Namibian arms - 30th anniversary

Heraldry in Africa
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Arthur Radburn
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Namibian arms - 30th anniversary

Postby Arthur Radburn » 21 Mar 2020, 14:13

Namibia 1990.jpg

Today is the 30th anniversary of independence of Namibia, after seventy-five years of South African administration (and thirty-one years of German administration before that). The national arms, adopted on independence day, consist of the same design as the national flag, both designed by the South African State Herald, Fred Brownell. The crest is a fish eagle rising from a traditional headband studded with diamonds, the supporters are two oryx (gemsbok), and the compartment represents "a Namib sand dune with a Welwitschia Mirabilis in the foreground". The artist was Mrs Audrey Merrington.

The previous arms, used by the South African administration were :

SW Africa 1961.jpg

They were designed by the head of the SA government's Heraldry Section (forerunner of the Bureau of Heraldry), Dr Coenraad Beyers, in 1961 and taken into use in 1963. The artist was Miss Andrée Hattingh.

The territory did not have its own arms under the German administration. Arms were designed in 1914, as part of a project to create arms for all German overseas territories, but the outbreak of World War I scuttled the project :

German SW Africa 1914 draft.jpg

The diamond is the only charge that appears in all three designs, but in different forms : oval with rays in the German design, triangular in the 1961 SA design, and as lozenges in the 1990 design.
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Arthur Radburn
IAAH Vice-President : Heraldic Education

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