heart denotes the first daughter, and an ermine spot the second. 

The great Gordon Macpherson did this one for me in 2007, consisting only of my crest (and helmet and mantling) and motto (which means “Fight the good fight,” from 1 Timothy 6:12). 

I did this one for my wife in 2003, illustrating her arms from the Bureau of Heraldry in South Africa. 

Gordon Macpherson drew this one in 2007. I quite like its neoclassical design. Technically heraldic impalement (i.e. two coats of arms side by side on the same shield) suggests the wife, as though she is “Mrs. Jonathan Good.” But in these times, I see impalement as representing a partnership and thus both people equally. So this one goes into books that are “ours”!

Festum Sancti Andreae

November 30 is the feast of Saint Andrew. To mark the occasion, the British Library posted this image of St. Andrew to their Facebook page, from MS Addl. 35313, f.214v, a late fifteenth- or early sixteenth-century manuscript. The saint carries his distinctive X-shaped cross.

British Library.

They note that “St Andrew is the patron saint of Greece, Russia, Italy’s Amalfi, and Barbados. Singers, spinsters, maidens, fishmongers, fishermen, women wanting to be mothers; those with gout and sore throats all claim him as their patron saint.”

But that the British Library omitted “Scotland” from that list of patronage seems a terrible oversight, as several commenters pointed out. To help rectify it, we present some distinctively Scottish images of St. Andrew.

Pinterest.

A bejeweled sash badge of Scotland’s Order of the Thistle, with St. Andrew carrying his X-shaped cross.

ngw.nl

A similar image appears in the embellished fourth quarter of the arms of the Scottish Episcopal Diocese of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane.

Wikipedia.

The first quarter of the diocesan arms consists of a simple Azure, a saltire Argent, which is widely used as the national emblem of Scotland, but which in fact is technically the arms of the Bishop of St Andrews. Such heraldic anomalies occur from time to time.

Wikipedia.

And here are the ruins of St Andrews Cathedral in Fife. The reason why St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland is that the saint’s relics were enshrined here, and were the object of medieval pilgrimage. Needless to say such practice was streng verboten in Presbyterian Scotland, and the cathedral fell into disuse and ruin. All the same, the idea that St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland survives to this day. 

South Africa

Congratulations to South Africa, whose national rugby team defeated England’s this morning in Japan to win the William Webb Ellis trophy, i.e. rugby’s World Cup. A post in celebration, featuring (what else?!) South African symbols.

Wikipedia.

South Africa has a pretty cool flag, which was adopted in 1994 as symbolic of the new political dispensation in that country. I knew the designer, Frederick Brownell, who sadly died earlier this year. He wrote that: “The unique central design of the flag, which begins as a ‘V’ at the flagpost and comes together in the centre of the flag, extending further, as a single horizontal band to the outer edge of the fly, can be seen as representing the convergence of diverse elements in South African society.” The colors (black, blue, green, “chilli red,” gold, and silver) have no set meaning, however, since “individual colours can have widely differing meanings for different people” and thus “may be interpreted freely” – although clearly black, gold and green are the colors of the African National Congress, and “chilli red” (halfway between orange and red) can represent the orange and red that have appeared in the Dutch and Dutch-derived flags that have historically flown over the country.

Wikipedia.

South Africa’s old flag, which waved over the Union, and then the Republic, of South Africa from 1928 to 1994, is almost universally known as the “Apartheid flag” and is not seen flying much these days. In fact, South Africa’s Equality Court recently ruled that public displays of this flag now amount to hate speech, except for certain cases of “journalistic, academic, and artistic expression.” The flag was the (originally) orange, white and blue flag of the Netherlands, with the central band showing the flags of the three combatants in the Boer War: the United Kingdom, and the two Boer republics of the Orange Free State and the South African Republic (ZAR, or the Transvaal). These little flags were supposedly arranged in such a way that no flag had precedence over any other, and as you might expect this design was a compromise between the English and Afrikaners, reached after great rancor in 1928. Even those extremists who want their own Afrikaner Volkstaat aren’t likely to fly this flag, since the existence of the Union Jack on it has always annoyed them!

Wikipedia.

South Africa’s coat of arms underwent a similar transformation in 2000. The current coat of arms features central shield with two red-ochre Khoisan figures greeting each other. Other elements include elephant tusks, ears of wheat, a crossed spear and knobkierie, a protea flower, a secretary bird, and a Khoisan motto meaning “diverse people unite.” 

I confess that I like SA’s previous coat of arms better, if only because it’s more properly heraldic. The shield features an amalgamation of symbols representing the four South African colonies that were united and granted dominion status in 1910: the Cape Colony, Natal, the Orange Free State, and the Transvaal. But it’s more European than African in form, and since South Africa is now divided into nine provinces, its symbolism is also obsolete. 

Wikipedia.

South Africa’s parliament got its own emblem in the same style as the new coat of arms in 2007. A drum rises out of a protea flower, which is ensigned by a sun and rests on a book. The sun represents healing the divisions of the past and improving the quality of life for South Africans. The drum calls parliament to order, and the book at the bottom represents the constitution, whose initial words “We, the People” are prominently displayed.

Wikipedia.

The parliamentary emblem replaced one that had been in use since 1964, which featured (I believe) South Africa’s parliamentary mace crossed with its Black Rod mace, between the old coat of arms and the crest. (Needless to say, these maces have been updated too.)

Finally, we have the emblem of the team itself. South Africa’s national rugby team is known as the Springboks, and its logo is a leaping springbok. 

Wikipedia.

The logo appears on most things associated with the team… except for the front left of their jerseys. Like the flag, the coat of arms, and the parliamentary maces, the springbok, to many people, is representative of the old ways. Until 1994 the team was by policy all-white, and the ANC, which took power that year, saw the springbok as symbolic of this. If you’ve seen the movie Invictus (2009), you’ll be familiar with the story of how the sports ministry wanted to replace the rugby team’s springbok with the king protea, South Africa’s national flower, and how Nelson Mandela, in an attempt at reaching out to South Africa’s white population, personally intervened to prevent it. When South Africa won the World Cup at home in 1995, Mandela donned a springbok jersey to present the Webb Ellis trophy to the team captain Francois Pienaar. It was a great moment in post-Apartheid reconciliation. 

Telegraph.co.uk.

Classicrugbyshirts.com

You’ll notice, though, that the jersey at the time featured a springbok leaping through a wreath of protea flowers.

JG

The Springboks’ jerseys from 1999 also featured a protea in addition to its namesake bovid. (The photograph is from a replica jersey in our possession.) Clearly the team was trying to do its own outreach. 

Wikipedia.

The protea-springbok device was in use as late as 2007.

Footballkitnews.com.

But the ANC did not give up, and by the World Cup of 2011 it finally prevailed. With Mandela out of the picture, the party could finally force the team to decorate the fronts of its jerseys with the protea alone, although you’ll notice a small springbok on the left sleeve.

Wikipedia.

The team’s jerseys for this year’s tournament follow the same pattern – protea device on the front left of the jersey, springbok on the left sleeve. 

The South African.

Although for the Rugby Championship this year the springbok was on the front of the jersey, along with the protea (and a shirt sponsorship – can’t let any revenue escape!). As you can also see, the team is racially integrated these days – the photo is of Herschel Jantjies, a coloured scrum-half from Stellenbosch, who was one of ten non-whites on the thirty-one man World Cup squad. 

It’s nice that the springbok has not been entirely effaced. But whatever the symbol, there’s no arguing with success. Congratulations, South Africa!