Heraldry Society of Southern Africa

Arms of the

Heraldry Society of Southern Africa

Heraldry Society of Southern Africa

The arms are blazoned:


Per chevron inverted or and argent a pall vert between three inescutcheons, dexter gules, sinister azure and in chief sable.



former device of the Heraldry Society of Southern Africa

The arms were devised in 2006 by the webmaster, who perceived a need for a proper coat of arms. For many years the society had used a black-and-white line drawing showing (among other items) a blank shield and a springbok head crest.

South African flag (since 1994)

The inspiration for the device was the South African flag, devised in 1993 by the then State Herald, Frederick Gordon Brownell (since 2002 the chairman of the society).

To render it as a coat of arms, the yellow and white fimbriations separating the pall from the panels of colour were converted into fields of or and argent. And to symbolise the society’s field of activity, the panels were rendered as inescutcheons.

Since the red panel has pride of place at the top of the flag, that colour was placed on the dexter side of the shield, this being the more honourable side.

The format is clearly different from that of the national flag, and so cannot be seen as a usurpation of a national symbol.

Two preliminary drawings of the arms were circulated among the officers of the society, who expressed their satisfaction with the concept, but with reservations about the execution.

A request was made to Australian heraldic artist Barrie Burr, who produced the artwork shown here.

The arms have, for the moment, been assumed by the society.

Since the society encourages the registration of coats of arms, it is incumbent on us to go through the process of registration. However, a lack of funds means that it cannot at present be contemplated.



The motto, which has been in use virtually since the society’s foundation in 1953, is a quotation from the first line of Virgil’s Aeneid.

It translates as: “I sing of arms and of the hero.”


About the society:

The Heraldry Society of Southern Africa – the first such society to be formed in the country – came into being at a meeting on 27 August 1953.

Those present seem to have been Ivan Mitford-Barberton, Michael Dawes, Colin Graham Botha, Frank Waller, E A Robottom and Miss Wendy Stuart Koe.

They elected Botha as president, Waller as chairman and Mitford-Barberton as herald.

By August 1954 there were 30 members.


South Africa versus Southern Africa:

It may be asked why the South African flag was chosen as the basis of these arms, since the society’s name indicates coverage of the subcontinent.

In short the reason is that the bulk of the society’s membership has always comprised South African citizens and residents.

There are groups interested in heraldry in Namibia – indeed, the Member of Parliament who introduced the Heraldry Bill (now the Heraldry Act) as a private member’s motion in 1962 was a representative for South West Africa – and in Zimbabwe (although many of the Rhodesians who shared this interest have now emigrated).

But while Lesotho, Swaziland and Botswana are also included under the society’s ægis, few if any individuals from those countries have participated in the society’s activities.

Are you interested in contributing towards a fund for the registration of this coat of arms?
If so, please write to F G Brownell, Private Bag X370, Menlyn 0063, South Africa.


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Title graphics prepared using MS Picture It!®

Society coat of arms drawn by Barrie Burr. South African flag courtesy of Flags of the World.

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