|NORTH WEST COAT OF ARMS|
Arms for the North West Province registered with the Bureau of Heraldry on 7 May 1999. The blazon reads:
Per saltire Gules and Azure, a saltire quadrate Vert, fimbriated Argent, charged in the centre with a representation of a calabash water container within a leather thong cradle, Or; the shield ensigned of a circlet edged Argent, the centre Or, resting thereupon a pair of horns Argent supporting a sunflower proper.
Two sable antelopes proper, horned and unguled Or.
Kagiso le Tswelelopele.
These arms constitute the only device among the nine provinces which is explicitly based on the colours and (to some extent) forms of the national flag brought into use on 27 April 1994. This is perhaps because the province is a new creation under a régime unwilling to acknowledge that it is based essentially on the “independent” homeland state the Republic of Bophuthatswana.
The field is divided diagonally into quarters, red above and below, blue left and right. Over the field is superimposed a green saltire or diagonal cross, edged in silver or white. The saltire is quadrate; in other words it has a diagonal trapezium (in heraldic language a lozenge) over the middle, in the same colour as the saltire.
On the lozenge is a calabash, blazoned as gold (Or), but actually drawn in natural colours (proper), which represents the Tswana culture of the indigenous peoples whose tribal lands formed the basis of both Bophuthatswana and Bokone-Bophirima.
In the crest the circlet is blazoned as Argent, but is actually drawn in ivory shades. The inner ring is drawn as blazoned, gold. The horns resting on the circlet are not identified, but resemble those of the Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer), although these are often dark in colour, whereas the horns in the crest are white to pale grey.
The sunflower (Helianthus anuus) in the crest represents agriculture in the region, where sunflowers are grown for their nutritious seeds and for the oil they produce. Sunflower oil is used in cooking as well as in soap and paints, and as a lubricant. The seeds are reportedly used to make bread and a coffee-like beverage, although this would appear to be a use uncommon in South Africa. The sunflower is not native to Africa, having been introduced from the Americas, but is a common crop in the summer rainfall region. The flower probably also is symbolic of the bright sunshine needed to produce a sunflower crop.
The motto translates as “Peace and prosperity.”
The Bokone-Bophirima Province formally came into being on 27 April 1994, when all-race elections were held for the first time in South Africa. It is headed by a Premier, elected from and by the Provincial Legislature, who is supported by an Executive Council whose members must be members of the legislature.
Bokone-Bophirima inherited the twin towns of Mafikeng (established in 1885 as Mafeking, capital of British Bechuanaland and the Protectorate, and famous for resisting a siege during the South African War) and Mmabatho (established as a capital for Bophuthatswana). The two were merged under the name Mafikeng, and now comprise the province’s capital.
It comprises two elements:
1. The districts that made up the “independent” homeland state of Bophuthatswana, except for the district of Thaba Nchu (which was returned to the Free State) and the subdistrict Moretele 2, which is now part of Mpumalanga.
2. Added to these were (from the Cape Province) the district of Vryburg (which from 1882 to ’85 was the Republic of Stellaland) and (from the Transvaal Province) the districts (previously known as the Western Transvaal) of:
Christiana, Bloemhof, Schweizer-Reneke, Wolmaransstad, Delareyville, Klerksdorp, Lichtenburg, Coligny, Potchefstroom, Ventersdorp, Koster, Marico, Swartruggens, Rustenburg and Brits.
With kind permission from Mike Oettle:
Armoria - Heraldry in South Africa