Significance Of Wheat In Coat Of Arms

One of the symbols in South Africa’s Coat of Arms may serve to assuage a degree of Netherlands Consul General Sebastiaan Messerschmidt’s guilt complex about the legacy of Dutch colonialism at the Cape (The Mercury, June 2).

Within the oval shape of the Coat of Arms formed by the elephant tusks, are two symmetrical ears of wheat. According to the explanation, they represent nourishment, fruitfulness, fertility and germination.
Wheat is not indigenous to South Africa. It was first planted on July 3, 1652 by Jan van Riebeeck. By 1684 wheat from the Cape was being exported to India.
Thus, it is significant that despite what Consul General Messerschmidt calls “the painful past” of the Dutch era at the Cape, one of the positives of that legacy enjoys elevation within South Africa’s post-apartheid Coat of Arms.
That reality should be appreciated by all who routinely denounce our colonial past.

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