Mayor of the City of Ekurhuleni, Mzwandile Masina, has joined calls for a change to SA’s Coat of Arms, saying it lacks inclusivity.
The #ChangeForHer initiative, launched by Newzroom Afrika, aims to ensure that all women are represented on the highest visual symbol of the state.
The campaign and petition challenge President Cyril Ramaphosa to address the lack of inclusivity in the national symbol and to make the change to recognise women and the role they play.
“The national symbol of our country, on all official documents from birth to death only bears the image of two men. The time has now come to change that,” reads the campaign.
“The time is now to replace the two men with one man and one woman — in a symbolic gesture that will move South Africa forward in a deep and meaningful manner.”
Throwing his weight behind the initiative, Masina said now was the right time for SA to do what’s right and join in on the call.
“Let me add my voice of support for this noble campaign which calls for the Coat of Arms to be changed to depict a male and female, instead of two men. Equality and inclusivity are enshrined in our constitution, let’s do the right thing,” said Masina.
Let me add my voice of support for this noble campaign launched by @Newzroom405, which calls for the Coat of Arms to be changed to depict a male and female, instead of two men. Equality & inclusivity is enshrined in our Constitution, let’s do the right thing! #ChangeForHer pic.twitter.com/qUOTxQnX4r
— Mzwandile Masina (@mzwandileMasina) August 26, 2020
Black Business Council president Sandile Zungu also weighed in, saying it was a mistake that gender diversity was not represented in the national emblem.
“I stand behind the campaign to change one of the symbols on our Coat of Arms to distinctly represent women. It was a mistake in the first place that our gender diversity was not represented in this design. Mr President, we can change it, and if we change it for her, we [are] changing the nation forever and for good,” he said.
SA’s Coat of Arms was launched on Freedom Day in 2000. According to the government, the design was aimed to “highlight the democratic change in South Africa and a new sense of patriotism”.
“The two human figures are from Khoisan rock art. The figures are depicted in an attitude of greeting, symbolising unity. This represents the beginning of the individual’s transformation into the greater sense of belonging to the nation and by extension, collective humanity.”