This is the only Coat of Arms from any of the provinces of South Africa that is explicitly styled on the colours and in some way the forms of the national flag, which came into use on 27 April 1994. The North West Province was a new creation when the old ‘independent’ homelands were incorporated back into South Africa after the first democratic elections in 1994.
The North West Province Coat of Arms has a green base with the motto - KAGISO LE TSWELELOPELE - which means Peace and Prosperity. Above the green base is a shield with a calabash water container in its centre. The shields field is divided into quarters red above and below, blue left and right, superimposed is a green diagonal cross edged in white.
On the cross is a lozenge (a diagonal square), also in green, with the calabash in the centre. The calabash represents the Tswana culture whose tribal lands formed the basis of Bophuthatswana and North-West. The shield is supported by two sable antelope. Above the shield is a circlet edged with silver with a sunflower sitting atop silver buffalo horns. The sunflower represents the agriculture in the region, where sunflowers are grown commercially. It also represents the sunshine needed to produce crops.
The sable antelope is predominantly a grazer, eating mainly grass, but occasionally they will browse. The sable is a herd animal, which is usually matriarchal. Their aposematic markings, (white and black facial markings) indicate aggression, especially where their young are concerned. During the mating season, stronger bulls will often chase younger bulls away from the herd.
Fighting between the bulls during this time sometimes ends in fatal injuries. When showing aggression, sable bulls, brush their horns against trees branches. The massive ridges on the horns make a rasping noise. Gestation is around nine months, with the calves being born between February and March. Calves are weaned at about six months.
The sunflower, from the Asteraceae family, is an annual plant, that can grow up to 3 m tall. The large yellow daisy-like flower head has a diameter of around 30 cm.
The flowers track the sun’s movement by turning their faces towards the sun in an east to west direction. Sunflowers are an important crop in South Africa for the production of vegetable oil. In the North-West Province, the seeds are said to be used to make bread and a coffee-like drink.