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Coats of Arms: the position in South Africa

South Africa has a long established heraldic tradition, and is one of only a few countries were heraldry enjoys de jure protection. It is particularly interesting as an example of a Republic (like Ireland) where heraldry enjoys a legal status.

Although there is no legislation that prohibits assumption of arms without registration, arms granted enjoy legal protection. Coats of Arms are registered in terms of Section 7 of the Heraldry Act (Act No. 18 of 1962), which which established a Bureau of Heraldry and a 7-member Heraldry Council for the grants, registration, and protection of coats of arms, badges, and other emblems. A state herald is appointed as head of the Bureau of Heraldry.

Contact details :

The State Herald
Bureau of Heraldry
Private Bag X236

Tel : +27-12-323-5300
Fax : +27-12-323-5287

Although published several years ago, the 'Heraldry in South Africa' by Frederick Brownell (State Herald) published in Optima, Volume 32, No 4. 14 Dec 1984 is an excellent summary of the position in South Africa.

Oliver Steudler, Cape Town, South Africa

South African Coat of Arms (158Kb)

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François Velde

Last modified: Sep 10, 1999