Heraldry in South Africa
February 2010 / December 2013

Heraldry, genealogical, and vexillological societies

SOUTH Africa has three associations of people interested in heraldry and the related fields of genealogy and vexillology.

Heraldry Society of SA

Arms of the Heraldry Society of SA and the Genealogicial Society of SA and the flag of the SA Vexillological Association Heraldry Society - Genealogical Society - Vexillological Association.

The Heraldry Society of Southern Africa was founded in Cape Town in 1953. It published a newsletter from 1953 to 1958, and a journal, Arma, from 1958. Unfortunately, the society and its journal have been dormant since 2007.

Until the Bureau of Heraldry was established, the HSSA provided a design service – particularly for municipalities – and until 1961 it also acted as an unofficial channel of communication with the College of Arms in England.

Several members of the society have served on the Heraldry Council since its inception in 1963.

The HSSA assumed arms, designed by Mike Oettle, in 2006. They were inspired by the national flag.

President : C. Graham Botha (1954-73). Chairman : C. Graham Botha (1953-54) ; Frank Waller (1954-57) ; Dr Cornelis Pama (1957-94) ; Robert Laing (1994-2002) ; Frederick Brownell (2002- ).

Genealogical Society of SA

The Genealogical Society of South Africa was founded in Stellenbosch in 1964. It has published a journal, Familia, since its inception, and has its own website.

The GSSA assumed arms, designed by Robert Laing, in 1998.

Chairman : Rev Harold Hopkins (1964-66) ; Rene Immelman (1966-76) ; Philip Myburgh (1976-79) ; Dr Cornelis Pama ; Robert Laing (1988-92) ; Conrod Mercer (1993-96) ; Martin Zöllner (1996-2005) ; Johann Janse van Rensburg (2005-09) ; Hendrik Louw (2009- ).

SA Vexillological Association

The Southern African Vexillological Association was founded in Randburg in 1990. It publishes a regular newsletter and, since 1992 the occasional SAVA Journal, and has its own website.

Some members served on the Commission on National Symbols in 1993-94.

SAVA hosted the 17th International Congress on Vexillology in 1997.

SAVA has its own flag, designed by Frederick Brownell (BoH 1991).

Chairman : Frederick Brownell (1992-94 and 1998-2000) ; Theo Stylianides (1994-98 and 2002-03); Michael Clingman (2000-02 and 2003-12) ; Lt Col Eddie Watson (2012- ).

References :
  • Bureau of Heraldry Database.
  • Genealogical Society of SA; Familia (1964- ).
  • Heraldry Society of SA; HSSA Newsletter (1953-58); Arma (1958-2006).
  • SA Vexillological Association; SAVA Newsletter (1991- ) ; SAVA Journal (1992- ).

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