Wednesday, February 25, 2015

South Africa 2014
South African Symbols

ISSUE DATE: 22 February 2012
NOMINAL VALUE: Standard Postage
CIRCULATION: 50 000 sheets of 8 stamps
STAMP DESIGN: Lize-Mari Dreyer
PAPER: Avery Dennison gloss back, 210gsm
GUM: WLK5 adhesive
PRINTING PROCESS: Offset Lithography
PRINTER: Southern Colour Security Print, New Zealand

The beauty and diversity of South Africa’s landscapes, fauna and flora, cultures, people and heritage is proudly reflected in our national symbols. These symbols, ranging from our melodious national anthem, colourful flag and distinctive coat of arms, to the graceful springbok, the blue crane, the magnificent king protea, galjoen and yellowwood tree, are celebrated on a set of eight stamps and two first-day covers.

This set of self-adhesive stamps featuring South Africa’s eight national symbols have been skilfully illustrated by Lize-Mari Dreyer, a student of The Open Window School of Visual Communication.

Springbuck/springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis) 
Typical of this species is the pronk (jumping display), which led to its common name. Both sexes have horns but those of the ram are thicker and rougher. This species has adapted to the dry, barren areas and open grass plains and is thus found especially in the Free State, North West province and in the Karoo up to the west coast. 

They move in small herds during winter, but often crowd together in bigger herds in summer. They eat both grass and leaves and can go without drinking water, because they get enough moisture from the succulent leaves. Where drinking water is available they will use it. Springbuck stand 75 cm high and weigh about 40 kg. They breed throughout the year and lambs are born after a six-month gestation period.

Blue crane (Anthropoides paradisia)
The blue crane is almost entirely restricted to South Africa in its distribution. It stands about one meter high and gets its name from its distinctive light blue-grey colouring. It has a long neck supporting a rather bulbous head, long legs and elegant wing plumes which sweep to the ground. It eats seeds, insects and reptiles.

Blue cranes lay their eggs in the bare veld, often close to water. They are quite common in the Karoo, but are also seen in the grasslands of KwaZulu-Natal and the highveld, usually in pairs or small family parties.

The blue crane has a distinctive rattling croak, fairly high-pitched at call, which can be heard from far away.

King protea (Protea cynaroides)
The giant or king protea is widely distributed in the south-western and southern areas of the Western Cape, from the Cedarberg up to just east of Grahamstown.

The artichoke-like appearance of the flower heads of the king protea lead to the specific name ‘cynaroides’, which means ‘like cynara’ (the artichoke). The beautiful flower heads of this protea are the largest in the genus. A number of varieties in colour and leaf shapes are found, but the pink flower is the most striking.

Galjoen (Coracinus capensis)
The galjoen is found only along the South African coast and is known to every angler along our shores. It keeps to mostly shallow water, is often found in rough surf and sometimes right next to the shore. Near rocks, the colour of the galjoen is almost completely black, while in sandy areas the colour is silver-bronze. It is also known in KwaZulu-Natal as blackfish or black bream. The record size is over 55 cm and 7 kg, however the average is much smaller. The galjoen is a game fighter. 

The scales are very firmly attached and the fins are well-developed with prominent spines.

Real yellowwood (Podocarpus latifolius) 
The yellowwood family is primeval and has been present in the southern tip of Africa for more than 100 million years. The species is widespread and 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, they can grow up to 40 metres in height with the base of the trunk sometimes up to 3 metres in diameter. In contrast, trees that grow in unsheltered places like mountain-slopes, are often short, bushy and gnarled.

The bark of the real yellowwood is khaki-coloured to grey when it is old, deeply split and peels off in strips. The crown is relatively small in relation to its height and is often covered with grey lichen. Male and female cones resemble pine cones and are white, light green or pink. The female cone has a fleshy podocarpium on which the seed, which takes on the shape and colour of a cherry, develops.

National Anthem
A proclamation issued by the then State President on 20 April 1994 in terms of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1993 stated that the Republic of South Africa would have two national anthems. They were Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika and The Call of South Africa (Die Stem van Suid-Afrika). In terms of Section 4 of the Constitution of South Africa, 1996 and following a proclamation in the Government Gazette, a shortened, combined version of Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika and The Call of South Africa is now the national anthem of South Africa.

Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika was composed in 1897 by Enoch Sontonga, a Methodist mission school teacher. The lyrics of Die Stem van Suid-Afrika is a poem written by C J Langenhoven in May 1918. while the music was composed by the Reverend M L de Villiers in 1921.

National flag
South Africa’s national flag was designed by a former South African State Herald, Mr Fred Brownell, and was first used on 27 April 1994. The design and colours are a synopsis of principal elements of the country’s flag history. Individual colours, or colour combinations represent different meanings for different people and therefore no universal symbolism should be attached to any of the colours. 

The central design of the flag, beginning at the flagpost in a ‘V’ form and flowing into a single horizontal band to the outer edge of the fly, can be interpreted as the convergence of diverse elements within South African society, taking the road ahead in unity. The theme of convergence and unity ties in with the motto Unity is Strength of the previous South African Coat of Arms.

Coat of Arms
A national Coat of Arms, or state emblem, is the highest visual symbol of the State. The Coat of Arms is also a central part of the Great Seal, traditionally considered to be the highest emblem of the State.

South Africa’s Coat of Arms was launched on Freedom Day, 27 April 2000. The change reflected government’s aim to highlight the democratic change in South Africa and a new sense of patriotism.

The design of the Coat of Arms is a series of elements organised in distinct symmetric egg-like or oval shapes placed on top of one another. The motto is: !ke e: /xarra //ke, written in the Khoisan language of the /Xam people, literally meaning diverse people unite.. On a collective scale it calls for the nation to unite in a common sense of belonging and national pride - unity in diversity.

South African Symbols
Stamp Sheet